Trying to get the most out of a managed service provider's (MSP) breed of program management is vital to every business. Some have even begun to look to co-management concepts for improvements, and many have found welcome gains in performance. What kind of help can a business derive from co-management with an MSP? Knowing the answer to that question will likely make the concept seem a lot more attractive.
What Is a Co-Management Platform?
A co-management platform is an operational stance in which an MSP has a management team, but the individual end user can supply at least some of the management as well. Generally, this comes from an internal IT department or similar sub-organization. It provides some of the same functions that the MSP can provide, and also can provide some alternative functions not provided by the MSP.
What Kinds of Benefits Can Co-Management Provide?
Using a Managed Service Provider's co-management platform can represent a range of benefits to the end user.
An IT department has a wide range of tasks to carry out every day, from the simple and mundane to the complex once-in-a-career tasks that emerge unexpectedly. By using a co-management platform, some of these tasks—often the most time-consuming and repetitious tasks that need to be handled daily—can be outsourced to the MSP. This too has several knock-on effects that are worth noting.
More responsive internal IT.
Freeing up IT by outsourcing mundane tasks allows more to be done with the same resources. This can improve response times and end user experience by letting IT get to work faster on internal problems. When someone's desktop goes down, or someone's having trouble connecting to the network, IT can step in as it's not bogged down with the tasks outsourced to the MSP.
More aggressive internal IT.
Similarly, freeing up IT can also allow the department to put its focus into other tasks, tasks that may not have been accessible previously due to lack of time and resources. Things like upgrading network components, augmenting security protocols, establishing new security protocols to address changes in the landscape like the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) doctrine and more are suddenly available thanks to that outsourced work.
Reduced IT costs.
As a third alternative, it's possible to start trimming an IT department thanks to the suddenly freed-uptime and resources. If the IT department is doing less, and isn't needed elsewhere, then it can be cut back accordingly. This might be the most short-sighted response, but it is a benefit available to the users, especially for those businesses whose IT demands aren't particularly pre
ssing like smaller businesses.
This might sound redundant, but firings in the IT department aren't the only cost savings measure available to those that turn to an MSP's project management. Even a 2011 CompTIA study found that 46 percent of MSP users cut annual IT costs in excess of 25 percent. Another 50 percent saw at least some savings of between one and 24 percent. That's only been augmented by more recent studies which found savings on several fronts, including the switch from capital expenditure to operational expenditure—no more huge payments for hardware up front, but rather a monthly bill—as well as the predictable pricing.
For those organizations that are governed by regulatory issues, compliance is vital. Compliance keeps a business from paying substantial fines, and in some cases, from being shut down outright. Using an MSP allows for greater compliance since not only the MSP but also the end user are engaging in security measures. This improves the overall security profile and keeps the regulators at bay. Better compliance also serves to help businesses save face; an Identity Theft Resource Center study found that 41 percent of customers would outright refuse to do business again with a company that had a data breach that exposed their information.
It's one thing to have a team of professionals focused on your operation. That's why you have an IT department. It's another entirely to have two separate teams with such a focus, and that's one of the best features of co-management. The best MSPs will offer
24 / 7 / 365 help desk operations, which can not only serve as a way to cover your own internal shortfalls, but also as a means to augment help when all hands are on deck anyway. By being able to protect against issues regardless of hour or day with at least a minimal presence, and having a stronger presence on hand at other times, the end result is a stronger system.
The same principle that makes your current systems more reliable thanks to two sets of eyes and hands involved also makes the system more inherently scalable. Scalability refers to the ability to size a business' operations up or down as need be to respond to conditions on the ground; both adding more people and operations during a “busy season” and removing those people and operations afterward are scalability. True scalability requires a robust technological base, the ability to bring new systems on and take them off quickly. Co-management helps make the base stronger by putting its resources better to use.
How Do I Get Started Taking Advantage of Co-Management Solutions?
If co-management sounds like a net benefit for your company, then get started by getting in touch with us at UTG. We work with a wide range of service providers, have options to meet the needs of the mid-market business as well as the smaller business, and can offer specialized solutions for healthcare, finance and beyond.