Managed IT services is rapidly becoming one of the hottest solutions in business today because it dramatically improves an organization’s profitability, frees up internal resources, and offers a unique competitive advantage. Simply put, managed IT services are designed to assist companies in maintaining and supporting their network and IT infrastructure with the assistance of an outsourced managed services provider (MSP). Types of services may include remote network monitoring, programming and reporting (24/7), firewall monitoring, intrusion detection, preventative tasks, disaster recovery, data backup and help desk support. There are eight critical reasons why small to midsized businesses (SMBs) need managed IT services now and throughout the life cycle of their business.
Dependence On IT
Almost all businesses have become more dependent on computer technologies in the past few years. And, it’s a rapidly changing environment. Every business has become dependent on its IT infrastructure to perform at a high level, while effectively delivering its products or services. As a result, it has become more difficult to maintain the expertise to properly deploy, manage, and monitor this new technology, especially as a business evolves.
The fact that this new technology is new makes it more difficult for the average employee to understand and use effectively. The level of demand and sophistication from today’s businesses are driving up complexity. Distinct disciplines or specialties are emerging in a variety of technology related areas such as telephony, desktop, network, application and database support. The breadth and depth of technology an organization requires immediately places the resources at a small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) at a distinct disadvantage.
Traditional support options such as a one-man IT consultant, or a one- or two-person in-house IT department cannot effectively handle the occasional network breakdowns that are bound to occur. This is especially true when compared to a team of external resources that proactively monitor the SMB’s installed technology at all times.
Lack of Process
An IDC study reinforces the notion of lack of process, showing that 78% of all IT downtime is caused by change. If you could simply eliminate change from the computing environment, you would substantially decrease the risk. Unfortunately, most SMBs lack the procedures, documentation standards, and scope of work, which often results in major disruption and downtime.
Increased Use of Technology
Increasing use of computers, new software and procedures, often leads to increased complaints and loss of productivity. Typically, when network or desktop problems arise and escalate inside a company, the response time of the one-man shop or internal staff is quite slow. This dramatically increases employee complaints and lowers productivity. In many situations employees have to wait in line to receive help. As a result, the downtime and morale will impact the organization’s bottom line as well as their ability to meet their customers’ needs. By implementing a managed IT services program, the demand on internal IT resources are lessened, and they can now be utilized for other purposes such as directly supporting strategic business objectives rather than becoming bogged down in frequent break/fix issues.
During these challenging times, the IT budget is frequently reduced. In a recent survey of nearly 950 IT managers at companies in North America and Europe; nearly half of the U.S. respondents said they have already cut their IT spending budgets. Unfortunately, a cut in IT spending doesn’t mean there is a cut in demand for services. This adds tremendous stress and pressure on internal departments to support the same amount of work with fewer resources.
Computer systems must be maintained just like any other systems used within the business. Vehicle fleets, manufacturing equipment, and the physical plant, have all moved to a preventative approach. If a company does not implement this preventative maintenance strategy for its technology components, disaster might be the unpleasant and unprofitable result.
Finally, the technology utilized within an organization in most cases must meet specific compliance standards. For example, a company’s business processes supported by technology may need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxely, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and other requirements. Most companies don’t have the resources to fully understand and comply with all the detailed requirements of these regulations.
All of the above issues are driving the popularity of partnering with a managed IT services firm. Companies that have made the transition already answered this question. If deploying, managing and monitoring my IT infrastructure has absolutely nothing to do with the core competency of my business, why wouldn’t I outsource it to an expert? This is a fairly easy question to answer and these organizations have reaped the rewards of increased profitability and a competitive advantage.