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The move towards outsourcing IT isn't new, yet it's gained more attention as companies struggle to address skill gaps, labour shortages, and stalled digital initiatives. Often, CEOs and COOs believe an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help them overcome barriers and reach goals sooner, yet some CIOs have concerns. 

Understandably, many CIOs and other technical leaders question how working with an external provider will impact their IT staff and corporate culture—or whether they’ll risk losing project oversight and control. 

These fears aren’t unfounded. As we’ve seen, it isn't uncommon for companies to experience unrest among staff after announcing an outsourcing decision. A hasty move can harm employee morale, resulting in workplace dissatisfaction—or, in the worst cases, IT teams resigning en masse.

Fortunately, it is possible to mitigate these repercussions, but business leaders can't do it on their own (nor should they try to). Instead, the right MSP can work with your organisation to identify and manage risks so that leaders can work together to seamlessly transition workloads and achieve high-level initiatives.

In this way, companies benefit from decreased costs and better execution, while employees gain the opportunity to focus on more exciting, higher-priority work. If you or your leaders are considering outsourcing, here’s how you can work effectively with MSPs in order to achieve outcomes that exceed expectations. 

Understand the advantages of an MSP partnership

Before your team can get on board, it's essential to understand both your expectations and the benefits of Managed IT services. In particular, strong MSP partnerships can help alleviate today's complex challenges:

Skills and knowledge gaps:

"87% of companies say they have skill gaps or expect to within a few years," according to McKinsey & Company. MSPs can plug that gap with experienced teams that are dedicated to specific IT tasks and have a strong track record of implementing them across clients

High capital expenditures or project budget shortfalls:

cost-cutting initiatives. An MSP can help you shift capital expenses to your operating budget to accomplish long-term goals with fewer barriers and predictable monthly payments.

Financial Review reported a "30% decrease in applications per job ad compared to pre-pandemic" in the Australian IT sector, making finding and hiring skilled staff tougher. Your MSP can supplement your existing workforce during labour shortages and beyond if needed.

Lower IT employee retention rates:

McKinsey & Company noted, "Australian employees are on the move—seeking work that is more meaningful, advances their careers, and pays them more." Because MSPs can handle tedious tasks such as IT maintenance, IT staff gain the autonomy and capacity to focus on high-value projects. An effective partnership also helps team members avoid burnout from large workloads or from being on call 24/7.

IT infrastructure management and Business as Usual (BAU) tasks in a way that creates secure, consistent user experiences.

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Overcome resistance to IT MSP outsourcing

Beyond these benefits, an experienced IT managed service provider can help you navigate change by anticipating potential fallout and offering mitigation solutions. Developing these types of strategies and contingency plans will help you get in front of potential issues and ensure everyone is on board with the transition. 

Determine your MSP roles 

One of the biggest drivers of MSP resistance is the fear that a new provider will swoop in and entirely displace existing staff. But in fact, MSP roles can generally be quite flexible, allowing you to offload a single workload or individual project at a time, instead of entire departmental functions.

For this reason, the best way to start a new MSP relationship is to look more closely at what’s preventing your organisation from reaching its objectives. In doing so, you’ll be able to identify barriers—especially those related to capabilities and capacity—that can be more easily overcome with the support of an external partner.

Communicate effectively with IT teams and leadership

Poor communication drives discord. Ensure transparency during the MSP outsourcing process by bringing team members at all levels in at the beginning of the journey. Engage them by listening to their concerns and providing detailed answers, and don't hesitate to lean on your MSP for help addressing questions that arise during team conversations. 

Further, when discussing your new partnership, try to use language that correctly defines your relationship with the MSP. Managed Service Providers aren’t there to disrupt or displace. Instead, think of an MSP as an extension of your existing team, working toward shared outcomes and objectives. 

Moreover, an MSP doesn't simply perform services; they can also provide guidance, support, and thought leadership around areas like security and compliance. Make sure team members understand that working with an MSP frees up resources to better support them—from improving their work-life balance to providing mentorship or upskilling opportunities—in order to increase their buy-in.  

Align IT initiatives with business goals

Ultimately, the role of the IT managed service provider should go beyond providing services. By partnering with a provider that understands what makes your organisation unique—including your core business focus and objectives—you can work together to build a strategic roadmap that aligns IT objectives to overarching business outcomes. 

Concurrently, bringing on a new MSP can offer the direction needed to rebalance IT priorities. With the right partner in place, business leaders can demonstrate value to stakeholders and management by clearly tying IT investment to objectives such as enhancing customer engagement and reducing costs. 

Consider key factors when choosing an MSP

Unfortunately, not all MSPs are created equally. Indeed, some take a more reactive approach, lack experience in your industry, or fail to understand how to connect IT decision-making to your business goals. 

Ideally, your chosen IT managed service provider’s breadth of capability should extend beyond IT infrastructure maintenance to the optimisation of systems and business processes. Besides enabling you to create a competitive advantage, this type of strategic perspective may help you identify quick wins that produce financial savings that can be redirected towards other initiatives. 

Productive partnerships are all about collaboration. If you don’t already have a Managed Service Provider serving you in this capacity, speak with an expert at Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) to understand how an IT partner can support your business strategy or how to easily transition from another MSP.

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