As a twenty-five-year veteran of Information Technology, I have seen a lot of changes across Architecture, Applications and Infrastructure over the years. While most advancements have provided tremendous benefit to practitioners and end-users alike, a new and pressing concern is facing a large number of IT organizations – Technical Debt.
Technical Debt is defined as the long-term consequence of routinely choosing quick and dirty (easy) approaches to technology solutions over implementing “best design” solutions that take more time and are typically costlier. This long-term consequence means that a variety of “work-arounds”, “quick fixes”, “interim solutions” and “band-aids” are typically deployed in the environment to meet the needs of the business, but never get refactored (or in effect repaid) to meet enterprise coding, security or design standards consistent with the rest of the environment.
The “Speed to Market” mentality in today’s world almost makes this unavoidable. Business leaders are constantly pressuring IT to meet very aggressive timelines in order to gain competitive advantage (or keep up with the competition) and very often that means cutting corners where possible to save time and cost. Unfortunately, the corners that were cut are often never filled and ultimately require IT to support standard AND non-standard components and often makes future IT projects MORE difficult.
One approach to succeeding in this new paradigm is to focus the entire IT organization on the most strategic and important initiatives (like standardized design, architecture, testing and deployment) by sourcing routine, repeatable maintenance and management services to a Managed Services Provider. By leveraging a provider to handle such tasks as Desktop & Server Management, LAN and WAN Monitoring and Service Desk support, an organization can shift valuable headcount to strategic projects and initiatives and realize a number of benefits:
Retaining and growing talented IT resources
Today’s technology employees want to do interesting work. If there is no visible career path from duties like resetting passwords, troubleshooting email, setting up & terminating new users and troubleshooting printer issues, support for these services suffer due to high-turnover, lack of urgency and focus. Keep the best and brightest employees by unleashing them on the most critical IT projects.
Better quality of service
Managed Service Providers run under a Service Level Agreement model and position the organization to provide consistent service to their user base. This avoids a common scenario where maintenance items and help desk tickets stack up and suffer extended response time due to a critical project issue or delay that require “all hands on deck”.
Improving the delivery of projects
Most IT organizations utilize resources across projects and sustainment activities. When critical maintenance items arise, the pace and quality of the projects lose focus leading to delays and quality issues due to multi-tasking inefficiencies. Under an MSP model, the project teams say focused and undistracted by “keeping the lights on”.
Addressing Technical Debt
Re-focusing resources away from routine maintenance and administrative tasks through Managed Services is a great way to give your vital IT resources the time and focus to implement best practice solutions rather than the fastest.
Most IT organizations are focusing on their core business and how to gain strategic advantage using technology solutions. Additionally, it has become more critical than ever to get those solutions designed, tested and implemented in a sound and timely manner. If this isn’t happening in your organization, examining the benefits of Managed Services may help you stop growing your Technical Debt and provide even better maintenance and management of your infrastructure.