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Did you get into IT to fix leaky pipes?

“We joined the NavyTo see the worldAnd what did we see?We saw the sea”- Irving Berlin, Follow the Fleet

The Navy isn’t the only profession where the promises of recruiters fail to match the mundane realities of the daily grind. Take IT, for example. Most people become technologists because they want to use their skills to develop new innovations that will change the world. New recruits quickly learn that the vast majority of their time will be taken up with routine, time-consuming yet critical maintenance, monitoring and optimisation tasks.

No-one underestimates the importance of keeping business-critical systems and infrastructure running smoothly. Increasingly, however, organisations are questioning whether their investment in skilled IT personnel is worth it if 80% or more of their time is spent on routine administration. As organisations around the world face up to an IT skills and recruitment crisis, they might also consider how they will attract top talent if they can’t promise them exciting and fulfilling work.

The traditional answer to the drudgery of IT management has been to outsource it to a third party. For many companies, however, this doesn’t make great business sense because it means surrendering control of IT decision-making and losing much of the ability to innovate and experiment.

Traditionally there has been no middle way between outsourcing on a large scale and running your entire IT infrastructure in-house. If an organisation takes the decision to keep control of IT management, they quickly discover that their dreams of devoting time and resources to innovation are hampered by the 24/7 job of routine maintenance and optimisation. And, of course, it means that their skilled IT team will spend most of their time “seeing the sea” rather than working on more meaningful and fulfilling projects.

And that’s to say nothing about the commercial imperatives of infrastructure management. While the IT skills crisis has become one of the most urgent strategic challenges facing organisations today, IT budgets are no less important than they have ever been.

Organisations therefore face the unenviable decision of how much money they are willing to commit to protecting their critical systems.

In response to this dilemma, we are seeing more businesses embrace “out-tasking”. The idea is to provide the best of both worlds, enabling businesses to keep control of every aspect of their IT, yet able to access technical support and monitoring for all their systems and infrastructure at any hour of the day or night.

The earlier that businesses embrace these new technologies, the more control they will have over their use (the old principle of change being necessary to keep things the same!), and they are also much likelier to benefit from new ways of working than if they had reluctantly tolerated them. They will also have a much better chance of retaining these talented young workers, in whose hands the business’ future lies.

Unlike traditional models of IT support where the customer is responsible for monitoring systems and logging problems, out-tasking sees the service provider take on specific, defined tasks. One of the most suitable jobs is that of constantly monitoring a customer’s IT environment and alerting them to any potential concerns with their IT infrastructure before it becomes a problem.

The beauty of this model is that the customer remains in full control of their IT estate, and can make whatever fixes or changes they deem necessary, based on the real-time insight we give them.

We think the advantages of out-tasking speak for themselves. It enables businesses to use their hard-won (and justifiably expensive!) IT talent on strategic projects that bring real value to the organisation, without having to worry about problems arising in their infrastructure unnoticed. Our own out-tasking service, Monitoring as a Service, provides customers with access to our team of 500 highly-experienced engineers, representing a far greater resource than any in-house team could hope to muster themselves.

Our team acts as a virtual extension of our customers’, and will help with initial investigations, contacting vendors, and anything else that will help to resolve the problem and prevent an outage that could cripple your business or ruin its reputation.

Monitoring as a Service might bring many operational advantages such as lower costs and less chance of downtime, but it can also bring real strategic value. With businesses in every industry scrambling to undertake digital transformation initiatives, IT talent is at an absolute premium. What better way to attract this scarce resource than to give IT workers the responsibilities and the freedom that they have always craved?

By out-tasking your mission-critical infrastructure monitoring, you won’t be able to promise your IT team that they will see the world – but you will give them every opportunity to change it.