Many companies that were in operation before the rise of personal computers have had a haphazard approach to their technology needs, employing the skills of an accountant who is “good with computers” or an owner’s son or daughter. Gone are the days when these do-it-yourself solutions are sufficient to keep a complex office environment up and running. If you want things done right, you should turn to the experts; call Mankato Computer Repair to set up an assessment for your organization.
Most business owners have made peace with the fact that information technology is an integral part of commerce in the 21st century. All businesses need to make decisions regarding how much to invest in different technological solutions and when. As organizations grow, their need for support and expertise also expands and the response to this need is one of two things: either hire an IT professional for internal work within the organization, or outsource IT work to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). What are the pros and cons of outsourcing, versus maintaining an internal IT staff?
Here are the findings comparing having internal IT staff versus managed IT:
· Outsourcing is cheaper—There are many aspects of outsourcing to a MSP that are less expensive than employing full time internal IT staff. One reason for this is that when outsourcing IT, an organization saves on HR costs and resources, as well as employee benefits.
· Costs Scale With a Managed Service Company—A MSP will bill according to how much support is needed for a particular organization. This prevents a situation where a full time employee is spending their day without anything to do, waiting for a system or a computer to break down or have a problem.
· Rent A Team—When a company is relying on one or two internal IT employees, they can be very difficult to oversee. How does one judge the performance or efficacy of the employees if their supervisor does not understand the technical aspects of the job? A team of people from an IT company allows you to have access to people with different specializations; solutions experts, support experts, managed service experts and account managers.
· The Training Problem—When a company first trains in an internal IT employee, who is responsible for training them? For setting job expectations? If an internal IT employee quits or is terminated unexpectedly, it can be very difficult to maintain continuity and ensure security moving forward, especially if the departing IT employee is not around to train in a new one.
· Better Customer Service—The key word here is “customer.” A vendor to customer relationship is reliant upon the vendor striving to keep the customer happy. By and large, Managed IT companies are incentivized to go above and beyond to please their clients, whereas an internal employee may have incentive not to rock the boat and do the bare minimum just to keep the lights on.
What You Get with an Internal IT Department
With an internal IT department, you get direct control over your own employees or, in some cases, a single IT employee. That employee becomes your go-to person for technical and network issues. You’ll probably include them in any business meeting that involves software, network security, or major technology changes at your company.
Being the “IT guy” is an important role, but after your internal IT department cleans up your network, they’ll switch modes and address IT issues as needed. If your IT department is staffed with Network Engineers, they’re going to get tired of running a help desk pretty quickly.
What’s more, your IT department is under your leadership and they know your systems inside and out, but they can’t be completely objective. They may dissuade you from investing in more efficient technology if they think it could jeopardize their jobs. They may even spend downtime building unnecessary complexities into your network, all in an effort to fill time and justify their position.
Of course, the biggest challenge with an hiring internally is the cost.
Costs of an Internal IT Department
Most organizations view their IT department as a cost center, and not without good reason. It can be difficult to draw a line between your company’s revenue and a large investment in internal IT resources. Everyone knows that network security is important, but it doesn’t always translate when you’re trying to justify the costs.
In other words, it’s always a good idea to invest in robust IT resources but keeping it all in-house may not be sustainable for your company.
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for an Information Technology Manager is about $84,000 per year. Even if you eschew hiring a manager and only bring in a single, low-level IT professional, their salary will be about $52,000 per year, according to the same source.
That’s quite a cost for a single person, and a single person may not be able to handle your IT requirements on their own. This doesn’t take benefits (add 10%-15% more), certifications, sick days, vacation time, and turnover into account, either.
When you hire a new IT person, you need to decide who is going to train them and set aside the requisite time. It could take many months or even years before they are fully capable.
Then, you must consider the risks of turnover. If that IT person leaves your company, you will have invested immeasurable hours on them only to start the process all over again. This creates a significant burden on your company in terms of both costs and productivity.
If you include the prices of the tools, equipment, and software your IT department will need to do its job, the cost multiplies even further.
Even for just a few internal IT employees, you’re potentially looking at several hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of training every year.
IT may be a cost of doing business, but it doesn’t have to be a drain on your resources. In fact, it could help you drive growth and increase productivity. You can often get better results for less cost by outsourcing your IT needs.
