As a Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in cloud services, security, and data management, our team works with companies of all shapes and sizes to improve their operational efficiency and security posture. Yet across all of these interactions, we encounter many organisations making a fundamental mistake that holds them back from potential growth.
“Take insurance companies,” describes Todd Elliott, General Manager at Satalyst, part of Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS). “They're selling insurance; they're not running an IT service. Yes, they have to run an IT function to keep their business going, but it is not their core business.”
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with running an in-house IT service, it’s important to consider the broader implications of allocating resources to the operation of one—especially given the increasing pressure most businesses are under to innovate while also maintaining ‘business as usual’.
Many of the firms we speak with are struggling to both ensure a safe and compliant environment and modernise their operations amidst accelerated pressure to transform. Teams can only be spread so thin before issues begin to emerge. That’s why, for most mid-market firms, transitioning to a different IT operating model makes both practical and financial sense.
“There's a little bit of contradiction to this concept”, Elliott explains. “Everyone needs to understand technology and how it can help the business”. In fact, emerging research has identified a connection between organisations’ degree of technical competency and their overall performance.
• According to a Deloitte survey, “tech-savvy businesses are three times more likely to create new products and services and are two times more likely to create jobs than those that don’t rely on technology as much”.
• An MIT review of almost 2,000 businesses found that “organisations with digitally savvy leaders outperformed peers on revenue growth and valuation by over 48%”.
• Another Deloitte report found that companies with tech-savvy boards “experienced, on average, 5% greater revenue growth over a three-year period, and 8% better stock performance year over year, over three-, five-, and 10-year periods, than companies with non-tech-savvy boards”.
It’s clear that IT is no longer the realm of the CISO or the CIO. New software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud platform offerings—in addition to expanded IT managed services partnerships—create a business opportunity for organisations to focus on what sets them apart, without being slowed down by capability and capacity challenges.
“It's not necessarily a reduction in the budget per se, but a freeing up of resources that allows them to focus their effort on the things that are going to add value to the business”, notes Elliott.
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The growth of in-house security practices is a good example of this effect in action. As Elliott describes, “Security has to be covered. But to provide 24x7 coverage, you need at least 3-4 people. It’s not feasible for a lot of mid-market or even enterprise-level corporate businesses to have that many security people on staff. They aren’t contributing value to the business from a day-to-day operation—they’re a risk mitigation”
Even if companies can support this level of staffing, other challenges can arise out of running an IT security practice in-house:
• If one member of your team goes on leave, how will you provide cover?
• Will your business be able to retain talented staff who may be lured away in today’s competitive hiring markets?
• Can you afford to increase their compensation to keep them?
• Have you created pathways for staff to broaden their skill sets and stay abreast of the number of new threats emerging—even if they may not directly encounter them in-house at a company of your size?
Transitioning IT services away from an in-house department to an external partner has the potential to resolve these and other issues.
According to Elliott, “A partner like CBS can come in and say, ‘yes, you do need to have a lead who’s worrying about this stuff. But we can take the operations off you. We’ll take away the challenges of managing the team, and we’ll ensure cover when staff go on leave. You don’t have to worry—and it’s the same price every month’”.
The reality is that IT systems are becoming increasingly complex, and they’re changing at an increasing rate. Microsoft and other cloud platforms are rapidly evolving their offerings. Best practices for everything from mitigating security risks to driving digital transformation are forever being changed and refined as well.
“The investment organisations and their IT teams have to make to stay abreast of these changes just doesn’t make sense when you can partner with someone like CBS”, Elliott states.
As a partner, CBS’s broad capabilities across IT—covering cloud transformation, security, IT infrastructure management, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), multicloud environments, and more—provide support to clients through both ongoing monthly IT support services and on-demand consulting with technical experts.
Not only does this combination enable you to maintain business-as-usual without the expense of an in-house team, but you can also leverage CBS’s specialist skills to run and deliver projects on key technologies for which you may not have the talent (or only need it on a temporary, per-project basis).
“Part of our partnering value proposition is that we make sure our staff are up-to-date”, Elliott concludes. “We ensure you're across everything and on the front foot, knowing what you need to fix or how we can support you in fixing it. Because our staff is looking after you, we can take the worry off your hands”.
To better understand your opportunities for transitioning away from in-house IT support services to a managed services arrangement with a partner like CBS, reach out to our team. Our IT specialists welcome the opportunity to learn more about your unique challenges and develop a customised plan of action.