A View from the Front-Lines

Outsourcing IT: Set Yourself Up For Success

Three happy people working on laptops at a wooden table

The Covid era has re-defined many aspects of business. But escalating the war for talent may be one of the most consequential and enduring.

This is particularly acute in areas of IT where remote work has at once increased the supply of jobs and added significant complexity to the management and maintenance of IT networks.

In small and medium sized organizations, this has led to many roles wearing many different hats - not a particularly comfortable situation for something so mission-critical as IT and cybersecurity.

Whether it's to fill a short-term resource gap, or long term management of support and infrastructure, teams are increasingly turning to outsourcing their IT:

  • Access to a wide-range of resources, expertise and skills sets
  • Day-to-day reliability
  • Even CIO-level support for strategy and vision

Essentially, outsourcing IT may prove to be more reliable, and may even cost less, than hiring training and managing your own IT resources.

  1. Get aligned with the right partner

    Source partners that have a core competency for your foundational needs. In a world where many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) claim to do everything, get an understanding of the backgrounds, strengths and revenue sources (which services do they sell the most). Following the money is often helpful to get under the hood.

    Referrals from your network and getting the know the full team will help ensure your values and needs are aligned from the start.

  2. Clearly define roles and accountability (this is on you at the start)

    'Now is a great time to assume the worst - and make sure expectations are clear in the event that something goes sideways.

    • Define all the possible risk areas
    • Define, precisely, who is accountable for each of the risk areas
    • Clarify ownership and roles around cyber and liability insurance (many MSPs will handle this)
    • Conduct worst-case-scenario planning mapping role clarity and resolution ownership
    • Set expectations for day-to-day management: e.g. commitments around ticket resolution for help desk support
  3. Conduct a thorough review of your protocols

    Making a current process/ expectation is fully defined is critical to aligning expectations with a new relationship. If you have a standard process - or even a set of expectations - for a regular process like new employee onboarding, make sure you put that on the table and agree or update as necessary.

  4. Manage the change internally

    Communicate the rationale for the change with internal teams. Make sure their expectations are updated based on the new MSP relationship.

    • Structure a proper introduction of the MSP team - preferably in person - to start building trust and relationships
    • Define the evolved process for IT management. What's going to be different, and what the team should realistically expect. Over-promising to internal teams can be very detrimental later as the relationship progress. Now is the time for realistic level-setting.
    • Solicit feedback early and often. How is the new team connecting? How does the ticket resolution data look? What input can the team provide to make the relationship (and results) stronger?
  5. Maintain a continuous improvement mindset

    Often, after 60 or 90 days, adjustments need to be made in the working model. Maybe one particular workflow is not requiring the resources it was allocated, or maybe one area is taking up 75% of the MSP team's time unexpectedly.

    Whatever it is, get these things on the table through ongoing, regular dialogue.

    Try to encourage relationship-building between teams such that minor issues do not escalate into major issues when not warranted.

In summary, it's all about expectations. Applying some rigor at the outset of these relationships will help build a strong partnership and a shared focus on what really matters to your organization.

The front-line experience of the team at L3 Networks can help provide guidance at any stage of your search for an MSP. Just let us know how we can help.

Ready to give your business an advantage?