There is a common misconception that an IT department either consists of internal IT or outsourced IT. Every business has different IT needs depending on its size and complexity. The misconception is that there is a complex and fast transition from internal resources to external resources and back to internal once large enough. However, several in-between phases exist and provide more effective use of resources and budget as you grow. This is where Co-Managed IT comes in. Co-Managed IT is a combination of internal and external resources.

Your business may grow to the point where you know it makes sense for the owner and/or employees to use their time on more valuable revenue-generating activities beyond IT. At that point, it makes sense to have a Managed IT Service Provider oversee all the IT management back end, maybe utilize a tech-savvy employee for most help desk issues, and partner with the outsourced expertise on strategy.

As growth is expedited, or if no tech-savvy employees are found within your organization, you may determine it makes sense to outsource all IT management activities, including a partnership between your owners/CEO on strategy.

There is typically a more extended period of growth between around 10-150 employees where outsourced IT is the best fit for all IT management and strategic direction. However, as you approach the top end of that employee size, you may determine it makes sense to have a dedicated help desk technician who is readily available onsite at any time. At this point, the Outsourced IT provider can assist with determining the right resources for each duty.

Finally, as your organization scales up from 150 to 300 employees, you may add more internal IT resources as onsite IT demands are needed. At some point approaching 300 employees, you may determine the costs between Co-Managed IT and a full internal IT department to fully see if it is sent to move back to dedicated internal resources.

Whatever your needs may be, the sole decision-making on when to go between internal and external should not be a black and white gut feeling. Instead, all IT duties should be inventoried, and the appropriate resources and budget assigned to each. This will allow the department to grow with the business in a parallel fashion.

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