You run a company within a highly competitive field. Each percentage point of productivity represents serious money. As a result, you can’t afford to spend time doing your own IT maintenance, and your business can’t tolerate downtime. So the question in your mind is, “Is it time to hire a Managed Service Provider to handle our technology?”
In this article we’ll answer:
- What is a Managed Service Provider?
- What is the Goal of Managed Services?
- What does a Managed Service Provider Do?
- What are the Benefits of Using a Managed Service Provider?
- What are the Services That a Managed Service Provider Offers?
- How to Find the Right Managed Service Provider?
Will Hiring a Managed IT Services Company Bring Value to Your Business?
There isn’t a company leader in Calgary that hasn’t thought, “I wonder if we could do this better, faster, and cheaper.”
Add “more securely” into the thought process, and you have the four reasons that companies switch from internal IT maintenance staff and outsourced break/fix IT support to Managed Service Providers.
What is Managed Services?
Managed Services is a continuous, proactive, outsourced approach to IT support and security that provides complete remote and on-site IT management, maintenance, and operational/security monitoring in return for a consistent monthly subscription payment.
What is the Goal of Managed Services?
The aim of a Managed IT Services Provider is to:
- Provide the client with a stable IT platform from which to run his/her business.
- Empower the staff of the client company with the IT support they need for answers to their questions and when needed, troubleshooting.
- Secure the client company with state-of-the-art cybersecurity protocols, hardware, and software.
- Raise the client company’s level of efficiency through IT consulting, workflow automation, and application integration.
- Strategize to make IT spending a net benefit to the client company while lowering overall IT costs and systemizing them into monthly payments.
Managed Services can be the enabler of greater competitiveness, security, and efficiency.
What Do Managed Services Providers Do?
A Managed Services Provider cares for the overall health of all the technology used by your company. The services delivered by a Managed Services Provider are usually regulated by a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which specifies the conditions under which the services will be provided. That SLA becomes a deliverables guide for both the client and the Managed Services Provider as the Managed Service Provider works remotely behind the scenes as well as in-house when required to upkeep and upgrade the client’s IT environment to best support the company’s internal processes.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Managed Service Provider?
- Reduced Operational Cost – By servicing multiple customers with the same infrastructure and staff IT service providers are able to leverage economies of scale and in turn provide customers with service plans that are cheaper than having their own internal IT department. Because contracts are based on a fixed monthly rate, it’s easier for a company to control IT spending.
- Improved Efficiency & Scalability – If your business is experiencing – or anticipating – fast growth the efficiency and scalability built into the outsourced IT support model will likely be attractive to you. Why? Because the “genetics” of the Managed Services IT support model is positioned to scale with a company seamlessly. This, of course, results in IT support and an IT environment that keeps up with your growth.
- Highly Trained Staff – Hiring and managing people is always challenging. With employees staying at companies an average of 4.2 years (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) it’s harder for HR departments to hire and retain in-house technology support professionals. Outsourcing IT support work to Managed Service Providers enables companies to take advantage of entire teams with diverse and specialized skill sets. This level of expertise is generally not available in an in-house situation except in large corporations with even larger budgets.
- Improved Business Focus – Unless you are in the IT industry, technology isn’t the source of your income, but it is essential to keep the business running. By enlisting the services of outsourced IT support personnel, companies are able to focus on their core business and dedicate more time and resources to innovation and improvement of services.
What Are The Services That A Managed Service Provider Offers?
Managed Services Providers can offer a vast array of services – depending on their specialties and niche skillsets – but some of the most common services are:
- Backup, and Data Recovery
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Service Desk & Incident Management
- IT Staffing
- Security Management
- Availability and IT Monitoring
- IT Asset Management
How To Find The Right Managed Services Provider?
When looking for the right Managed Services Provider for your business, you should conduct an extensive evaluation. After all – depending on the details of your contract with them – you are trusting them with managing part or all your IT infrastructure. On top of their work in caring for your technology, they will have direct access to sensitive internal data as they work.
When evaluating a Managed Services Provider, consider three things:
- Experience and Certifications – Each business has its trends, technology, and legal requirements. It’s not just about the technology. Find a Managed Service Provider that has proven experience in your industry. A Managed Service Provider that can provide informed IT consulting that helps you navigate both the IT pains you are now experiencing while looking to harness the IT trends that are helping your competition move ahead is a valuable partner.
Most technology vendors have certifications programs in place. These programs serve to not only validate the competencies of a professional but also the competencies of the company. So before hiring a Managed Service Provider, make sure they have certified professionals in the technologies that they are offering.
- Flexibility – No two IT environments are the same. Therefore, no managed services agreement should be either. Managed Service Providers have a standard contract with standard service level agreements. However, they should be flexible enough to accommodate any specific requirements your business may have.
Some managed service providers will offer month-to-month options while others want a year-long or multi-year contract with monthly payments. Make sure their terms match what you are looking for and that the company takes your budget and financing into account.
- Compatibility – A company – its leaders and employees – have to be comfortable with not only the managed services agreement that they enter into with an IT support company but also with the people that will be delivering the services. Take the time to meet as many people from the prospective Managed IT Support company as possible before you sign on the dotted line. How they treat you and your staff now will be an important marker as to how they respond to your instructions, complaints, or issues down the road.
At the beginning of this article, we asked the question, “Will Hiring a Managed IT Services Company Bring Value to Your Business?”
What’s the answer?
The prevailing answer is that hiring a Managed IT Services company will likely bring value to your business if the following is true:
- Your business can’t afford downtime.
- Your employees are being distracted and frustrated by constant IT issues.
- It would be disastrous for your company if your data was stolen or corrupted.
- You want to take advantage of current efficiency, productivity, and collaboration tools.
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