Looking into the next three to five years, I can guarantee only a few things. Enterprise IT operations will become more complex, CIOs will carry a greater burden to drive innovation and growth, and managed services will become a mainstream solution.

Five years ago, cost reduction was the reason to let someone else manage all or part of the network. Adoption has been steady but still only sits at about 30%. Today, we’re looking at managed services as the way to let CIOs focus on innovative ways to drive revenue, improve the customer experience and nudge past the competition.

The way I see it, when tech leaders put their powers to work on business strategy, they will push their organizations in directions that the other leaders cannot foresee. Freeing them from IT management to innovation is the real value of a managed services model. A CIO who understands the digital ecosystem will bring forward breakthrough mobile, cloud and big data strategies. We’ll see better corporate performance.

And given what I know about IT leaders, they’re not going to be simple ideas. They will demand agility, real-time performance, scalability, flexibility and high volumes. Add the specter of security, and it will be essential to put IT management in the hands of a team with the dedicated expertise and capability.

We will also see better performance from managed services providers, as they take a more proactive approach to maintaining and managing systems, so problems are fewer and farther between and glitches less significant. They’re already specialists, better at managing complex environments than in-house teams, and will rise to the challenges handed to them by their increasingly progressive, innovative partners.

At the same time, CIOs and their teams will become better at something else. Something more impressive to the board.

What’s your appetite for managed services? Skeptical about cost savings?

Concerned you’ll lose control of your IT operations? Worried about security?

Or are you ready to fully engage your IT leaders’ in business strategy?