As technology continues to evolve rapidly, an increasing number of organizations are finding
that handling the entire IT stack internally has become a near impossibility. In many organizations, IT budgets are limited, meaning there may be just one or a handful or resources dedicated to keeping the lights on and simultaneously innovating. But even in places where IT is more robust, it can be extremely
difficult to hire and retain all of the skill sets necessary for running modern IT.

Cyber security is an example of a practice area where outsourcing has become a necessity for many organizations. A recent article, for example, called out “security takes center stage” as the top IT outsourcing trend for 2016. The reason for the surge of interest in outsourcing is simple: organizations simply don’t have in-house talent with the skill sets necessary to handle increasingly complex and wide-ranging practice areas. For example, a recent global survey of cyber security professionals found that fewer than 25 percent of cyber security applicants are qualified to perform the skills needed for the job.

Statistics like that are driving the outsourcing market to new heights. In fact, the Cisco 2016 Annual Security Report revealed that 88 percent of organizations now outsource at least some of their security functions, such as consultation, audit, monitoring and incident response.

The top five reasons given for outsourcing in the Cisco survey were:
• More cost-efficient
• Desire for unbiased insight
• More timely response to incidents
• Lack of internal expertise
• Lack of internal resources

Interest and investment in IT outsourcing go far beyond security as well. For instance, project management for corporate initiatives like migrating applications to the cloud is becoming a popular option. These kinds of projects often involve critical business systems—like corporate email, for example—and, as such, the stakes are extremely high. Understanding how important it is that these initiatives go off smoothly, decision makers want to be sure they have access to the necessary skill sets, even if that means leveraging a third party.

At the same time, “letting go” of mission-critical aspects of IT can be nerve-wracking. How does leadership know it is getting resources with the required skill sets? Will the third-party be as invested in the organization’s success as the organization itself? These are crucial trust issues that are best resolved by carefully examining the credentials of an outsourcing partner. Because when that trust is established, the benefits can be tremendous.

“Done right, outsourcing adds depth of capability to the IT team,” explains Paul Pinto, senior vice president of service delivery, Carousel. “It increases the CIO’s sense of control because she/he has the resources needed to actually meet the full set of business requirements.”

As IT challenges have evolved, so too have outsourcing options. In some cases, organizations
can actually leverage resources directly from a third-party’s own internal talent pool for co-location. In these cases, the outsourcing partner can take the time to learn the client’s business firsthand while simultaneously helping internal IT acquire new skills and complete mission-critical projects. This approach can be particularly valuable for organizations who rely on technology to drive their business, but don’t live and breathe it.

This article originally appeared in ON Magazine, a publication by Carousel.