What You Get with an Outsourced IT Department
When you outsource IT, you get complete control over costs. Instead of fluctuating expenditures month after month, you pay a set fee that can fit right into your expenses. You’ll save on software acquisition, overhead, and turnover as well.
Instead of dedicating valuable employee time to IT issues, your staff can focus more on business-critical tasks. If IT isn’t part of your core business model, you can think less about IT and more about your real goals. Outsourcing frees up time at your organization, minimizing risk and enabling your employees to be more productive.
You also won’t have to worry about any of your network engineers getting bored because they’ve been made to run a help desk.
One of the most understated benefits of outsourcing is that you get access to the most up-to-date technology. For example, any IT company worth your time will provide you with tools like remote monitoring and management, offsite backups, and a ticketing system. These are all things you’d have to buy yourself if you hired internally.
And finally, you get instant access to a team of IT experts who are ready to go to work. After onboarding, there’s no need for extensive training and certification. You won’t have to focus on attracting the best talent and filling in the gaps of their education.
Comparing the Two Options
It’s not uncommon for companies to hire someone to handle day-to-day IT operations for them. Small and medium-sized businesses usually can’t afford to hire an entire team. Instead, they choose a special someone who can handle a bit of everything. This person may know a bit about networking and helpdesk support – but they’re far from a master in the field.
· Developing a deep internal knowledge of the company’s infrastructure and specific needs
· Immediate support when you need it
· Higher personnel costs (salaries, raises, benefits, office supplies, training, and taxes)
· Knowledge residing with one person who can leave whenever they want
· Limited experience and/or knowledge of best practices and technology advances
· Possible overtime charges for after-hours emergencies
Many companies prefer to get their IT support from a third-party source. They typically deliver their services at a lower cost while providing a greater quality of work. In other words, partnering with a managed service provider yields many more benefits than having in-house IT support.
· Access to teams of industry experts and specialists at no extra cost
· Flat, stable, monthly rate of service that’s easier to budget around
· 24/7 availability to provide support for your organization
· Legally binding SLA to guarantee uptime and quality of service
· Shared access to modern technologies, software, and hardware to stay competitive
· Electronic issue management systems for efficient monitoring, reporting and resolution
· Finding the right MSP to work with takes time and effort
· Diversity of service delivery options can seem complex and confusing
· Limited on-site availability
More Pros and Cons of Hiring Full Time IT Staff
· You have complete control over who does what when the IT support comes from within your staff. You also have someone completely immersed in your corporate culture.
· Someone is on-site to help during your business hours. This is an advantage if something needs to be physically repaired or if you have people on your team who immediately want someone in their office to resolve their problems.
· This is the way to go if you aren’t willing to experience any disruptions from transitioning to a managed services provider. While reputable service providers should be able to move you into their model with very little noticeable disruption, this will depend on who you hire and what you bring them in to do.
· For some SMBs, the costs for a qualified professional can be prohibitive.
· It is almost impossible to find a single Network Administrator who is proficient in everything you need for your computer environment. If you do find this person, their salary likely isn’t affordable.
· You may have to sacrifice one level of expertise for another. If you hire someone with management skills, you’re likely to get less hand-on expertise from them (ie their not likely to crawl under someone’s desk to fix a connectivity issue). On the other hand, if you hire a hands-on person, they are unlikely to contribute at a strategic level to your IT needs.
· You have to find work-arounds for vacation or after-hours support when your IT staffer isn’t available.
· The IT industry has high turn-over so you may have to recruit, replace, and train new IT staff frequently.
More Pros and Cons of IT Support Outsourcing
· Depending on the nature of your contract, the costs can be considerably lower.
· Many of the software and tool costs for moving to a cloud platform are included in a managed services monthly contract. This itself can be a significant cost savings.
· Managed services providers have a broad scope of expertise on staff. They can offer expertise for everything from high-level strategic decision making about your IT infrastructure to setting up the network and computers for a new office. Because they work with many other businesses, they will have seen and solved most of the problems you are likely to encounter.
· Someone is always on top of everything. Patches are done on time, backups aren’t missed or forgotten, security is managed, and everything is tested on an ongoing basis.
· They stay on top of technology and can often make experienced recommendations about software and applications for your business. Most managed services providers invest time and money in keeping on top of what’s new and what works.
