“Head count! We need more head count!” insists the IT manager.
It’s true that most IT departments are under huge strain to deliver what’s needed by the business and balancing strategic projects with tactical day-to-day workload is indeed a challenge; but is increasing head count the answer?
The resourcing kit bag contains more than the obvious solution of hiring another permanent employee. Given that long and expensive recruitment cycles are getting longer and more expensive, other options such as a managed service are worth considering. When people are under pressure, taking more time out to re-evaluate the structure of their team and the workload being managed isn’t something they’re going to want to do, but it could result in a better outcome than going to the default setting of recruitment.
Managed Services to do the daily grind
Some organisations use Managed Services to ensure that all the daily housekeeping jobs like checking devices are up, checking log files for errors, monitoring email flows, making sure patches are up to date and so on. This model frees up the client IT team to focus on the strategic projects and more “interesting” infrastructure and application management.
Managed Services to do highly skilled tasks
In some instances, the exact opposite of the above is true. Organisations benefit from the very specialist skills delivered by managed service providers leaving the client IT team can get on with the day to day business of running operations.
Managed Services for niche technologies
In some cases, an organisation wants to take on a niche technology to achieve a specific objective, but can’t justify the expense of training up or recruiting a person specifically to make it. In this case, the option to time share the right skill set frees the client up to choose the right technology regardless of the internal skill set.
It’s important to understand that engaging with managed services is not the same as outsourcing the IT function altogether. Managed Services are designed to complement in-house skills, not replace them. When used strategically, Managed Services can help an IT department run more efficiently, be more effective and enhance team morale by:
- Taking away the tasks which are “beneath” the skills set of the current team and cause frustration and boredom
- Taking away the tasks which are beyond the skills set of the current team, which can cause stress and anxiety
- Taking away the noise of firefighting which can get in the way of delivering on important objectives
- Focusing training resources on a smaller number of people to properly develop
So, next time IT go to HR and finance asking for budgets for additional headcount, maybe a re-think is in order for an alternative, more productive outcome.