In the wake of the pandemic, a new phenomenon has manifested as people reassess their work/life balance, dubbed by the media as ‘the great resignation’.
With many employees choosing to resign from their jobs, the great resignation means that businesses are experiencing a significant skills shortage. A recent survey suggested that almost a third of UK workers are considering moving to a new job, rising to over 40 per cent in the case of IT/telecoms staff. In general, the primary cause seems to be a reluctance to return to full-time, office-based work environments.
As a consequence, many housing providers are now struggling to meet their commitments while the lack of skilled workers is hampering their productivity, innovation, and growth. In such a scenario, outsourcing can be a viable option.
While managed service providers (MSPs) aren’t entirely immune to the great resignation, it makes sense that as more organisations move away from the traditional ‘full-time working in an office’ model, outsourcing services such as IT to MSPs has become more common.
MSPs can attract more skilled experts because they make it a priority to find the right people for the job, often through industry connections and specialist head-hunters/recruiters.
Additionally, outsourcing allows housing providers to enter contracts and agree SLAs with third-party organisations, giving them greater ability to pull levers on performance in a more objective and compelling way compared with internal teams.
There are various IT services that can be outsourced, including:
- Managed IT services: common services might include IT service desks, systems and infrastructure management, service integration, monitoring and maintenance of equipment, and network monitoring.
- Cloud services: cloud MSPs take care of various cloud functions for housing providers, as well as offering consultancy on how best to digitally transform the business into the cloud, such as advice on design, planning, and supplier selection.
- Cyber security: this is a specialist area, requiring expert security knowledge and a contemporary understanding of the threat landscape. Many organisations choose to outsource their cyber-security needs in order to benefit from access to wider skillsets and better tools than might be available in-house.
MSPs can offer housing providers many additional benefits to increase resilience, productivity, and efficiency; these include cost effectiveness, better services and flexible workplaces.
Hiring a full team to run any IT department in-house means high costs. For example, an in-house IT service desk requires full-time salaries and benefits as well as taking on higher operational costs.
Furthermore, in-house teams that need to scale up quickly are bound to run into candidate shortages, potentially even hiring under-experienced staff due to skills shortages and competitive salaries, as well as the months it typically takes to bring new staff on board. Training new staff also uses up time and resources, eating into budgets and potential revenues while affecting performance and productivity.
Working with an MSP allows housing providers to control their costs better because many MSPs offer pre-agreed, transparent pricing structures before work starts. Partnering with a provider in this way means housing providers only pay for the IT services they need, when they need them, plus resources can be easily scaled up or down when necessary.
Alongside the obvious cost benefits, outsourcing to an MSP makes it easier for housing providers to deliver much better end-user experiences.
After all, the right MSP should already have the experience and expertise from supporting other housing providers and can cross-pollinate intelligence from different fields and across a varied customer base. This means services such as IT service desks are more likely to have high first-contact resolution rates and higher levels of end-user satisfaction.
The great resignation is indicative of changing expectations from both employers and employees. Indeed, we have seen many housing providers shift towards more flexible, hybrid and technologically-reliant ways of working in order to compete in the talent market.
To attract and retain the best employees, workplaces must offer internal systems and processes that are user-friendly as well as digitally-efficient.
As much as modern workplaces rely on leveraging and protecting data and implementing efficient IT infrastructures, they’re also vehicles for future-proofing in the sense that they help to attract skilled hybrid or remote workers.
Richard Hutchings is the chief technology officer at Littlefish.