· You can use your managed services provider to supplement your IT staff. For example, if you have a great hands-on person who does the day-to-day troubleshooting for your staff, you can bring in extra support for security and backup, general maintenance like patch management, or strategic decisions and planning.
· 24/7 support is offered by most companies so you can get support when you need it.
· Unknown costs for “break-fix” model contracts can be a concern. A managed IT contract that includes a fixed monthly fee lets you better plan your IT budget.
· Managed service providers are not physically located in your office, so if something requires a physical presence to fix, they would have to dispatch someone to your location.
· Some companies are concerned about the lack of a relationship with their managed services provider or are concerned that they’ll have to work with a new person each time they reach out for support. That isn’t always the case however. Some firms – like ours – assign each company an account manager who is your primary point of contact, and try to build consistency into the technicians who work on your account.
· Trust can be a concern as you’re giving an outside firm access to your data and networks. This is why it’s important to find a reputable firm who takes a professional approach to managing your account.
Asking Yourself: Internal vs External IT Management?
Who is your “IT” expert among your employees? If you are a small business, it’s likely to be a tech-savvy young person. Or perhaps the sales director. Or even the office manager. They have other duties, but they are forced to take time away from these duties when a technical issue occurs.
Managed Service Providers vs In-House IT Administrators
The foundation of a successful business is effective decision-making. From operational decisions that are made on a day-to-day basis and tactical decisions which are undertaken by mid-level managers to strategic decisions that are executed by members of top management, it is imperative to weigh the cost and benefits of any option before making a decision that can impact productivity and the bottom line.
In an increasingly competitive corporate arena where minimizing expenses, boosting revenues and streamlining processes are crucial, companies are often faced with a critical question — Is it better to employ an in-house IT team or subscribe to the services of a managed service provider (MSP) to address the organization’s IT needs?
The Two Sides of In-House IT
The question of managed services vs in-house is not a new one. With the rise of MSPs, firms now have a wide array of options to choose from when looking to shortlist a company that aligns with their requirements. As a start, having an in-house IT team has its pros and cons which should be fully evaluated.
Reasons to Opt for In-House IT
If you are ready to explore the reasons why you should have your own in-house IT team, here are the advantages that it can offer your company:
· Perhaps the biggest benefit of going with in-house IT is the availability of immediate support when the organization needs it. From handling issues of moderate severity to the management of a major crisis, an in-house IT division will remain vigilant and maintain the shortest possible response times.
· A specialized IT team that has been employed by an organization will develop a deep knowledge of the firm’s internal infrastructure and systems. This allows IT employees to become better equipped at troubleshooting in comparison with an outsourced team that may not have the same level of expertise.
· Opting for in-house IT gives you peace of mind. Though there are a number of reliable MSPs available, having to depend on an external party to meet your requirements could be hit or miss.
· When the stakes are high, some corporations would find it more preferable to have absolute control over their IT needs rather than outsourcing help.
Reasons to Opt Against In-House IT
Choosing an in-house IT team can also have its share of disadvantages, which are noted as follows:
· Managing expenses is an uphill climb. In an era of cutthroat competition, an in-house IT team may not be feasible given the high personnel costs that are associated with it.
· Sick leave and vacation days can hamper productivity, and finding the staff to stand in as replacements for employees in these cases can be costly.
· Cost limitations can also mean that your organization may not be able to implement best practices as compared to an MSP.
· Smaller companies may become overly reliant on one IT employee—and that person’s departure could lead to complications.
Advantages of Managed Services
· The biggest advantage of managed services (which essentially inspires other benefits) is that MSPs are specialized entities, which have the ultimate goal of supporting your IT needs.
· Once you hire an MSP, you can be expected to receive a wide array of services with a broader skill base, the promise of 24/7 client support, and the assurance of quality service as outlined in the Service Level Agreement.
· Apart from paying the fee for the agreed-upon services, you do not have to be concerned about incurring extra expenses due to staff training, certifications, or investing in tools such as ticket systems and RMM.
· Replacing an MSP is easier than replacing an in-house IT team if the level of service doesn’t meet your requirements or expectations.
Disadvantages of Managed Services
· Even though you have an assortment of options available when choosing an MSP that fits your needs, finding the perfect match could require more time than expected.
· The lack of on-site availability may often translate into longer response times, which could be problematic in emergencies.
