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Not only is growth occurring in traditional managed services, like cloud computing, but enterprise IT departments are also beginning to move to outsource network and infrastructure management services. Some companies are asking providers to take on portions of their on-premises support that have historically been managed in-house.
The reasons to move the management of IT services to a third party are varied. Some are business-related, while others take advantage of new technologies. In either case, this shift isn't simply a short-term proposition. Instead, third-party network and infrastructure management is likely to be a long-term strategy in many businesses. Here are some reasons why it's becoming such a popular practice and why enterprises are considering it.
Third-party network management for scale and savings
One major challenge facing IT decision-makers is the fact that businesses are taking advantage of cutting-edge technology at an increasing rate to help them gain a first-mover advantage in emerging business markets. While an IT department may have the right staffing levels and expertise today, tomorrow, the organization may ask the IT department to scale up or down -- or provide completely different technical skill sets. This puts IT managers and full-time technical staff in a difficult position.
Business leaders are concluding that the only way to remain flexible in a technology-driven business world -- while, at the same time, lowering costs -- is to seek IT consulting companies and managed service providers that offer a wide array of support staffing options that the organization can take advantage of at a moment's notice.
Gaining third-party network IT talent
Even if your organization has a stable technology roadmap and doesn't experience sharp changes or fluctuations in technical skill sets, businesses still struggle to find and maintain in-house staff, thanks to a wide-ranging IT skills gap. The talent shortage in multiple IT concentrations is growing increasingly problematic for businesses. Not only do they have to compete with other businesses, service providers and value-added resellers are also competing for the best and brightest at a greater rate. Because of this, companies are abandoning their attempts to hire staffers for permanent IT roles and are instead opting to pay a third party to provide technical talent as a service.
Easier to transfer management duties
With today's growing workforce of telecommuters and a movement toward cloud-managed infrastructure, being able to access, monitor and manage infrastructure components has never been easier. To outsource third-party network services, whether a company needs to set up remote VPN access, open a few ports on a firewall or simply provide a third-party administrator account to a web-based GUI, devices from routers and switches to blade servers and security devices are easily managed from anywhere in the world. Therefore, the level of effort it takes to transfer the operational support of infrastructure is no longer the painstaking process it used to be.
Shift toward core IT architecture group in-house
Finally, companies are coming to the realization that all they really need in terms of an in-house IT department is simply a small but knowledgeable and focused group of IT staff that has a depth of knowledge that's rooted not only in technology, but in the business itself. A core IT architecture group is required to shape and direct all IT operations functions that a third-party network and infrastructure management service provider would ultimately support on a daily basis. Not only does this significantly flatten an IT organization chart to get to the heart of what makes IT important to the business, it significantly reduces the risk of making costly technology mistakes that can't be undone.
Network demands lead to outsourcing to third-party providers
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