Networking

Network outsourcing creates new opportunities for IT professionals

Is your company contemplating network outsourcing? Contributing author Del Smith shares some strategies for taking advantage of the professional opportunities offered by the network outsourcing trend.


A recent Gartner report stated that selective network outsourcing and managed network services will be the prevailing models for organizations for at least the next five years. This means that many companies, large and small, will use some type of selective or full network outsourcing.

There’s a good chance that your company is currently using or considering using some type of managed network service provider. What can you do to ensure that you maintain your value and importance as an IT professional in this network outsourcing era?

Take the lead approach
No external managed network service provider can know all the nuances of your organization’s IT operation. Many companies that decide to outsource their IT functions follow the practice of maintaining a person in-house to head up the outsourcing efforts. This person typically assumes the role of IT coordinator.

The position of IT coordinator can be challenging and very rewarding. This person has the responsibility of ensuring that the organization is receiving the type of service and support outlined in the contract. The IT coordinator will raise the flag when an SLA is not met or a service is not delivered as specified. Often, this person will act as a liaison between his or her company and the network service provider. The IT coordinator may even take a lead role in special projects and implementations that the network outsourcing company provides.

IT coordinators must possess technical skills as well as project management and communication skills. If your company is using or planning to use a managed network service provider, and you have these qualifications, you might consider asking upper management to allow you to fill this role. The IT coordinator position can easily lead to a role as CTO or CIO.

Go to the next level
As networks grow and become more complex, they need more maintenance and support. Providing your network with the constant service and support it requires may have turned into your primary job responsibility. If your true potential isn’t being reached performing daily backups, monitoring servers, or scanning your network for viruses, a managed network service company may be the answer to your prayers. If you have a keen sense of how to leverage the value of information technology, a network service provider may free you from “firefighting” so that you can focus on using technology to improve your company’s business processes. For example, you may determine that an accounting application is not being fully used, or you might discover that your experience in programming could save the company money by automating a business process. That’s surely justification for the next big raise!


 
Business Specific Applications

Business Specific Applications

 
Infrastructure

Infrastructure

Hopefully, your company’s decision to outsource its network services won’t pose a threat to your position. However, if it does, and you can’t convince management to allow you to take a lead role in the outsourcing efforts, see about working for a managed network service provider.

As the outsourcing phenomena grows, more and more network outsource companies will be needing highly skilled and qualified IT professionals to meet the demands of their growing client base. If you are a network administrator or LAN/WAN engineer, you may find that working for a network service company is a very rewarding opportunity. Not to mention the fact that working for a network service company typically offers many training, experience, and salary advantages over a traditional IT position in a company that doesn’t see technology as a source of revenue.

Companies are choosing to selectively or fully outsource their network services for a variety of reasons. Your company’s decision to outsource may be the result of difficulty in recruiting and retaining qualified IT personnel or it may be due to corporate downsizing. Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that you’ll likely be affected by the move toward network outsourcing. Take advantage of the new opportunities that network outsourcing introduces and increase your value and importance as an IT pro.
What plan do you have to continue working in the IT industry? If you'd like to share your opinion, start a discussion below or send the editor an e-mail.

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