The IT budget often takes a back seat to corporate investment, although technology should keep pace with initiatives for corporate expansion. Despite the rapid expansion of IT departments over the last 10 years, there are often more projects than resources to satisfy productivity demands. Corporate

initiatives have many IT managers scrambling to secure ample funding to provide for reliable deployment and support related to core business.

IT managers typically have a consistent objective: To maintain a high level of in-house competence on core processes. Their departments are often responsible for supporting various initiatives that are essential to client functionality and satisfaction. The breadth of support can be extensive as the user usually defines the need. This lack of standardization further complicates the lives of IT managers as they seek to build staff competencies to keep their customers happy.

The current shortage of skilled technical staff has lead to increased competition and ultimately higher costs. In addition to the capital costs of maintaining an organization, as technology has become more complex and inter-related, both larger training budgets and increased amounts of time are required to support necessary skill levels. These events contribute to an exhausting management cycle.

Outsourcing brings different connotations to the minds of many people. Outsourcing is a buzzword that can make IT business managers very nervous. In today’s real world, no company is entirely self-sufficient. Companies enlist specialized services from outside organizations like banking, payroll, collections, janitorial, and even marketing services. These businesses provide cost effective, specialized services to help the client focus resources on higher priority tasks. If outsourcing makes sense in these other areas, why should it be different when it comes to IT?

The solution for IT managers is to establish service level agreements (SLAs) with outsource suppliers to predetermine expected performance. Monitoring tools need to be established at regular intervals to ensure communication and compliance with SLAs. The whole objective of this model is to increase quality of service while reducing costs. Any windfall savings could provide for additional resources to be refocused into expanding core services. In today’s world of complexity, simplicity is a choice that makes most sense.

The next critical step in successful outsourcing is the partner selection. The ideal partner takes the time to understand your business model extensively before offering tailored solutions. These solutions should be backed up with a demonstrable history of technical proficiency and provide for high levels of proven customer satisfaction. Most important, is that the partner be committed to a life cycle rather than transactional engagement.

A partner should specialize in reducing the total cost of technology deployment and support. Check its track record. Has it gained enough expertise in providing the following services to address different components of the overall solution: Software acquisition, technology deployment and integration, contract help desk, recruiting services and Microsoft certified training for network administration.

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