For years, businesses would use the break/fix model to deal with their IT, but more and more people are switching to a managed IT service provider. If you’re considering your options, then read up on the key benefits of making the switch right here in this article.
When it comes to executing a corporate strategy, the single biggest problem that businesses face is how to focus people and resources in the direction of their strategic initiatives.
In terms of IT services, the “if it breaks, then you fix it” model neither focuses your employees on the job they were hired to do nor uses your resources effectively. In an extensive study conducted by IBM, they found that the solution is to use outsourced, managed services.
If figuring out why your wifi isn’t working perplexes you, that’s a pretty good sign you should consider outsourcing your IT to a managed IT service provider. They maintain and manage IT for small, medium and large businesses and they make them more efficient and effective.
If you’re a business owner of any sized business, outsourcing IT can support you in your success. Keep reading for all the benefits of managed IT services.
What Are Managed IT Services?
How much of your business is linked to your IT?
If you have a website, you might have your own server. That means you picked a server and an operating system as well as programmed it.
You likely also have an in-house network that connects the computers of all your employees. That also means local software configuration or workstations set up for collaborations.
You might even use cloud-based technology or have a private network for salespeople to check on pricing, inventory, shipping times, etc. If you have a warehouse, the tech you require is even more daunting.
It’s not just managing that amount of technology that can be time-consuming but maintaining all that tech can also be expensive.
Managed IT service providers allow you to outsource all of that work. They provide servers, a network, and other specialized services related to IT.
They handle your system upgrades, ensure you’re safe from viruses and cyber attacks and implement the most effective software for the task. They also act in a remote tech support role and offer on-site support when necessary.
How Do IT Service Payments Work?
Every managed IT service provider works differently, but many offer their service on a subscription basis. The size of your business will have an impact on what type of subscription you choose.
If you’re a small business or a startup with only one server that requires managing, you might opt for a per-user or per-device subscription. You’re still outsourcing your IT to a managed service provider, but you’re only paying for what you’ll use.
Growing small businesses and medium businesses would benefit from an all-in-subscription. An all-in-one covers all of your company’s devices and users by bundling all of the available services a provider has to offer. Sometimes their cost will vary depending on the size of your business.
What Is an SLA and Do You Need One?
A service license agreement (SLA) acts like your contract. It’s imperative that you have one and have it checked over thoroughly.
An SLA outlines what services you’re getting from your managed IT service provider. It might detail how many devices are included in the bundle, the limits on the number of on-site calls and what kind of service you should expect.
Should your managed service provider not adhere to their commitments under the agreement, your SLA should tell you what happens and what you are entitled to.
The Benefits of Having a Managed IT Service Provider
Below is a comprehensive list of the benefits of outsourcing IT.
Improve User Productivity
You use technology in your business to improve and enhance how quickly and effectively people can work, right? When your technology causes more problem than it solves, it’s working against that goal.
Anytime that your system goes down or a use encounters technical problems, you’re losing money because they can’t do their work.
Managed IT services reduce downtime caused by technical needs and issues and speed up how quickly you do business. Businesses involved in an IBM study added over $200,000 for every 100 users by minimizing unplanned downtime.
Save on Infrastructure Costs
Outsourcing IT can help you save on both physical spaces as well as hardware costs.
A managed IT service provider houses all of your IT infrastructures – meaning you don’t house any servers or hardware besides your computers and workstations.
This frees up any physical space previously taken up by your technology. Making more room for inventory and employees. You’re also saving money on the cost of maintaining that hardware and the energy it uses.
You also won’t have to train employees or pay for licensing. You even save on desktop support certifications that your team should have.
In that same IBM study, businesses that outsourced their IT department saved $146,80 per 100 users a year on infrastructure cost.
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.
The use of smartphones and tablets to do business is growing, and having the flexibility to access that data on those devices make life easier for everyone in a business. Employees are able to perform their job from home, on holidays or while traveling to and from work.
It also makes communicating for the purpose of collaboration easier and more efficient than physical meetings. Even contractors and other third parties can be given (limited or unlimited) access to data stored on a cloud.
Although many businesses avoid making the switch to cloud-based technology for security concerns, a managed IT service provider will ensure your data is safe.
Allows Your Employees to Work During System Upgrades
System upgrades cost you time and money. The worst part is, they are an unavoidable necessity if you want your system to run smoothly.
Having upgrades performed after-hours leads to overtime costs. Having upgrades performed during work hours means your work day is interrupted. Employees can’t do their job and clients can’t receive the same level of service they require.
A managed IT service provider will handle your upgrades for you. They do this remotely and at times when it won’t be disruptive to employees or clients.
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.