Outsourcing IT operations isn’t a new concept. As datacenters become more complex and the amount of data grows, orchestrating operations in-house becomes more challenging. Moving all or a portion of IT operations into the hands of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help certain organizations save time and money. Outsourcing can also facilitate smoother adoption and faster implementation of new technologies, especially when there is a lack of internal know-how.
At the same time, some IT executives are concerned that outsourcing could lead to loss of visibility and control. With these pros and cons in mind, what are the key issues we should look at when facing the outsourcing decision? What would make outsourcing a success?
For large companies, the decision to outsource IT operations is not an easy one. CompTIA’s research on trends in managed services shows that when it comes to large organizations, cost is less of a factor than one might expect. According to the research, the main reason not to outsource (in organizations larger than 100 employees) is the concern about quality of services.
So how do we define quality? How do we know if the results delivered by our MSP are better or worse than those achieved by our internal IT teams?
First and foremost, IT organizations must be able to define the right metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). The right KPIs may change from one IT organization to another, but if we look at CompTIA research again, the main reasons organizations turn to outsourcing are to improve efficiency and reliability, enhance compliance and benefit from a proactive approach. Organizations also believe that outsourcing the day-to-day operations will allow them to concentrate more on strategic initiatives rather than firefighting.
A successful IT organization not only knows how to define the right KPIs but is also able to track and measure these key indicators, whether internally managed or outsourced. Having visibility into your outsourced IT operations and the ability to measure the performance of your MSP—including the stability and reliability of your IT infrastructure—are extremely important.
There is no single answer to the outsourcing question that would fit all organizations. For some IT organizations it may be a good solution, while others may be better off managing IT operations entirely in-house.
But if you choose to outsource, you should definitely make sure you can measure the performance of your MSP and be alerted when bad practices and misconfigurations are incorporated into your IT operations—before you are hit with a critical outage or service disruption!