· An MSP may also not be the right fit for your company if you want full control over your IT infrastructure.
What’s the Right Mix of In-House vs Managed IT Services
For most companies, using a managed IT services provider to handle at least a portion of their IT needs can be beneficial. Even if it’s something as simple as helpdesk support, working with a trusted partner can provide you with the operational resources you need to handle other tasks for which your staff are better suited. In order to determine the best balance of in-house vs outsourced IT services, you’ll need to examine your organization’s needs against the pros and cons of both methods.
Benefits of In-House IT
With an in-house IT team, you can ensure that they have the training needed to handle your company’s specific requirements. They’ll also be consistently available. This is especially valuable if they provide a niche function that requires a specific skillset.
Additionally, by using an in-house team, you can make sure that you hang onto star performers that enable you to succeed in the marketplace through their experience and skillset.
Finally, no one will know your business as well as you do. Whether it’s IT support or a complex project, you’ll never find a partner that knows you as well as you do.
Drawbacks of In-House IT
The biggest and most pressing concerns when it comes to in-house IT talent is the immense cost required to support it. You need to find people with a specific set of skills, who require constant training, since the world of IT is ever evolving. That’s not cheap, as the skills needed are in high demand, so these staff command a higher wage.
Not only that, you also need to have enough IT professionals to be able to pursue your required activities. Whether it’s projects or simple support, you need to have enough people to get things done. This means that, in slow periods, you’ll have resources that aren’t productive if you want to be able to work properly in busier times.
There is also the time it takes to post jobs, interview candidates, and train them once hired. All aspects of this can be quite time-intensive and distract from your primary business.
Benefits of Managed IT Services
Whether it’s for ongoing helpdesk support or a complex software project, there are many benefits to outsourcing some segments of your business to a trusted managed IT services provider. One of the key benefits of managed services vs in house is that you can rely on an experienced team to handle challenges that may take your internal teams longer to solve. This is extremely valuable, as there are often times when you’ll need a specific skill to overcome a hurdle, and then not need it again for some time.
In addition, when you outsource, you can save a significant amount of money on ongoing support. Not only do managed IT services companies use their own tools and resources, meaning you don’t need to provide supplies such as laptops, they also charge a fixed rate. This means that you’ll have predictable costs working with a managed IT services provider throughout the life of the relationship. As a result, you can easily and painlessly scale your program with the provider when you need to, without incurring hiring and training costs.
With remote monitoring and maintenance, managed services are a good option if your business has remote offices or locations. This prevents the constant travel and trips away from your main office it would take internal IT to maintain your remote IT environments at the same level.
Finally, managed IT services providers generally have more expertise and innovative techniques than in-house staff. In fact, 35% of businesses already value the innovation their outsourcing relationships bring. They’ve worked on many different projects in a variety of industries and, as a result, have developed much more experience adapting to a range of requirements.
Drawbacks of Managed IT Services
While there are significant benefits to working with a managed IT services provider, there are also some drawbacks. First and foremost, without a significantly developed working relationship, your provider will not be able to know your organization as well as you do. This means that they’ll have less ability to predict changes and issues. There can be cultural or communication issues between the managed IT services provider and your business. As a result, you’ll need to spend the time to find one that meshes with the way you work.
The onboarding process at the start of a managed services partnership can also take some time as all the monitoring tools are put in place and your systems are brought up to a level that they can be easily managed. This causes some extra work initially but significantly reduces the number of technology issues you will have going forward.
What’s the Right Mix Between the Two
Ultimately, there’s no one correct way to split the two for all industries and companies. There will always be exceptions to every rule. However, there are a few general recommendations on the split that will help you succeed when deciding to outsource.
First, in most cases outsource management of your standard applications and infrastructure. This will vary from industry to industry, but whatever tasks your IT personnel undergo that are taking up their time while also being common to most businesses is a great candidate to be outsourced. This type of work is generally lower risk and will be able to be completed consistently and effectively by managed IT services providers. Additionally, this allows your team to focus on more strategic tasks, like planning your technology roadmap for future upgrades, resulting in more employee satisfaction and a better use of the rising IT budgets.
