DBA Outsourcing Has Strong Service Record, Few Takers

September, 2014

Database administration outsourcing can reduce costs and many customers find service is good, but the strategy is not widely embraced. Only about 37% of IT organizations make use of this form of outsourcing, according to our study.

As shown in Figure 1 from our study, Database Administration Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience, the outsourcing of this function earns a low rating, meaning the percentage of organizations availing themselves of these services is low when compared with the outsourcing of 10 other commonly outsourced IT functions in the study.

ITOutsourcing Fig 1 - DBA Outsourcing Has Strong Service Record, Few Takers

The outsourcing level, however, is moderate. That means that among organizations that outsource the database administration function, the percentage of the total workload being outsourced falls within the middle of the range of the outsourcing levels of all functions in the study.

The next two profile items, net growth trend and volatility, highlight the current trend among organizations that are outsourcing the function. The net growth trend ranks low. The net growth trend is the number of customers that plan to increase the amount of database administration work given to outside service providers, minus the percentage that plan to decrease the amount of work outsourced. In relative terms, the outsourcing of this function is growing slower than the outsourcing of most other IT functions.

The volatility is a measure of the percentage of organizations changing the amount of work they outsource, regardless of whether the change is up or down. There is moderate change in outsourcing this function. Some customers are contemplating changing their current level database administration outsourcing.

The final two profile items, cost success and service success, describe the experience customers have with outsourcing this function relative to other IT functions. We find IT organizations experience a moderate level of success in lowering costs when outsourcing database administration services. At the same time, the percentage of organizations that find outsourcing improves service is high.

Overall the profile suggests that, from a customer experience perspective, remote database administration service providers deliver value but are nevertheless failing to gain new customers or penetrate deeper into accounts—at least when compared with providers of other IT services.

Database administration outsourcing provides supplemental expertise for the maintenance and support of operational databases, often outside normal business hours. A remote database service provider on the most basic level monitors and maintains the operations of an organization’s database or databases (known as instances), and ensures that critical parameters are maintained and performance goals met. Remote database administrators react to negative situations, such as database alerts, and attempt to resolve database problems.

Generally, database administration outsourcing does not include code development or application maintenance. Most remote work is performed off-site, although supplemental on-site database personnel can be employed. In addition, most database administration outsourcing involves monitoring database instances running in either the client’s data center or a third-party data center, although some database service firms provide complete outsourcing services, including hosting their clients’ database systems.

To help IT executives understand their options, the full study examines adoption trends in database administration outsourcing. We report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing database administration (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present success rates for the customer’s cost and service experience. Finally, we show how these trends differ by organization size and sector.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Database Administration Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).