Sparkhound, a provider of managed IT services, has launched a Pop-Up Service Desk designed to augment the existing capabilities of internal IT teams during a major transition.
Chris Kimmel, managing director for managed services at Sparkhound, said the new service was created to help organizations cope with transitions such as migrating to Windows 10 or deploying a major upgrade to an electronic medical record system.
In both cases, Kimmel said it’s not uncommon for internal IT service desk personnel to be overwhelmed by requests for support. In some instances, organizations have decided to rely on Sparkhound, a provider of IT services that are available 24/7, to handle all the calls specifically relating to Windows 10 until such time the volume of support calls declines to a point where they can be handled by the internal IT team. In other cases, he said, Sparkhound has acted as a concierge that triages support calls before passing them on to a professional services team that has been contracted to implement an EMR system.
IT teams can also “white-label” the Pop-Up Service Desk service in a way that makes the Sparkhound team appear to be an extension of the company’s internal IT service desk.
Tensions between internal IT teams and managed service providers (MSPs) such as Sparkhound are long-standing. Many internal IT teams fear they will be replaced by an MSP. However, while Sparkhound continues to offer a wide range of managed IT services, Kimmel said none of the customers who have trialed Pop-Up Service Desk have opted to replace their internal IT staff.
While most MSPs have an advantage in terms of technical expertise because of their ability to invest more in IT automation frameworks, many organizations still prefer to hire full-time employees to manage IT because they typically develop a closer relationship with end users. Less clear is to what degree managed services are less expensive to employ as an operational expense versus the fully loaded cost of hiring an internal IT team. The Pop-Up Service Desk allows organizations to strike a middle ground between those two extremes at times of stress.
Kimmel said the services provided by Sparkhound are based on the ITIL framework. More organizations served by Sparkhound have yet to adopt best DevOps practices for building and deploying applications. However, Kimmel said the MSP will be prepared to make that transition if and when it comes.
In the meantime, a chronic shortage of all types of IT skills is pushing more organizations to at the very least consider managed IT services as an alternative to hiring an internal IT team. The global managed services market is forecasted to be valued at $376 billion by 2025, representing an 11.7% compound annual growth rate.
IT professionals who would prefer to see the management of IT remain in-house are under constant pressure to show more value. Alternatively, many IT professionals can simply opt to go to work for an MSP.
Regardless of the route chosen, however, it’s apparent most internal IT teams can’t keep pace with the rate of change now occurring across the IT landscape. Whether it’s maintaining security or simply upgrading applications, few internal IT teams are going to have all the skills required to succeed, so like it or not, managed services are now a permanent part of the IT ecosystem.