I’m being inundated with emails from companies wanting to discuss outsourcing our IT.
Out of curiosity, have any of your churches outsourced (partially or fully) your IT department to a Managed Service provider? If so, please share pros/cons of using Managed Service provider as replacement for onsite IT staff person. Reaction of staff to not having an IT staff person onsite, costs (managed vs. onsite person), etc.
Please give size of church & number of staff/computers in comments.
Any kind of feedback as to experience with outsourcing IT is welcome and much appreciated!
I know we’re not one of the companies you’ve been hearing from, because we don’t do any of that kind of marketing. But we have been serving Christian churches and ministries exclusively that way for decades! If you’d like to get some feedback on what it’s like from the client’s perspective, here’s a link to our reference page on our website:
My church has not outsourced it’s IT Department to a Managed Service Provider, but my previous employer (family owned retail stores 120 employees, three locations, 50+ computers) did move to an MSP with some level of success. The amount of manpower, skillset, geographical deployment and time coverage that they could marshall for specific situations compared to onsite staff was no comparison.
The biggest struggle that we had was who set the vision and direction for the relationship. The business owner specifically asked me to be the onsite 1st responder, with the MSP to be brought in at my discretion. I was also asked to set the goals and manage the majority of the business’s interactions with the MSP when it came to projects. The MSP had a completely different perspective and believed that their primary responsibility was only to the business owner.
Assuming the vision and clarity of who does what in the relationship is clear, I believe that MSP’s are a viable option. Do keep in mind that having someone geographically local (less than 15-20 minute drive) is immensely helpful. If your network or phones are down, having someone who can only provide remote support means nothing if they can’t reach your equipment.
Finally it all depends on the skillset available in your church, if you have no one who has a clue about IT - then an MSP is wise idea at least 1-2 years to modernize your infrastructure and give you a chance to hire someone on staff and get them trained.
Our church (3 campuses with around 1,200 total attendance) uses a mix of onsite and outsourced IT help. I’m the “onsite” help, which I believe is really important for the simple things (“Hey, I can’t print! Someone help!”) that happen ALL THE TIME, and could become really pricey if you outsource that kind of stuff. But I came into this job with zero network knowledge or experience, so MBS handles the things that are way over my head. It’s well worth having the extra support since they can step in pretty quickly (especially if it’s something urgent), diagnose, and fix the problem.
Also, if I’m just inundated with work, I can send things their way just to lighten the load.
Anyway, for us it’s been a great thing having both. Maybe one day I’ll know enough to be able to do t all on my own, but I don’t see that day coming along anytime soon… :o)
(I should also add that I priced comparable local companies, and MBS absolutely blew their prices away)
Our church outsourced our IT to MBS (Ministry Business Services–they commented earlier in this thread) a couple of years ago and we haven’t looked back. I’m the campus first responder and involve MBS when needed. MBS is passionate about serving ministries and it shows in every interaction. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to provide more details.
Thanks Everyone; it sounds like most people are using managed services the same way we are and no one has made the jump to not having an IT person onsite.
Similar to Nick and MBS, we at Enable Ministry Partners (formerly Solerant) provide outsourced technology services from service desk to strategic “CIO” level services. We have a variety of situations, from those where we provide the IT Department as a service, to those where we provide special components. As someone else mentioned, the key to success is setting clear expectations for responsibilities in a “co-managed” environment and defining processes for handoffs well.