Although most businesses understand the benefits of outsourcing, many still eschew managed IT services for ERP. Mission critical operations are kept in-house, where (at least in theory) the business can provide a higher level of service than an outsourcing partner. But often, this approach leads to wasted internal resources, higher cost and lower performance.

Core vs. context provides an alternative vision, where businesses can focus on what makes them great, conserving resources by outsourcing IT functions to specialists. Here’s how managed IT services can help your business do its best, even better.

The managed cloud has reshaped core vs. context. Author and management consultant Geoffrey Moore discussed the core vs. context paradigm in Dealing with Darwin. Core activities are key differentiators — things that your business must do much better than your competitors. Context is all the rest. Core includes both mission critical tasks (your key value proposition) and non-mission critical tasks, such as R&D, and context has similar divisions.


Before the cloud, IT infrastructure was mission critical core in a wider range of companies. There were fewer off the shelf business solutions, so a company’s onsite IT landscape and purpose-built software could put it ahead of the pack even if it weren’t a tech company, for example, by allowing it to furnish:


  • Better configuration options
  • Quicker shipping
  • Superior customer service


With the growth of the managed cloud, these functions have moved into context. They’re still mission critical, but no longer an area of focus for most companies. Yet many companies haven’t realized the strategic importance of that change. They still underutilize IT managed services, overcommitting internal resources (such as money and onsite IT staff) to tasks like SAP basis support, which would be better served by a managed services provider.

Managed IT services must shrink the core. Although ERP has become more user-friendly, the cloud and IT infrastructure supporting it has become more complex and difficult to run. Cutting edge software like SAP HANA® requires specialists at every step, from sizing, to installing hardware and software, to performing daily administration.


If they keep these tasks onsite, most businesses are forced to make developers do double duty as Basis admins or security officers, and get trained and certified on new technologies. This diverts onsite IT from the innovative tasks they were hired to do, undermining R&D and resulting in lower security and stability.


Businesses need to apply the core vs. context paradigm to managed IT services decisions. IT managed services providers can furnish highly-skilled, specialized teams to run mission critical context tasks like hosting, disaster recovery/high availability and administration. That saves money, improves performance and lets companies focus on key differentiators.


Managed IT services give your company more control. We believe the role of an IT managed services partner is to function as an extension of your internal IT team. Symmetry empowers companies by building and maintaining IT solutions tailored to their needs and specifications. That lets your talent spend less time struggling with the context tasks that keep your infrastructure healthy, secure and compliant, and more time focusing on the core services that keep you ahead of the competition


Contact us to learn how Symmetry can empower your core.

About Kevin Knuese - Vice President of SAP Solutions

As Vice President of SAP Solutions, Kevin Knuese leads Symmetry’s SAP Cloud Hosting and SAP HANA solution development efforts. After decades of problem solving within the IT world, Knuese provides strategic leadership to help navigate the complex world of SAP application management for Symmetry’s valued customers. Working shoulder to shoulder with our customers’ executive management team, Knuese assess business requirements to ensure the IT infrastructure in place is meeting the enterprise needs, while providing operational guidance to leverage emerging technologies. Knuese ensures Symmetry customers are delivered tailored enterprise cloud solutions that are expertly managed, with state-of-the art security and built in scalability to grow as our customers’ businesses grow. He is a sought after thought leader and can be frequently seen presenting on the main stage at leading edge IT conferences in the U.S. and around the world.