The emerging law firm strategy of moving to a managed IT services model — in which an expert services provider assumes responsibility for the firm’s IT systems and operations — is gaining traction as we head into 2019. This model enables law firms to turn over their day-to-day IT infrastructure support requirements to an outside company that is able to deliver these services at a lower cost and with greater efficiency. As a result, the firms can reassign their full-time IT staff members toward higher value functions that propel the business, rather than worrying about who is making sure the systems are running and the data is secure.
Some managed IT services arrangements involve outsourcing select portions of the firm’s requirements (co-managed); some arrangements involve handing over operational responsibility for the entire function to an expert provider (fully managed). Examples of these functional areas include desktop support for the firm’s workforce, monitoring and resolving IT issues, and operational management of the firm’s network, servers, databases and applications.
For those firms that are considering a move to the managed IT services model, it is important to choose the right expert services provider as your partner. I recently had the opportunity to contribute an article for publication in Legaltech News, one of the leading publications serving the law firm IT community, and shared my suggestions for specific questions that law firm executives should ask potential Managed IT service providers before making their selection. The move to a managed IT services model is a big decision with significant implications on how a law firm operates, so it’s crucial to find the right partner for your firm.
These questions include:
- Is managed IT services a primary business function of your organization?
- How will your team pro-actively monitor, identify and repair problems with our IT infrastructure?
- What kind of measurement, reporting and communication do you provide?
- What percentage of your managed services clients are law firms and what client references can you provide within the legal industry?
- Can you offer strategic guidance on IT selection, deployment and our overall firm technology strategy?
- Integration within the firm as a trusted partner vs. a 3rd party support vendor?
- Are the services driven by defined SLA and SLO metrics that align with your business operation needs?