Often, companies believe they have to decide between using internal and external resources to manage their IT needs. In reality, this is not necessarily an “either/or” decision– it may be most effective to use both, creating a hybrid IT management approach.
A hybrid approach is typically most appropriate for organizations that currently have two or more internal IT staff or more than 40 computer users. For entities of this size, a small in-house IT staff may not be able to handle the IT infrastructure while being proactive and keeping everything else running smoothly.
How to make a partnership work
The single most critical aspect of making a hybrid relationship work is to clearly define the boundaries of each party’s responsibilities. Otherwise, items will fall through the cracks. Consider the following high-level scenarios:
- Internal IT handles all helpdesk/desktop support calls and tickets coming from end users; monitoring and management of all desktops, laptops and user devices; and application management and user administration
- External IT partner monitors and manages all servers and the physical network (routers, switches and firewalls) and serves as an escalation point for end-user tickets that involve server issues
- Internal IT handles application, database and physical network monitoring, management and administration; oversees physical network (routers, switches and firewalls); and serves as an escalation point for end-user tickets that involve server issues
- External IT partner all helpdesk/desktop support calls and tickets coming from end users: monitoring and management of all desktops, laptops and user devices; and user administration
Ultimately, management and internal IT staff must be willing and able to work collaboratively with an external IT partner to define and refine responsibilities and workflows that make sense for their particular situation. No matter how well you define the relationship in the beginning, you will likely have to evolve the workflows and responsibilities over time as the organization changes. In short, all parties must be flexible and on board to invest in creating successful processes based upon a proven IT management methodology, or the relationship will be doomed from the beginning.
How to choose a partner
Sharing a similar culture and values is a key component of a successful hybrid IT management relationship.
First, choose a partner with values that align with your organization’s. Once you’ve connected in this regard, it’s time to undertake the process of clearly defining responsibilities and workflows. Ensuring this type of alignment is extremely important in building a solid hybrid relationship, as an IT partner should be an extension of your business. You will be communicating with and relying on this external partner day in and day out, so it’s crucial that you share common approaches to communication, support and operations.
The purpose of this blog is to answer the questions you ask! If you’re looking for more information on partnering with an MSP, feel free to contact us! You can learn more about the types of IT support we offer by visiting our services pages!