Service Delivery Manager, Jonathan Warr, explores the benefits of the Co-Managed IT model for finance companies.
In 2022, the UK financial services industry invested £19.3 billion in Information Technology (IT), a 7% increase from 2021.
Unsurprisingly, financial services firms are constantly looking for the best IT solution. However, many struggle to choose between a completely in-house team or an outsourced solution.
There is a third option: Co-Managed IT.
What is co-managed IT?
Co-Managed IT is a hybrid IT support solution that combines an in-house IT team with an outsourced service provider’s resources, tools and expertise.
The term became mainstream during the Covid-19 pandemic when organisations needed to downsize their IT teams in a shrinking economy while simultaneously setting up and maintaining remote-working systems.
With a Co-Managed IT model, the provider works with the in-house IT team to help with a company’s IT needs – complimenting the team, not competing with it.
It’s not just for large enterprises. Many SMBs would benefit from co-managed IT, especially in the financial sector.
Freeing up time for projects
The main benefit of a Co-Managed IT solution is freedom and flexibility. A Co-Managed model allows you to respond to emergent needs while keeping other systems running smoothly. You can supplement your team with IT professionals with specialised product knowledge and unrivalled expertise in new technologies.
Your in-house team may initially be concerned when outside help is brought into a company. People can be competitive and dislike others intruding into their professional domain. In practice, Co-Managed IT partners free up time for the in-house one, allowing larger projects to take place without impacting the day-to-day.
Managers can delegate routine tasks to the in-house team and let the partner focus on ad-hoc projects or vice-versa. Either way, your team isn’t trying to meet multiple obligations, so everything runs smoothly.
Co-Managed IT isn’t expensive
Some may see Co-Managed IT as too expensive or unnecessary. When an IT team is already on your payroll, bringing in extra help may seem counterproductive. In reality, Co-Managed IT is a more cost-effective solution than keeping a large in-house team.
In-house employees are costly, especially when factoring in holidays, office space, benefits, equipment, and training. By contrast, Co-Managed IT support works on a fixed monthly fee, meaning you won’t get any surprise charges.
Co-Managed IT providers are also more flexible and can scale up solutions according to the needs of the business. In-house teams are relatively static since onboarding employees takes time. If an employee suddenly leaves, you scramble to find an immediate fix.
Outsourcing in these circumstances can be expensive. By contrast, co-managed IT support from a trusted service provider will continue reliably. Capable ones, who are already integrated into your business, can fill gaps that appear.
A greater pool of expertise
Another great benefit of Co-Managed IT is that the model provides your organisation with a greater pool of expertise and access to specialised industry insights. There may be technology and software that your in-house team aren’t familiar with, but rather than opting for the expense of specialised training or hiring a product expert in-house, introducing a co-managed model enhances the expertise available to your team and supplements the areas where experience may be lacking.
With the combined experience of 30+ IT professionals, you’ll have a much greater knowledgebase to pull from.
Security concerns can also arise when inviting in an outside service provider. The decision to give full access to sensitive information on an IT system is difficult. After all, the financial sector experienced the second-highest number of data breaches in 2022.
Security concerns can be mitigated by ensuring that your service provider is GDPR compliant, cyber-essentials certified and has a good track record.
Furthermore, Co-Managed support from the right provider can even enhance security. A qualified partner can review your cyber security framework and provide a different perspective to shore up your defences. If a cyber attack does happen, a partner can help you deal with the aftermath.
How to choose the right provider
Financial service IT operations are complex and intricate. An outside solution may struggle to help in a way that doesn’t disrupt workflow.
Finding specialised suppliers who are knowledgeable, transparent, and experienced in your sector is crucial. They should know the best tools and practices and how to implement them.
The solutions provider should be able to work with a long-term vision in mind and be receptive to feedback. Good people skills and an ability to work with the in-house team will ensure no friction when engaging with a Co-Managed Solution.
IT infrastructure is one of the most significant barriers to scaling up a financial services company. As operations become more complex, so do the IT demands.
Co-Managed IT offers a flexible, affordable, and reliable way to deal with IT problems.