When you’re an IT manager who’s stretched thin, with too many tasks on your plate and high expectations resting on your shoulders, co-managed IT services is the light at the end of the tunnel.
With co-managed IT, you can get the expertise and bandwidth you need to accomplish everything that needs to get done to make the IT function of your business run smoothly. Before you sign on, however, you need to get everyone else at your company on board.
So how do you prove to your colleagues (including your boss) that this is the right course of action? You frame the problem and the solution in a business case.
Thinking about your situation through a business case lens will help you communicate better about what you want to do and the expected outcome, even if you don’t need to create a formal business case document.
In this article, we’ll go through the main components of a business case. Reflecting on the items in each section will help you process your unique situation and prepare you for internal discussions about utilizing co-managed IT services.
- Business Problem: Gaps in IT
- Business Impact of the Problem
- Current Approach to the Problem
- Proposed Solution: Co-Managed IT Services
- Expected Outcomes from Co-Managed IT
- Measuring the Success of Co-Managed IT
- How Much Do Co-Managed IT Services Cost?
- The Risk of Not Changing
Business Problem: Gaps in IT
Expressing the problem that you face can be a delicate situation.
On the one hand, you know that gaps in IT aren’t your fault. On the other hand, you don’t want to portray yourself as being inadequate. However, if you and your internal team can’t provide everything that’s needed to run the IT function of the company, the road you’re traveling is going to get bumpier and bumpier until you eventually reach a cliff.
It’s best to tell it like it is.
When you talk about how the problem is showing up in your business, don’t be surprised if some people think what you’re experiencing is normal. So help your colleagues view the company’s IT capability in terms of IT department roles.
What roles and tasks are you and your team managing effectively, and which roles are not getting adequate attention (or any attention at all)? Where are you spinning your wheels or getting stuck?
Other symptoms of the problem are probably showing up in your employees’ workday. What have you heard about their technology experience? Are they voicing frustrations when they can’t get or do what they need to do? Have there been any customer complaints that could have their root cause in technology failures or inadequacies?
💡 Discussion Point: How is the problem showing up in your business?
Business Impact of the Problem
When you talk about the business impact of the struggles you’re experiencing with IT, you may or may not know how the situation is impacting business goals. What you can do, however, is paint a picture of how IT problems have ripple effects that stretch out beyond IT and compromise business success.
For example, if the root cause of an issue never gets addressed, employees may avoid contacting support because they think it’s a waste of time. In the meantime, their work is delayed or slowed down, which causes frustration. This can spill over into customer frustration, which threatens your ability to retain customers.
See how that goes?
Think about the effects that gaps in IT are having on the business. Frame the problem around productivity, compromised competitiveness, and risk of cyber attack.
💡 Discussion Point: What are the repercussions of underserved IT?
Current Approach to the Problem
Whether you’ve been relying solely on your internal team or you’ve been working with an outsourced IT support company, the next part of your business case has to do with what you’ve been doing to try to overcome the problems that gaps in IT have been causing.
This conversation may be the first time that leadership has heard about how you’ve had to call on colleagues with a technical background to help or how the existing outsourced company has been letting you down.
The point of this section is to explain how you have explored and exhausted other solutions.
💡 Discussion Point: How have you been trying to make everything work?
Proposed Solution: Co-Managed IT Services
Supplementing your internal IT team with co-managed IT services will close up the gaps in IT capability. If you talked about the problem in terms of IT department roles you need to fill, you can circle back to that and explain how the Managed Services Provider (MSP) will plug those holes.
If you’ve already been working with an MSP, then the solution is a matter of getting the right company. Whatever your situation, the change you want to make will give your company access to all the IT specialties you don’t have now, with the kind of relationship that results in success for all.
💡 Discussion Point: How will co-managed IT services fill gaps in IT?
Expected Outcomes from Co-Managed Services
The best outcome for you is going to be that having co-managed IT services will help you and your internal team to be more successful.
You’ll be freed up to do what brings the most value to the business. You’ll be able to help individuals when they need support faster. If you’ve had to pull in colleagues who aren’t officially in IT to help, they’ll get back their time to perform the role they were hired to do.
As you build your IT capability through co-managed IT services, there can be several outcomes that are especially important to business leaders, including:
- Guidance for IT strategy
- Escalation support to get to the root of tough issues
- Effective management of cyber risks
- Achieve and maintain regulatory compliance
💡 Discussion Point: How will co-managed IT services improve the IT function of the business?
Measuring Success of Co-Managed IT Services
The MSP you work with should have a regular cadence of reports and meetings to keep you apprised of progress and bring visibility to activities that occur behind the scenes. The metrics that you want to keep track of are the ones that will show that you’re progressing from noisy to quiet IT; that illustrate your security and stature; and that ultimately meet business goals for things like maintaining regulatory compliance.
Some basic IT department metrics you may keep track of include:
- Percentage of devices up to date
- Percentage of machines on a consistent backup schedule
- Number of areas out of alignment with IT best practices
- IT strategy and architecture plans aligned with business strategy
- Projects completed on time and on budget
- Number of unresolved end-user issues
- Average time to resolution
When it comes to cyber security metrics, you’ll want to assess your posture on business-wide, device, and individual levels. You can learn about cyber security KPIs here.
💡 Discussion Point: How will progress be measured?
How Much Do Co-Managed IT Services Cost?
Because there are many different co-managed IT arrangements possible, it’s hard to provide a price range for what you can expect to pay. If you’ve already started vetting companies, then you’ll likely have pricing information to share as part of your business case.
If you’re creating your business case before you go out and create your short list of co-managed IT providers, you can expect to pay per device or asset that the co-managed IT company will support. For a breakdown of what some of those line items might be, check out this Managed IT Services Cost & Pricing Guide.
Note that if you have regulatory compliance needs, the cost of achieving and maintaining compliance may be decreased if the controlled data is segregated on your network.
💡 Discussion Point: What will our monthly costs be for co-managed IT services?
The Risk of Not Changing
As you get to the end of your business case, you want to prevent your colleagues from thinking that doing nothing is one of the choices ahead of you. Return to what you discussed in the business outcomes section and stress that those results will continue to be out of reach unless changes are made.
Listen to what your colleagues are saying and address their concerns by circling back to the points you made earlier. Reiterate that improving your IT capability isn’t just going to make your life better, it’s going to have a positive impact on everyone.
💡 Discussion Point: What happens if you don’t partner with a co-managed IT company?
Co-Managed IT Services for Southern California Companies
Here at VC3, we customize co-managed IT services to meet our clients’ unique needs. What’s similar with all of our clients is that they all want a high level of IT and cybersecurity expertise, along with expert guidance to help them use technology to grow and innovate.
If you’re done with bumping into barriers that are limiting your success and the ability of your company to leverage technology, we should talk.