What is Co-Managed IT?

Across the globe, enterprises are shifting to a new IT model: co-managed IT. What is it, how does it work and what are the advantages?

By Max Burkhalter
January 8, 2021
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Across the globe, enterprises are shifting to a new IT model: co-managed IT. So, what is it, how does it work and what are the advantages?

2020 saw a distinct change in how the fastest moving and growing enterprises chose to manage their IT. Agility vulnerabilities were swiftly highlighted as core infrastructures threatened to crumble, and many businesses found themselves scrambling to implement various setups at scale with no lead time, including:

  • Creating functional, supported work from home and remote work setups for a suddenly distributed workforce
  • Implementing new communications integration to support the scattered workforce
  • Downsizing, as many jobs were not possible in a remote setting, or operational disruption made them non-influential
  • Seeking technological expertise in a suddenly extremely competitive market
  • Adding scalability for specific areas that required expansion to meet heightened consumer demand (customer service, product delivery, etc.)

A majority of processes and changes leaned heavily on information technology and operational technology. Managing suddenly expanded IT needs was a sticking point for many enterprises, who found themselves floundering without the right staff or skills in their own organization to face new challenges and demands. 

This resulted in an accelerating trend toward co-managed IT services as companies simultaneously embrace the cloud, according to McKinsey. There was a sudden market for advanced managed service providers to support in-house IT teams across a range of shifting and transforming responsibilities. This is known as IT co-management, and is becoming more and more common as enterprises reach out to fill skills and knowledge gaps that are difficult to acquire in a competitive employment market. 

Simulated brain in a coputer environmmentBridge knowledge gaps with co-managed IT.

The future appears to hold a stronger blend of remote and office-based workers, meaning that IT setups in many environments will become increasingly complex. This is particularly true in regard to cybersecurity, as remote workers pose a massive threat to data security and privacy. This intensifies the need for external support and zero-trust policies that keep external access of networks tightly controlled with user and role-based permissions and two-factor authentication. 

What co-managed IT delivery models look like
Co-managed IT is a partnership model rather than an outsourcing of all IT capabilities. In most setups, the provider works in tandem with an in-house IT department to achieve a predetermined list of common goals. Rather than a project-by-project arrangement, a long-term agreement is typically settled between the enterprise and the MSP, which provides any or all of the following:

  • Specific expertise in areas like cloud adoption and data analysis
  • Additional resources such as cloud connectivity management, cybersecurity and data storage
  • Scalability and agility
  • IT helpdesk services
  • Management of networks or security operations centers
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting of hardware
  • Application assistance as digital transformation continues  

The agreement may include onsite staff and tech support services, remote management and monitoring services, strategic advising and consulting services and other IT-related support the MSP may be able to provide. The partnership allows the enterprise to maintain a hands-on approach and full visibility into the IT process, while responding with more speed and flexibility to emerging IT needs.

Increasing IT complexity can make it difficult to source candidates with key skills required, and training in-house can take time and money your organization doesn't have. Without having to spend time on hiring and training extra in-house staff, IT co-management can be a ideal solution, providing a highly efficient way of bridging internal skills gaps, including cloud migration and threat assessment. There is an increasing need to manage multiple clouds or technology stacks, and a co-managed approach can make it easy to remain agile and competitive. 

Technology, once advanced, doesn't reverse itself and adoption only becomes more imminent. There is no turning back for organizations now, in hopes that demands for IT will decrease or return to a simpler time. Instead, co-managed IT must be embraced as a ideal solution for enterprises unprepared with sufficiently skilled in-house staff to facilitate flexible working. The right MSP can speed this process, but you'll also need to consider your own infrastructure.

Obstacles to business growth
As reported by Channelnomics, even MSPs are unsure of their abilities, which means choosing the right partner is critical. Areas to inquire about include the company's comfort level with cybersecurity, digital rights management, and SQL.

Both enterprises and MSPs offering co-managed IT must invest in skills, knowledge and technologies that support digital transformation. From software to hardware to managed services, the future of the modern enterprise hinges on cloud adoption and customer care. High-touch areas to focus on include database management, security risk management, and virtual desktop infrastructure. Look for MSPs that specialize in these areas to ensure you are getting leading edge technology and more than a surface knowledge of complex IT as you venture into the world of co-management.

Co-managing IT services requires careful planning, proactive change management and reliable connectivity tools. Perle offers industrial-grade networking equipment to help you prepare for application and system modernization. To learn more, explore our customers' success stories.    


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