Secondly, keep big company-wide initiatives and core technologies in-house. These projects and technologies tend to require input from many different key people, along with shifts to accommodate evolving needs. As a result, you’ll want whoever handles it to be able to perfectly align with the culture. Examples of core technologies would be fundraising applications for non-profits, claims systems for insurance companies, specific point of sale (POS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, or anything else that your primary services/products are managed by. In this case, use the staff you have and augment them with contractors with key skills if needed. The exception to this is if you find a trusted IT service provider that specializes in your industry and has experience working with your core technologies and you are looking to fully outsource your IT.
Additionally, always consider the unique needs of your business. Things constantly change, and no one will ever know your business the way you do. That’ll impact what you choose to outsource and what you will want to keep in-house. If IT is an important part of your business delivery with many custom elements, it probably makes sense to keep it in-house. If you struggle to manage your IT team and are constantly needing to resolve issues in your environment, a managed service provider can provide stability and consistency in service levels.
No matter how much or what you choose to outsource, always ensure you work with a trusted managed IT services provider.
Partner with a managed IT services company that has the experience needed to enable your success in anything and everything IT. We work closely with our clients to complete their projects, provide top-notch support, and protect them from disaster and cyber threats, just to name a few. Contact us to work with a team that’ll propel you forward and allow you to plan for the changing technology landscape.
One of the greatest challenges among small business owners today is making the decision about IT support and maintenance of the information system; whether to hire an in-house IT tech or to outsource IT support for their business. With the relatively recent availability of Managed Services for small business, the list of choices – and decisions – has grown once again.
Self-managed IT Support:
According to PayScale.com, the national median income for an in-house IT tech is currently running at a bit over $40,000 per year, with the upper end of that range reaching nearly $60,000 annually. For more experienced technicians, the median pay rate is above $46,000 annually, with the upper range much closer to $65,000 yearly. These pay ranges include salary, bonuses, and profit sharing for in-house employees, but do not include benefits, such as health insurance.
If we choose a salary of $45,000 for the purpose of this comparison, we must then add benefits, sick pay, vacation time, and your annual payroll tax. These will total approximately $13,000 a year. Purchasing an IT Management System application could easily set you back by $1000, plus training in the new application, which would likely cost about $2500 per user. The total for one-time expenses will range from $3500 to $10,000, depending on the number of user desktops involved. Total cost of salary and benefits for your new IT specialist would be about $58,000 per year, though it could be more.
Outsourcing your IT Support:
For many small business owners, outsourcing their IT support needs may seem extravagant due to the hourly rate that such companies charge. However, this type of support can be extremely cost-effective because of the expertise being purchased, the experience the techs who visit are able to offer, and the backup provided by the team that supports them. Further, as a small business owner, you should easily be able to budget for the monthly expense, based on the system evaluation and recommendations of the company you employ as your IT support team.
A responsible IT support company will always begin with an objective assessment of your information system, along with recommendations for the work they will perform to meet your needs. In other words, they will not “pad” the bill, but will only perform the tasks you request of them. This can greatly reduce the cost of IT support for your small business, rather than hiring an in-house tech and paying an annual salary, as discussed above.
Beyond this, a reputable IT support company will guarantee the expertise of the tech they send you. The tech will also possess a great deal more experience than an employee, as they deal with a variety of systems every day. In most cases, there will be little they have not seen, which will allow them to handle your specific needs more efficiently. Further, they will most likely assign a particular technician to your account, someone who will visit you regularly, allowing them to become intimately familiar with your information system and the needs of your business, and with whom you will build a relationship of trust over time.
Best of all, your service will always be hands-on, with a live human being in place to answer your questions.
The cost of this type of support can vary greatly, depending upon the age and number of servers and desktops being used in your organization. However, you will usually be able to save money by purchasing blocks of time in advance and only using the hours purchased on as as-needed basis. For the average small business, you should probably budget for something between $1000 and $2500 per month, a vast savings over hiring an in-house IT tech.
Main Reasons to Choose Managed Services IT Support:
With remote monitoring of your small business information system now available 24/7, 365, this option has become one of the more cost-effective and appealing choices among small business owners in today’s marketplace. For a flat rate monthly fee, business owners and IT managers can now purchase pro-active monitoring and maintenance of servers, desktops, and remote machines being used by their company. In addition to this, a business may also subscribe to this type of service in a graduated, piecemeal fashion; perhaps beginning with managed antivirus protection, then gradually adding email monitoring for spam and continuity, email archiving, desktop monitoring, mobile device monitoring, online data backup services, and more.
