What Is Co-Managed IT Support? How Does It Work?
Most businesses today rely heavily on their IT infrastructure. It doesn’t really matter if your business is small, large, or somewhere in between. The fact is that all IT infrastructures, no matter the size, need the same elements of care to remain available, efficient, and secure.
Organizations achieve that level of care in a variety of ways.
Some organizations (usually larger ones) have the financial resources to hire and retain a full complement of IT staff with wide-ranging expertise. Other organizations outsource all of their IT and computer support needs. And organizations of all sizes often opt for co-managed IT support.
These types of relationships offer many organizations the best of both worlds: an on-site staff to respond to daily needs and an outside resource with a variety of experts to provide extensive care for the organization’s network.
At Kelser, we provide customers with IT support and services that range from fully managed and co-managed services to project work and a few other scenarios in between.
Before you assume this article is just another sales pitch, bear with me for one more second. We know that managed IT isn’t the right solution for everyone and that Kelser might not be the right fit for you. Our goal is to provide the information that business leaders like you need to decide on the best IT solution for your organization.
The reality is that a bad fit won’t do you or us any good. In order for both of us to be effective, we need to be a good fit.
In this article, we’ll explain what co-managed support looks like and how it works. Armed with this information, you’ll have the information you need to decide what’s best for you.
Having said that, let’s explore how organizations use co-managed IT to get the care they need.
What Is Co-Managed IT?
As the name implies, co-managed IT is usually an agreement between two entities to work together to manage all of the elements of an organization’s IT infrastructure. This collaborative relationship typically involves on-site IT staff working with an external IT provider.
How Does It Work?
The internal staff retains ownership of some tasks and relies on the external IT provider to handle other aspects.
For example, the internal staff may handle the daily care, monitoring, patching, and upgrades to devices while the external provider handles long-term projects and strategic infrastructure recommendations such as servers, switches, and firewalls.
Or the roles could be reversed.
The real key is to capitalize on the advantages and skills of the on-site staff while using external resources to fill the gaps.
What Does Co-Managed IT Support Cost?
Unfortunately, the answer is…it depends.
It depends on the services you decide to have handled externally. It depends on how many users/devices you have to support. It depends on the size of your internal staff.
Again, I’m not trying to dodge the question. A number of factors come into play and the cost can vary significantly depending on what the arrangement requires.
Why Do People Choose Co-Managed IT Support?
Some of the advantages of co-managed support are:
Access To Broad IT Skills
Many organizations find that co-managed IT support offers them the daily on-site support that users need and the support of a full staff of external experts (including virtual chief information officers, technical alignment managers, service delivery managers, and technical solutions architects) when necessary.
With co-managed IT support, organizations of all sizes can manage their IT costs. Base internal IT costs stay stagnant while external IT costs and resources can be adjusted as necessary without taking on the permanent cost burden of additional internal staff.
Your organization may need extra IT support due to a pending merger, sudden increase in business traffic, or staff health emergency. Co-managed IT allows you to maintain a static number of staff members while sizing up to deal with infrequent (and unpredictable) demand for additional support.
Organizations can maintain staffing levels and team morale in spite of expanded IT demands.
When Might Co-Managed IT Support Not Be A Good Choice?
While there are occasions when co-managed IT support is a good fit, it isn’t always the best choice. Here are some examples:
If you really need a full-time person, co-managed IT support is likely not the best solution. In this case, co-managed IT support will only serve as an expensive bandage for a deeper wound.
Instead, invest the time and money in a full-time hire so that you don’t have to invest the time, money, and training more than once.
Regulatory or Contractual Requirements
Some external IT providers are well versed in regulatory requirements. If you decide that is one of the things you want the external IT resource to manage, make sure they are up to the job.
For organizations that confront the same regulatory or contractual requirements regularly, it may be more efficient to train an internal staff member to handle this. With repetition, they will become an expert and the requirements will be handled consistently, which may be a better long-term solution.
Large Internal IT Staff
For organizations with a large internal IT staff that is well-versed in all aspects of IT management, co-managed IT support may not be necessary.
Is Co-Managed IT Support Right For You?
Co-managed IT support may or may not be a good solution for your organization. The good news is that after reading this article, you are more knowledgeable about the concept and how it works. You also have some solid ideas about when it might be a good solution and when it might not be right.
You can use the information in this article to make the IT support decision that is right for you.
Read this article to find out the important questions to ask when evaluating providers: Best Questions To Ask Before Signing With An IT Services Provider.
If you are thinking about adopting co-managed (or fully managed) IT support, we encourage you to check out several providers. To learn more about Kelser’s managed IT services, click the "Find Out More" button below.