This year, the goal of many management teams should be to take a hard look at the shape of their business and design a strategy. Having a mapped out plan with specified goals and milestones is an absolute must. The first step in this process is taking a hard look at areas that need improvement. For many companies, Information Technology is a key component to a company’s success, but challenging to manage. One way to improve one’s IT environment is to consider a Managed Server Provider (MSP).
Now, I'm not saying that outsourcing your IT has to be the very first thing on your to-do list and that you have to do it right now (if you happen to be reading this in the morning and need a cup of coffee, do that first), but understanding the "how" and "why" of outsourced IT should definitely be up there. This blog will help you start to answer the question "is outsourced IT right for me?"
Why Choose an MSP?
Outsourced technology environments and resources can give a company the ability to make changes on the fly, or even shift strategy if the need arises. Outsourced IT providers give your technology person more flexibility to focus on what's truly important to the business.
How many times has your CIO or Director of IT been bogged down on help-desk issues or password resets when they could have - or should have - been working on strategic initiatives to help the company surpass its competition? On average 323,000 (nope, we didn’t add any extra zeros there) malware strains are identified every day. That’s a lot of information, and potential remediation, for a 1 or 2 person team to stay on top of. This is where leveraging an IT MSPadds so much value. Outsourced IT providers enable your IT manager to efficiently prioritize initiatives because they'll have ancillary resources at their disposal.
Full Time Employee vs Managed Service Provider
Additionally, project time-frames become more predictable because corporate IT teams can access a resource that has the necessary skills to complete the job properly and in a timely manner. A full-time IT person alone may or may not have the time or technical expertise for specific projects. When you evaluate IT candidates, they can answer “I’m qualified” on just about every question you ask them, but qualified isn't necessarily the same as being experienced.
An example could be if a candidate says that they’ve performed a "few" Office 365 migrations. But does the candidate have the level of experience needed for an efficient and timely migration? What if their experience was with a smaller company with ten to twelve machines in a very straight-forward environment? Will they be able to handle your much larger and more complex environment? Are they proficient with Linux, Windows, and Mac environments?
How about networking, security, databases, and cloud services? It is nearly impossible for 1 or 2 people to have all the skills required to handle all of the technology an organization needs to keep business moving forward. This is where an MSP differentiates itself from an in-house IT person. MSPs have deep skills in a wide range of technologies and are capable of handling multiple projects in any given environment.
Additionally, working with an MSP can generally save an organization money. In 2016 the average salary of a Director of IT was approximately $150,000 per year. Factor in additional benefits and perks, and working with an MSP could end up leaving a lot of room in a company’s budget for IT projects or to be redirected to other departments and initiatives.
The Cloud: A Great Equalizer
Another area that an MSP can help with is moving a company to a cloud-based environment. There are incredible savings to be had by transitioning technology into the cloud. Companies have been spending a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money on maintaining their on-site infrastructure, which has the potential for an unfavorable domino effect on IT resources and budgets. Maintaining internal infrastructures and critical business applications can bog down your IT department and deplete your IT budget. This vicious cycle can hinder your ability to be strategic when it comes to the future direction of the company.
Having the ability to scale and be more flexible is key if you want to be a proactive business. This is why many companies are not only moving to the cloud, but they're also transitioning to virtual environments. A good MSP knows the technical and business trade offs of the right infrastructure approach and can help a business navigate those choices clearly and efficiently. Done well, these design decisions can benefit a company both financially and strategically, while also laying the groundwork on a disaster recovery plan.
Don't Get Caught Off Guard
A common concern of executives that an MSP can assuage is what would happen if we suddenly didn't have an IT resource? Let's say your Director of IT is away on vacation and the server tied to your billing system melts down. Who do you call for immediate support? The even bigger concern is what happens if your Director of IT leaves the firm entirely. There’s nothing more horrifying than the thought of losing your IT person and your entire network going down during the transition.
How do you make sure your business continues moving forward when something like that happens? This is a key value of an outsourcing strategy for your IT needs. You don’t need to worry about someone being on vacation, or losing them to a competitor. You don't have these worries or concerns anymore because those situations no longer apply.
Ask yourself, "is outsourced IT right for me?" Still not entirely sure? Contact us to receive a free consultation and find out.