By using such a service, your small business will find it very easy to budget for them. Because of the flat rate subscription fee you will pay each month, there will be no budget-busting surprises. As each of the managed services you’re using begins to save you money, by reducing system downtime and increasing productivity, you’ll be able to add another layer of protection, without having to invest in expensive an all-in-one package.
The most important benefit of a managed services program is that it is fully automated and never rests. The system is working on your behalf 24/7, 365, monitoring and maintaining your information system even while you sleep. You will also receive notification of impending problems, allowing you to intervene before your system goes down.
Once again, the cost of a managed services package for your small business will have a number of determining factors. Beginning with the age of your equipment and software, as well as the number of machines and users, to the selection of the various management and maintenance services to which you subscribe, these will determine the monthly cost of your choices. A la carte services may begin for as little as $2-$15 per month per machine, and range upward from there. For the average small business, your monthly cost may range from $500 to $2000 per month for ‘round-the-clock protection of your information system, data, and workstations. You should consult with an IT support provider for more information on a managed services package features and costs.
IT Support Service Packages
For most of our Denver small business clients, a combination of outsourcing their IT support to us, along with one of our proactive managed services packages has been the ultimate solution to their IT needs. This type of cost-effective combination of support services has provided them expert IT support when needed on-site, as well as the 24 hour protection of their information system that they need for their peace of mind. “It’s good to sleep again at night!” they tell us.
If this information has been helpful, and you would like to know more about how Managed Services and IT support service packages from North Star could benefit you and your business, the IT experts at North Star are here to help you with all of your Denver IT support needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your IT service request for help with your operating system, apps, servers, VoIP system or any other IT issues you may have.
Focus on Your Core Competencies and Running Your Business
A managed IT provider can take 100% control of your IT environment. Which means you don’t have to spend your precious time fighting technology fires and directing the IT department to have a strategic focus on business goals. A managed IT firm becomes the expert, ensuring your technology needs are met and that technology continually propels your business forward.
Return on Investment and Risk Reduction is Greater
With an IT provider, your company has access to the collective experience of a team of IT professionals with specific and in-depth qualifications, industry training and up-to-date certifications. Additionally, multiple dedicated resources are available to you with superior technical expertise and experience to call upon for solutions using industry best practices. Being at the forefront of technology policy, managed service providers also provide early notifications of government regulatory compliance. For example, organizations that require a VMWare expert might only require the specialist for twenty hours per year. These individuals are expensive to hire in-house and may be difficult to locate. With SysGen, you’ll always have access to the required expert whenever needed and, depending on the situation, it could be included in the monthly service cost you already pay.
Customized IT Strategy for Business Goals and Growth
Managed IT providers analyze your business objectively. What are your business goals? How should technology serve your business? What solutions provide the greatest productivity at the least cost over a fixed term? Utilizing a managed service provider should not be about an ad-hoc, break-fix approach to technology, where the sole goal is to fix a printer or reboot a computer. The relationship should be about using IT strategically to achieve business goals and ensure productivity is guaranteed and amplified.
Access to a Variety of IT Services
Being technology experts, IT organizations understand what customers need and develop the IT services required to serve these needs. For example, SysGen developed the SysGen Atmosphere understanding that small and medium businesses needed a cloud solution for their specific business operations. Understanding the desire of businesses to move away from on-site physical servers to a cloud environment they feel comfortable with served as the motivation for developing SysGen’s cloud offering. Understanding that businesses also want access to services they might not normally have at a small scale, such as two-factor authentication and dashboard monitoring, are additional IT services managed service companies can provide.
Technology innovation is guaranteed when working with an IT organization because of their focus on being the leading technology expert in the marketplace. With technical experts surrounding themselves with cutting-edge information regularly, clients benefit by having the latest and greatest technologies implemented. And, they aren’t responsible for paying to train their own employees internally.
Reduce and Control Operating Costs
Having a full-time technician on staff, or an entire internal IT department has significant costs associated with it. Keeping an IT employee employed includes salary, benefits, training, absence and coverage, not to mention hiring due to turnover. With a managed service provider, consistent service is provided without the additional costs associated with maintaining key personnel.
