Part 2: Enabling your IT department to become a partner of business by means of managed services

IT organizations increasingly need to keep a variety of platforms and systems running, while enabling innovations and changes in a more and more speedy fashion. If an organization is not able to bring innovation fast enough or cater to the needs of business, businesses will innovate themselves and the pressure on cost and value will increase. It takes a different skillset and attitude often going from focusing on change, rather than keeping things stable. It is in light of this that managed services could play a role.

The focus on Change versus Run

In many smaller organizations, the IT team is traditionally focused on both the ‘run’ part of IT and the ‘change’ part of IT. Keeping things the same or bringing things back to the way they were functioning yesterday (run), brings a different attitude compared to focusing constantly on change. We see however that with the increased workload and increased reliability on IT, the focus needs to shift more heavily to ‘change’ and a stable system needs to be a given.

Removing all activities related to run at once though could pose too big a shift too quickly. Having an external party execute part of these activities, will require a different means of communication and a different attitude of the end users. One can therefore best start first with the activities that require less interaction with the end user: infrastructure and networking for example. This could allow the IT organization to get used to a more formalized way of working that is required. It allows the IT organization to take on a different role, focused more on the business rather than IT. While making this transition, one needs to be aware this new way of working could be perceived as a threat to the existing IT organization. Where in previous years, and in some organizations this is still the case, cost cutting was the main driver for moving to managed services, it has now become an operational necessity. Employees in IT organizations will have to experience that their role is changing and not disappearing. Keeping IT employees within the company but in a different role allows for guaranteeing tacit knowledge is maintained and transitioned. By making a multi-year transition and development plan, this transition can go smoothly for both the employees and end users.

Part 1: The challenges of an IT department and why managed services could offer a solution

Author: Mark Kamphuis, Cadran Consultancy