In my last post, I tried to simplify the decision making process of when to outsource. We boiled it down to the fact that if you need help (of any kind) and you’re not evaluating outsourcing alternatives then you are at a competitive disadvantage. I truly believe that. When done properly, outsourcing is one of the most effective avenues for acquiring help. When to outsource is an easy question to answer. What to outsource could be a little trickier. I’ll try to shed some light on this by discussing the approach that we take toward our customers.
I’m not a fan of total IT outsourcing. Total IT outsourcing often requires the business to change too much in order to fit IT versus the other way around. Sure, there may be better IT processes and operational controls, but business processes should be driven by the marketplace, corporate strategies, and customers. In addition to the business changes required to fit a totally outsourced model, I find that the diversity of resources required to do this well is daunting for the service providers themselves. It’s very difficult to be good at everything and attempting to do will cause a service provider to lose economies of scale in some form or fashion. This impacts cost, quality, or both.
So, what is the best approach to determine what to outsource? How do you outsource, while maintaining control, keeping IT aligned to the business, save costs, and improve quality? Datalink Managed Services approaches this problem with a solution I like to call ‘functional outsourcing’. There are very specific IT functions related to datacenter infrastructure which Datalink knows very well. We further align the skill-sets around those functions to very specific technologies. This combination provides economies of scale to an organization like Datalink that make it impossible for individual IT departments to match the cost and quality when it comes to the operations of these specific infrastructure functions.
As I meet with many customers each quarter, I usually find that there is indeed an infrastructure function that lags behind the others in their environment. This is the area those customers need help with and we’re able to provide a prescription to operations which provide help in a very cost-effective and high-quality manner. Are you spending too much time and money on backups? Is your storage running optimally? Are you able to keep up with the rate of change in your virtual environment? Is managing the network too noisy for your staff? Is end-point data protection too daunting? Take a look at which of your IT functions need the most help and then take time to discuss that function with a service provider who is an expert in that function and with that technology. Get some help! Doing so will save you money, improve your operations, and allow you to divert more time to the business and other continuous improvement initiatives.
Lee Whitaker, Director of Managed Services