Predictable Monthly Budget
Budgets are negotiated with an IT provider and additional costs are discussed prior to implementation. Therefore, IT costs are a stable entity that can be easily tracked and understood.
Detailed Documentation of Your Current IT Infrastructure Network
It’s important to have an inventory of infrastructure to ensure hardware and software are serving your company optimally. With outdated technology, productivity decreases and security vulnerabilities increase. Documenting your infrastructure ensures your IT experience is optimized for your business and continues to improve over the years.
Your business benefits from the relationships IT managed service providers build with software and hardware vendors. Procurement services enable bulk purchasing and leasing options (hardware, software, etc.) freeing you from the due diligence and time-consuming exercise of sourcing the best vendors and suppliers. Additionally, these established relationships ensure you’re receiving the best value the marketplace offers because you’re leveraging the buying power the IT service provider has established with the manufacturer.
Service Level Agreement’s (SLA’s) ensure accountability where commitment to service excellence is outlined and enforced. Technical experts on site and behind the scenes guarantee that a certain level of technology experience is delivered, and should this be violated, it is clear that a contractual obligation has been broken leading to appropriate measures.
Before any IT issues arise, service providers detect potential issues through the use of active monitoring software. It quickly informs them of potential problems that need to be addressed.
This proactive planning guarantees minimal downtime, both when it comes to fixing issues or upgrading IT systems and components.
Which Type of Support Should You Use?
When companies decide on which type of IT solution they prefer to go with, managing operational costs typically is the deciding factor on whether they choose managed IT services or break-fix methods.
Keeping Up with the Times
Years ago, break-fix models were an elegant solution to handling the needs of a company. Modern infrastructures and advanced technologies demand a more proactive approach to the management of your IT support.
By switching to managed IT services, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with advanced system maintenance, system planning, and 24/7 monitoring of your day-to-day operations.
Give Yourself Time to Focus on the Business
Rather than focusing on how to protect yourself against ransomware attacks, you should be focusing your attention on your business and what you need to do to succeed.
Handing over your IT to a managed service provider means you don’t need to think about training employees on new software or processes. Instead, you can focus any additional training on professional development that will help your business succeed.
It also means you don’t have to worry about whether you’re compliant and whether your back-ups are done correctly and according to timelines. You’ll also never have to learn about, and keep updated on, industry best practices.
Make Your IT Team More Effective
Your IT team likely gets overwhelmed with requests to help with log-in issues, resolve user problems and fix malfunctioning equipment. When your IT team is sidetracked by these menial tasks, they are unable to focus on their core responsibilities. They’re also unproductive.
When you invest in a managed IT service provider, your employees can perform the job they were hired for and focus on more important tasks.
Any investment you make is a risk. But non-compliance with government regulation and not properly securing your data is a much larger risk.
In the wake of the collapse of Enron, every business should be concerned with compliance. Keeping up to date with changing technologies, markets, software, licensing and regulation can be overwhelming. A managed service provider does all that for you.
A service provider will ensure that your information is backed up and stored correctly, ensuring you have all the data you need, securing that data and saving both physical space and storage space on your networks.
Get an Excellent ROI
There is little risk in outsourcing, especially considering the ROI.
Not only do you save costs on salaries of full-time IT employees and their benefits, you also save on hardware, maintenance and space costs. All while becoming more productive and efficient.
In addition, the IBM study mentioned previously showed that businesses who outsourced IT saw a return on their investment within six months. Their overall ROI of 224% was realized in just three years.
Invest in New Revenue and Marketing Strategies
High ROI and saving time and money give your business new financial and operational resources to pursue new revenue streams as well as marketing strategies. You can take the time and money saved and reinvest those resources into new product lines or services, expand your inventory, and grow your business.
You’ll also have more money to increase your marketing budget. Marketing is key to the success of any business and freeing up more funding to invest in promoting your business can have a big impact on your sales.
Keep Your Data Secure
The security of your data and the data you store for your clients should be at the top of your mind. An investment in good security can be as simple as outsourcing IT.
An IT department that isn’t using industry best practices, not keeping updated or simply overwhelmed by other tasks, can lead to a breach in your security that will be difficult to overcome. In the first half of 2017 alone, cyber attacks stole or lost over 2 billion data records.
Breaches in your security can compromise the financial and personal data of clients as well as trade secrets and confidential information. It affects your clients trust in you as well as your ability to create unique products and services.
