How CIOs are Leaning More on MSPs | Hacker Noon


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Founder and CEO of Nature Torch, Entrepreneur, Tech Enthusiast, Digital Marketer, and SEO.

It won’t be wrong to say that a stronger bond of understanding is building between MSPs (managed service providers) and CIOs. The role of MSPs in helping IT teams accomplish the outsized role technology plays in business success as strategic partners is radically changing.

One can safely conclude that just the way we saw a force that defined the role of CIOs, the same force is at work in how CIOs relate with their MSPs. An unprecedented technological advancement, coping with the volatility of the business environment, and the need to keep IT costs low, are tilting the scale towards a more favorable consideration of the role of MSPs.

The situation is no longer that of considering MSPs as mere vendors who have no other option than to provide IT services at ridiculous prices. They are now viewed as people who are depended on to provide a more critical and indispensable supporting role to CIOs.

MSPs ensure the running of the highly-needed lean and effective IT organization. You simply need to outsource to them to function as your strategic partners. 

They undertake the execution, automation, securing, and scaling of IT infrastructure and operations to enable the CIO and your internal IT team to concentrate on the differentiating work that will rightly position your brand for the competition in a digital economy.

With MSPs, you don’t need to bother yourself with how your IT team can add more value and do things more efficiently at a lower cost since they take on all this in a stride. If your CIO can manage and successfully partner with them, they are just like an appendage of your IT and will execute on the goals mapped out by IT and the brand.

Introducing expertise through MSSPs

For a startup, one of the most crucial areas to focus attention on is a secure environment. But then, this comes at a huge cost. 

There are no half measures to cybersecurity, it’s either your brand is secured or not. Ensuring this means that you need to recruit and pay for quality staff. 

This is not an issue a startup can just dabble into, considering the financial implications. But you can get better service at the least cost; all you need is an MSSP. 

They come with expertise and efficiency, all they talk about are security and compliance.  Once your customers feel confident with the way you handle their data and privacy, you are surefooted for the competition in the global market.

Value delivery

There are a lot of benefits CIOs derive from their strategic partnership with MSPs, but the following five are uppermost. 

1. Delivery of your needed service effectively and in a lean way

Your CIO has enough time and the needed manpower to focus effectively on the needs of the customer. There is also the opportunity for the IT team to come up with innovations that will stand out the brand with no added cost.

2. Enhances process improvement knowledge 

With expertise from MSPs, your CIO should easily identify areas where there are needs and ways to ensure processes are improved as well as create further efficiencies.

3. Provision of a highly-skilled workforce 

As the market is highly competitive, MSPs put in a great deal of effort in ensuring that their workforce is of the world’s best standards. This they do by recruiting the best hands, retraining, and upskilling IT talent in their specialized areas.

4. Keeping up with technological advancements 

MSPs have the resources to identify, test, process, fine-tune, and prove out emerging technologies that can result in incremental and transformational changes to your brand.

Problems arising from delegating duties

What most brands tend to do is to use a mix of in-house workers, business unit employees, contract workers, and MSPs to deliver tech solutions. This type of setup leads to chaos, everybody is involved in “cooking the broth,” and to further complicate things, the MSP may decide to use subcontractors or any other third party.

Taking into consideration the Gartner estimates that more than 60% of buyers won't achieve the goals sought from their IT outsourcing deals, it becomes glaring that even when you outsource to an MSP, you may still fall short of your expected targets.

If the MSP is not given a clear-cut assignment, you can expect problems from the following areas:

Inability to harmonize MSP’s goals with those of IT and the brand

Harmony is essential for optimum performance but when there is a lack of alignment, it portends danger to the organization.  Lack of harmony can be due to communication breakdown, and it can also arise from the CIO's failure to be forthright about the goals of the enterprise. 

In such situations, there are bound to be conflicting objectives.

Insufficient know-how of your brand’s business and internal processes 

There is the need to make sure any MSP you are contacting has a total comprehension of what you do and how you run the brand’s affairs. This must be a primary condition as some MSPs may not be willing to toe the line of the brand. 

Possibility of an abrupt shutdown 

There is always the possibility that your MSP may decide to shut down on you when you are not prepared for such. Most times, however, the problem may have arisen from you. 

If you have contract disputes or delay in paying your MSP, you should not be surprised if the MSP decides to shut down. While this should not happen because of the consequences, there is always the possibility, and you must refrain from defaulting.

Unexpected costs from ill-structured contracts 

The CIO will incur some unexpected additional costs if the contract reached with the MSP is not well-spelled out. This form of unanticipated extra cost can arise from upgrade fees or revised work processes. 

To ensure this does not happen, the CIO must ensure any contract with the MSP is properly structured.

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