The role of CIO will tend to be a very demanding one, even if you’re someone with lots of experience of managing IT scenarios. A particular challenge of the role is that it can be quite a lonely and isolated position within a wider business.
There is always a great deal resting on the shoulders of CIOs, who are responsible for ensuring ‘business as usual’ can be maintained at all times but also that technology is deployed to the best possible advantage of an organisation at any given moment.
Naturally, the most fundamental challenge for CIOs is to keep their organisation’s machinery and software running so employees can do their jobs without interruption from failing or compromised technology. And of course, they also need to ensure security levels are kept as high as possible and that hackings and security breaches can be avoided as much as possible.
These and other demands put CIOs under serious pressure at all times and it can be important for IT bosses to have someone around to act as a sounding board when key decisions are being taken.
Finding the right sounding board
Typically, a CIO’s fellow directors will not be in a position to act as a sounding board in these situations or to contribute to discussions that require in-depth IT knowledge. Managerial colleagues may well be happy to discuss IT but often they’ll be looking at matters through the lens of their own particular remit within the business, which can render their capacity to help somewhat limited.
This is where IT Managed Service providers can come in and be of particular use to CIOs in acting as a well-informed sounding board. They’ll have knowledge of the business, understand the strategic issues being considered and possess the technical know-how needed for those more detailed conversations.
They’ll also bring a fresh pair of eyes to problems that a CIO may have been grappling with for some time, as well as an extensive knowledge of how other companies are dealing with the same issues, which can all be invaluable from a CIO’s perspective.
Value for money
When you compare the cost of paying a monthly fee to your IT Managed Services provider to keep your systems safe and in good working order versus the cost to your business when something goes wrong, your external provider is generally a far more cost-effective option.
Without this support, you’ll need to identify problems and get them fixed yourself, with any downtime likely to be very costly to your business from an operational and potentially a reputational perspective. An external provider will be monitoring your systems constantly so they can let you know in advance when an item of equipment needs replacing, or something needs addressing promptly in terms of IT security.
In providing these services, your external support will go a long way towards ensuring that your IT networks and your data is routinely secured and your workforce can use your computer systems at all times without interruption.
Pricing structures and benefits
Managed service providers will typically offer a variety of different pricing structures to suit your needs as a business – so it doesn’t need to be a question of outsourcing everything or nothing.
This has many benefits, including the fact that:
- It can unburden your IT team of the hassle of dealing with external suppliers such as printers, mobile phone companies, laptop suppliers etc – giving them more time to focus on more pressing issues within your business.
- You can increase your service level agreements with your provider as time goes by and as you get to know them more and build a trusting relationship.
A safe pair of hands
An added benefit of using outsourced managed IT services is that providers can minimise the risks involved when team members leave an organisation unexpectedly or when staff numbers are depleted due to holidays or sickness absences.
In fact, this is where your IT Managed Services provider really comes into their own. They’ll know your systems, infrastructure and the team members involved and they can be of great assistance. They’ll effectively become your ‘safe pair of hands’ in these situations because they can step in and support your IT setup in those pressurised moments.
Benefitting from this kind of support will involve additional fees but providing you have a good relationship with your service provider you should be able to negotiate a good deal.
Extending their reach
Managed service providers are increasingly extending their reach and providing services beyond managing traditional offerings. Gone are the days of just looking after your hardware, your network and your Microsoft 365 setup. They are also now moving into offering additional services underpinning voice telephony, business mobile, cloud computing and security systems.
As a result, managed service providers are increasingly being seen as business partners rather than just transactional suppliers. In practice, that means relationships are being built whereby managed service providers are getting to know businesses and how they work to a very great extent.
This partnership can free up members of IT teams more than ever before so they can work on more strategically important initiatives within their businesses. Plus managed service partners are able to contribute to the strategic planning efforts of the businesses they work with, which can be particularly valuable in the context of major digital transformations and business model overhauls.
Partnering that really pays off
Ultimately, outsourcing aspects of your IT setup is a strategy that can really pay off for a huge variety of different businesses. As businesses worldwide come to rely on their IT in an ever expanding variety of ways, partnering with external experts is often key to unlocking the true potential of new technologies, ensuring high levels of security, enhancing customer experiences and making the most of transformative opportunities that emerge.