When building an environment where IT can guarantee the availability and performance of critical IT services, CIOs are faced with a daunting challenge.

It starts out simple enough with basic monitoring capabilities and IT resources that resolve issues. But when an abundance of alerts come in, it can quickly become overwhelming. It can take years of experience to know what to monitor and what thresholds to use to truly know when systems require intervention.

You also need IT Service Management (ITSM) and automation to quickly alert the resources when issues occur. You then need processes to resolve issues for each service discipline and corresponding workflows optimized for efficiency. But that’s not all—correlation and automated communication among alerts, tickets and device information that’s populated directly onto incident records is also a must.

Before you know it, you need 24x7x365 monitoring and management and multiple tiers of support!

Adding to the challenge is the need for a redundant architecture that ensures high availability along with resources to maintain, test and upgrade releases of all monitoring and ITSM tools as well as the underlying infrastructure. And don’t forget to ensure secure connectivity to the monitored and managed devices.

There’s also the need for automated request fulfillment, issue resolution and incident prevention to maximize efficiencies. Even after you put all this in place, you still need dedicated teams to research technologies and enhance processes in order to support evolving business requirements.

All this is typically too much for CIOs to handle—both from a budget perspective and a resource perspective. That’s why many CIOs turn over these functions to an external Managed Service provider.

Outsourcing the management of your technology can increase your IT service levels and often decrease costs. The key to choosing the right partner is a thorough up-front investigation of their services and policies, and then drilling down into the way they conduct their business.

To help you ask the right questions, check out this article, the 6 Critical Questions to Ask a Potential Managed Services Partner. You can pinpoint what’s important to your organization in a Managed Services partner—before the relationship begins.