Historically, there hasn’t been a lot of love lost between managed service providers (MSPs) and internal IT organizations. For the most part, MSPs are viewed as a threat to the existence of the internal IT organization. After all, most MSPs generally deliver a specific set of IT services that were once the domain of someone inside the company.
Internal IT vs. MSPs
Because many internal IT departments provide a more specialized set of services, many IT organizations have been able to fend off MSPs that generally provide a well-defined set of services at a fixed price. But as the IT environment as a whole becomes more complex, there are signs that the attitude of internal IT departments, concerning their own role and the role of MSPs, is changing.
The market research firm Saugatuck Technology just released the findings of its 2015 Cloud Infrastructure Survey. Based on the survey of 327 IT executives, the research firm concludes that as cloud computing becomes more pervasive and distributed, the challenges associated with managing different types of application workloads across an extended enterprise IT environment will lead to greater recognition of the value of MSPs.
The report concludes that the factor that will finally force this issue is that internal IT organizations are being asked to be more agile at a time when IT itself is becoming more complex to manage. At the same time, there is a general shortage of skilled IT talent. Considering the lack of an ability to hire the right talent, the report suggests that it’s only a matter of time before internal IT organizations will be forced to rely more on MSPs.
Integrated IT oversight
This doesn’t mean there will be wholesale outsourcing of IT management. Saugutuck suggests that IT organizations will begin to more aggressively class application workloads. Those that are deemed to be of the highest value will continue to be managed by the internal IT organization as they concentrate their efforts on application workloads that represent “the family jewels” of the business.
According to Saugatuck, the end result will be a shift from IT playing a primarily supportive role to the business to a more proactive, collaborative, and finally innovative style of delivering IT services. To make that possible, though, IT organizations will need to give up many of the day-to-day tasks that currently prevent them from operating more strategically so they aren’t always getting lost in the tactical weeds.
The challenge for MSPs
It’s debatable how long it will take an individual IT organization to reach this new stage of management enlightenment. But, it’s clear this process is already well underway in many quarters. The challenge for many MSPs will be figuring out how to align their own IT processes with each individual customer that is asking them to deliver on the promise of IT agility in ways they couldn’t do on their own.