What is a Virtual Admin?
With the growing transition of IT systems to the cloud, the IT Virtual Administration (IVA) model has become more prevalent and efficient for many organizations. IT Virtual Admin or Remote Administration via managed services with offshore or outsourced teams has become a well-established practice. Most companies use this model or some form thereof.
An IVA is someone who fulfills the role of a typical administrator except they do it remotely, from an off-site location. The location can be from a private residence, from a commercial property, in another state or even in another country such as India, China, Philippines, or Malaysia. Although located offsite, IVAs derive the added benefit of performing work under the management of a well-established IT staffing provider who can oversee the quality of the work being performed.
Today, companies hire their own full time or part-time IVA or opt for third-party vendors for these type of services. Companies who choose to engage the virtual model, may do so on a contractual basis or as full-time basis.
IVAs function in a similar fashion to an on-site IT administrator; however, with these types of arrangements, companies tend to place a higher focus on performance and productivity. Because the IVAs are not physically located at a company’s office, they are measured on results rather than the numbers captured on a time sheet.
The Benefits of Virtual Administration
There are numerous benefits for organizations who choose to engage the IVA model. Companies can:
- Readily locate IVAs to alleviate shortfalls in staffing /easily fill resource gaps or augment existing teams or to address expanding workloads while allowing the core members to focus on other critical IT tasks
- Gain the right knowledge for the right platform on a temporary basis and learn in the process
- Experience simpler on-boarding (a contract vs. laborious HR paperwork)
- Save time and money on recruiting, onboarding, training and benefits
- Decrease attrition as a result of offering remote work options/flexibility in schedule thereby increasing job satisfaction
- Save valuable square footage for other organizational needs
IVA services work especially well for organizations that are in growth mode. For IT departments that need to scale quickly, flexibility is key and virtual services facilitate that need. It is not necessary for organizations to keep extra staff during these peak periods, they can add additional resources as needed. Additionally, companies that frequently require specialized skills for various projects and don’t have the financial means to hire full-time staff can greatly benefit from contracted IVAs. If the resource is good, they will likely be in high demand, which means they will require a competitive salary. With IVAs, companies can fish from an ocean of resources to find the right match for their organization’s needs.
While some organizations may have concerns regarding the security of an IT Virtual Admin, the reality is that having an IVA is just as secure as an on-site Administrator, in some cases, it can be more secure. A credible technology staffing provider will understand and enforce information security management system (ISMS) best practices to ensure your organization is protected.
What does an IT VA Cost?
Since IVAs can vary in skills and experience, the exact costs of obtaining a Virtual admin can also vary. However, technology staffing providers can help you estimate the cost for a specific resource. While it is not possible to present a specific number, it is estimated that Virtual Admins can reduce the cost of administration for your company between 25% to 50%, quite possibly even more.
Often IVA service providers offer multiple pricing models to give companies flexibility. The most common pricing options are monthly, quarterly, or an as-needed basis models. Solugenix, for example, offers monthly or "pay as you go" plans for its ServiceNow Virtual Administration services.
How do I Get a Virtual Admin?
IT Virtual Administrations can be found a number of ways. The easiest way to find an IVA is through a credible technology staffing partner. A professional IT staffing provider will have access to experienced professionals with specialized skills. The process of engaging in IVA services is usually straightforward and similar to a consulting engagement.
- The provider will meet with you to discuss your team’s specific needs;
- They will present a proposal with a suggested service model based on your needs;
- A Master Services Agreement (MSA) and Statement of Work (SOW) is signed;
- Upon execution of the agreements, services can begin immediately.
A professional virtual services provider will make available a Relationship/ Account Manager or Senior Manager that will stay in touch with you and the assigned VA throughout the duration of the engagement. This Relationship Manager will check in with you on a regular basis; ensure that the project is running seamlessly, and that the IVA is fulfilling the requirements as agreed.
As results-oriented workplace environments become more and more popular, and good IT talent remains scarce especially in certain geographies, organizations will continue to entertain and utilize Virtual/ Remote working arrangements. It is a model companies can no longer ignore.