Managed IT providers use secure technologies and processes like penetration testing to protect your data. Their systems are far more difficult to penetrate and you can assure your clients that you’re doing the best job you can to protect them.
Thanks to the subscription model that most managed IT service providers use, you can stay flexible with the services that you outsource.
When the market is slow, you can downgrade services. As your business grows, your managed service provider can scale with you.
This flexibility also means your employees don’t have to worry about whether their job is on the line. It saves you from having to let people go in economic downtimes too.
Engage with Experts in Your Business
Not all managed IT service providers are created equal. Firms typically specialize in specific industries or businesses.
IT service providers are therefore experts in your industry or business. They know your typical technical needs, the best software to use, what data you need to save and what can be deleted, among other best practices specific to your business.
More than just an IT service provider, in this regard they can offer advice on how to make processes more efficient. They may also bring experience and knowledge from different but related industries and offer insights you didn’t even know you needed.
Move to Cloud-Based
Cloud-based services are beneficial to businesses of all sizes and at any stage in business development. The cloud puts everything you and your employees need in a space that you can access from anywhere, at any time. You no longer have to be in the office to access what you need.
Improve Customer Service
You already know that outsourcing IT to managed service providers will make your staff more productive and efficient. With more time to focus on their role and less time dealing with tech issues, they can provide better customer service to the client.
You clients can trust that you keep their data and information safe and the chance that IT problems interrupt their service is minimized.
Choosing A Managed IT Service Provider
The benefits of outsourcing IT to a managed IT service provider are many. With a high ROI, low-risk investment, you can save yourself time and money. Those savings can then be reinvested into your businesses to help you grow your products and services and increase your profits.
As businesses learn more about how outsourced IT can help them succeed, the number of service providers grows. Check out our expert IT management solutions for a selection of services that are tailored to your industry and support your specific needs.
Managed Services vs. In-house IT: Who comes out on top?
Working on cars can be quite the challenge. If you’ve got a project car that you’re hoping to get up and running, you probably want to control every aspect of what goes into it. From the engine to the tail lights, you’re willing to tackle every project head-on without any external help.
Until you get stuck on a problem that you’re not equipped to handle.
When you hit a brick wall, you can keep trying to fix the issue by yourself – which can be extremely frustrating. Or, you have the option to take your car to a master mechanic that can easily fix the issue for you.
It’s not unlike running your company. When you need IT support, what’s your best option for support? Most businesses have two distinct choices; either hire an in-house IT support employee (the DIY fix), or partner with a managed service provider (the master mechanic).
Though both options have their own pros and cons, one comes out on top for growing organizations that want to stay ahead of the curve.
The Winner: Managed Services
Managed services are recommended for meeting the needs of most modern, growing organizations. 72% of SMB decision makers say that technology solutions can help them significantly improve business outcomes and/or run the business better.
However, that’s not to say that in-house IT departments should be completely replaced. Combining the knowledge of in-house IT with the expertise of outsourced MSPs creates a symbiotic relationship that ends up benefitting the business.
Of course, companies need to focus on choosing the right MSP to partner with. They need to understand the overall direction of the company, as well as their immediate needs, to meet their technology goals.
If you’d like to learn more about Continuity Centers and how we can help you better your business, reach out to us. We’ve helped countless businesses reach their goals through our IT support, and we’d love to help you too.
The in-house vs outsourcing IT riddle can be tough to solve. However, it should be noted that these options are not mutually exclusive. You can choose to have an in-house IT team and outsource a segment of your IT division or bring an MSP on board if your help desk volume gets too high or if more manpower is needed when local team members are on vacation or sick leave. In some cases, IT personnel may feel threatened if the company chooses an MSP— but dedicated professionals who are committed to quality work should not feel threatened, and may welcome the decision to add the resources an MSP offers.
However, when considering the downtime risks and long-term costs associated with break-fix IT models, the vast majority of people prefer to switch to managed IT services.
Although you’re making an investment in one form or another, having a customized solution in place for managing and maintaining your company’s infrastructure is extremely valuable. Managed IT services ensure that your IT infrastructure is running at full capacity and driving maximum productivity with minimal or zero downtime.
In short, managed IT services are absolutely critical for any organization wishing to scale its business model and achieve success.