Part 1: The challenges of an IT department and why managed services could offer a solution
With more expectations being put on IT organizations, IT organizations need to find capacity to change. Employing managed services could help with this transition.
More is demanded from IT organizations
With pressure on IT organizations and the enterprise as a whole, companies alike are struggling to maintain the stability of their systems while they fulfill the demand of their business. For many companies this alone is no longer enough, in every industry digitization has put pressure on finding a competitive edge. This is leading to a change in the nature of an IT organization. Where IT was often seen as a ‘necessary evil’, IT is more and more becoming an integral part of a companies’ competitiveness and results. IT is expected to bring both a technology push and fulfill quicker the innovation pull.
For IT organizations in smaller and long existing companies this provides a challenge. How do you find the time and resources to change the nature of your organization? At the same time they struggle to provide the technology upgrades necessary to keep their systems running. It provides not only a challenge on the cost of IT, but moreover on the value that IT brings to the organization. Whether it is in allowing the business to have the insights necessary to make decisions by means of BI, or to automate processes further and further, or to allow for addressing new (digital) markets which can increase revenue.
In-House vs Managed Services
This begs the question whether a company should spend time on everything in-house. Is that even possible? Especially in smaller organizations, the demands of an IT organization are becoming increasingly diverse and are becoming near to impossible to all fulfill internally. Where outsourcing previously was seen as a means of cost saving, it is now more seen as a means to change the focus of an organization. By not having to focus on for example, keeping an application running stable, the IT organization of a company is able to focus purely on understanding the innovation pull coming from business to IT and being able to help identify improvements that IT can deliver. This allows for the formation of continuous deployment teams, where they don’t have to focus on keeping the organization running.
Outsourcing is due to the complexity of their environment for many now the only logical solution. It has simply become too difficult for a small IT team to know enough of all the platforms and technologies used to be able to maintain all of them. Many start with choosing for Platform as a Service instead of custom built applications, many go from in house infrastructure to cloud based platforms. Often this results in a shift in the focus of IT, and hence the ability to pay attention to the future instead of the now. It allows IT teams to become better partners of business instead of focusing on IT alone and lose touch with its most important customers.
Immediate benefits of Managed Services
Legacy often has created a large custom component in the environment. With employee turnover and increased pressure on these systems, maintaining these systems is often difficult while having to focus on improving them as well. The more custom development a company has, the more difficult it is to change this environment. By hiring a managed service supplier to maintain this environment, often two things happen. In order to transfer the management of an environment, the organization should document this environment so that it can be handed it over. This will be done by the managed service organization while onboarding the service. This often creates insights into how processes could be improved and standardized. Secondly, one can task the managed service provider with improving the coding and logic in the application. As these improvements are not visible to the rest of the organization (the car keeps running just as fast and just as smooth, it will just break down less often and changing to a new car is cheaper), the IT team themselves can better focus on improvements.
In next blogs I will dive into the different attitudes one needs in run vs change, and the benefits this brings for organizations.
Author: Mark Kamphuis, Cadran Consultancy