If you’ve grown up in the Midwest, doing it yourself (DIY) is more than likely sewn into the fabric of your being. Whether it’s tackling typical vehicle maintenance in your own garage or juggling the service desk and other technology initiatives at work, many of us take pride in and see the value in completing projects or task on our own.
However, how many DIY projects have you embarked on with all the confidence and excitement as Peter Parker when he first put on his upgraded Spidey Suit created by Mr. Stark, only to walk away with the learning experience that you should have contracted it out? I have a few…. Here is one short story to prove you are not alone.
When DIY Goes Wrong
Just this year, the AC compressor of my wife’s SUV went bad. Realizing I would never be able to find a mechanic to fix the issue that day, I did what anyone would do… I turned to YouTube and told my wife, “it’s no big deal. I will have it done in about 5 hours.” To shorten the story, about 14 hours later (and a few phone calls to friends) I was finally finished. Or, so I thought.
Jumping ahead to the next summer, you guessed it, the AC compressor failed again. I am not too proud to say, this turned out to be a DIY that really didn’t make sense. While I saved some money up front (if you don’t factor in the value of my time), the fix didn’t last and the labor didn’t come with a warranty. Had I worked with a mechanic, not only would I have walked away with a permanent fix, but the parts and labor would also have come with a warranty. Lesson learned.
The business world is not much different than our personal lives. I mean, we are always looking to save money or we (rightly so) have a great amount of confidence in our abilities or the abilities of our team. But when does DIY no longer make sense? When does it make more sense turn that DIY into Do it with Others (DIWO – not sure if that acronym will take off).
DIY vs. Managed Services: What Factors to Consider?
The constant assessment and implementation of new technology are fast becoming a challenge for many IT professionals to manage. As technology continues to make a greater impact on how companies conduct business, when is it better to call for some outside help over taking the DIY approach?
There are four major factors to consider when deciding whether DIY makes sense.
For all the time you’ll spend learning a new system or troubleshooting an issue you’ve never seen before, how much time could you save by hiring someone who has done the same job hundreds of times before? And even if you are extremely well versed in the area, how much time are you spending putting out the same fires over and over? Consider what other value-added projects are getting pushed to the backburner because you’re too busy just keeping the lights on.
By offloading certain IT responsibilities to a service desk, you can open up more time in the day to hone your craft and focus on the things you really love to do. By increasing your knowledge in new areas, you can take on more challenging work that will ultimately have a greater impact on the business and your career.
In the past, IT professionals and midmarket businesses had capacity to learn and stay up to date with the systems that were critical to running the business. Today, the diversity of skills required, the need for real-time expertise, and the acceleration in the deployment of new solutions is making it extremely difficult to be a subject matter expert in everything.
One of the most prominent examples of this is with cloud computing, where management has become less about hardware maintenance and support and more about usage analysis and driving business value through IT strategy. For many organizations, this means outsourcing their cloud management to a partner who has the expertise to develop a cloud roadmap strategy and provide support across their entire environment, whether on-premises or in the public and/or private cloud.
While some IT issues are relatively straight-forward, others are more complex and could even pose a danger if not properly executed. When doing it yourself, consider what’s at stake should you realize mid-project that you weren’t the right person for the job.
Technology has become the catalyst for innovation and the foundation for future growth. When it comes to business-critical projects like cloud migrations or cybersecurity, getting something wrong isn’t just a point of frustration, it can have serious and residual effects on the business and your career. As the CIO, working in partnership with a managed services provider gives you the benefit of knowing that you’ll always have the right resources in place to avoid major catastrophes. Because of this, it’s not surprising that 92% of organizations we surveyed in the latest Tech Insights Report say that they are currently outsourcing certain aspects of their IT to help fill the gaps in their technical skillsets.
Once the project is finished, the DIYer is eager to pack up their tools and move onto the next project. However, deploying a solution is no longer the last step to a successful IT project. Ensuring the users are leveraging the new solution to their full potential and the business is getting a full return on their technology investment is the new measure of success. Typically, this requires a user enablement framework, ROI reporting, and ongoing support. Often, these soft skills are not part of the typical DIY project.
A good managed services provider can help you approach your needs from a business value perspective, providing you with the expertise and experience that comes from delivering services to hundreds of organizations without a one-size-fits-all approach. This allows your IT team to remain focused on keeping up with the latest technology without facing workforce resistance that comes with this new pace of continual change.
The Bottom Line
Given today’s complex and ever-changing technology landscape, the majority of businesses are looking at how they can off-set their DIY approach by leverage outsourced partners to enhance their capabilities, save money, and reduce the likelihood of catastrophe down the line. Of course, when contracting outside help, not all service providers are created equal. Companies should look for a managed services partner who can evolve and adapt with their organization to deliver top-level, strategic recommendations.