What is your current IT strategy? Do you wait until your company computers crash and burn before making a panicked call to a local IT guru? Then with fingers crossed, do you hope they’ll save the day (and your data)?
Let’s hope in these days of ransomware run amok, you are way beyond that scenario! However, it may be time to rethink your current IT strategy or at least ask yourself: What’s holding me back from taking the plunge and considering a move to a managed IT services provider?
Let’s define our terms.
To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s begin by defining some common terms used in the discussion of solving a company’s technology needs.
In-house IT staff – These are the trained, full-time technicians the company employs to handle technology and network management. Some in-house IT staff deal solely with day-to-day operations. Other in-house IT staff are involved with long term special projects, often leaving them little time to focus on daily IT issues.
Staff augmentation – Hiring staff on an as-needed basis can help to build a company’s current in-house IT staff, especially when working on a specific, large project. That is the definition of staff augmentation. This is a temporary solution and is based on an hourly rate. It should be noted budgeting can be difficult with staff augmentation if the project runs into unforeseen problems. This is where value in choosing staff augmentation can plummet.
Outsourcing – This is a longer-term solution for delegating specific, ongoing operational activities that your business cannot perform. Whether due to lack of qualified in-house staff or overworked in-house staff, outsourcing may solve the ongoing problem. In the IT world, a business may outsource one service (for example, their backup and disaster recovery) or opt for several services. If all other areas of the business’ IT management is covered and in capable hands, then outsourcing may be a cost-effective solution.
Managed Services Providers – These technology experts are hired to provide broad IT support and management for a company or organization. MSPs use a proactive rather than reactive approach by monitoring and maintaining IT services, which are usually customized to the business’ specific needs and goals. Managed IT staff can work in tandem with a current in-house IT staff or as the sole source of technology support.
Obstacles in making an IT strategy shift
When business owners begin to reflect on making a shift in the current IT strategy, there are sometimes reports of concerns. These concerns or obstacles can occur whether the business already has an in-house IT staff, outsources part of their IT services, or is just starting up. Wherever your business in terms of planning or shifting your IT strategy, maybe you share these same concerns or face these same obstacles:
Money – Sometimes business owners balk at the idea of creating a budget line item for a Managed Services Provider, especially when services like monthly backup and security monitoring are not tangible. However, the costs of downtime in a ransomware crisis, for example, can be factored (per industry.) Can you calculate the cost of a half day of downtime for your business? What about two days of idle employees due to no access to their computers or data?
Additionally, for some companies who do not have the funds for in-house IT staff (requiring full-time salary, benefits, etc.), using an MSP can be a cost reduction.
Time – Business owners often worry that employing an MSP will mean being required to move to new apps or having to learn new processes. And that may be true. Most MSPs are resolved to make transitions as smooth as possible in order that little if any time is taken away from productivity.
Losing Control – Some companies distrust the MSP partnership model because they fear losing control of their technology. They may fear allowing people from outside of their organization having too much access to their data. These fears are understood by most MSPs, who are experts in security and privacy issues. The best MSPs will be committed to working through these issues, finding solutions, and working toward becoming ideal strategic partners.
Suggestions when considering making a transition to the MSP mode
Ask for clarity – Every MSP provider that you meet with should present a Service Letter of Agreement (SLA). This a detailed letter or contract describing the MSPs company, mission statement, and a breakdown of exactly what services they plan to provide and the monthly or quarterly costs. The more detailed the MSP’s SLA, the better. Why? Because it reflects on the quality of the company and the future partnership you can expect.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the SLA – Even if the Service Letter of Agreement is extremely well defined, read it over carefully and ask the MSPs representative for clarification on any point that is not crystal clear. You want to make sure that you know exactly what services you are getting for the money you are putting out.
Ask if any of the managed IT services will be pushed to a 3rd party provider – An example of a 3rd party provider might be if the MSP used another vendor for their Help Desk services. You will want to know up front how many services are handled by the MSP directly and if any services they offer are actually outsourced.
Get a read on the MSPs commitment to your business – Is the Managed IT Services’ representative asking questions about your company’s future goals for growth or expansion? This is essential for any partnership to succeed. Also, a partnership of this type is of value, not calculated by dollars and cents.
Are you ready to shift your IT strategy?
You’ve defined the terms, you’ve considered the obstacles, you’re armed with questions to ask potential Managed Services Providers. Are you ready to shift your IT strategy to make your company’s technology even stronger and more competitive in your industry?
Our professionals at Royal Network IT Solutions, Inc. have over 50 years of experience providing technical support to businesses in the Tustin and Eastvale areas of California. As technology has evolved and challenged a company’s need for technology support, we have expanded our ability to provide a range of managed IT services to our clients.
Call or email us today for a consultation at (949) 236-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.