Today’s businesses must become strategic to carry out their objectives. We live in an era where getting the best talent no longer means hiring people in-house to perform tasks. Managed services help companies get top-tier talent for a fraction of the cost.
Let’s take a look at information technology (IT). Ask yourself, do you need employees to perform onsite IT services? Chances are, development projects aside, your company doesn’t need full-time IT people.
Weighing the pros and cons of hiring IT staff comes down to specific company needs. You may find that you do need someone in-house. Or you may get sold on the benefits of managed services.
Each business is different, and the decision has to focus on the needs of the company. Before you start searching for an IT provider, it’s best to understand what these services offer. Afterward, you can seek a company that can cater to your business needs.
Is it time to streamline processes? Place your IT duties into the hands of knowledgeable individuals who can run your IT department as if it were a large corporation.
Continue reading for practical reasons why you should move forward.
The Key Benefit of Managed Services is Efficiency
Managed services are designed to help businesses run efficiently. You can streamline processes and automate services that require limited human input.
The benefit of managed IT services is it allows you to refocus on the main objectives of your business. It minimises the time and costs of training employees and ensuring they receive professional development hours and certifications.
The best-managed services providers ensure their team members are qualified and all certifications are current. Plus, the people that partner with your business can meet your individualised needs.
Evaluate the Return on Investment
At the heart of all business, decisions are the return on investment. Part of your decision to move to managed IT services is the financial benefit to your company.
It isn’t easy placing a monetary value on future successes. The initial costs could seem out of your range. Having a long-term approach will help you see the overall benefits of having these services at your disposal.
Not having to deal with compliance issues is a huge win. It’s also a plus to have a contingency plan in place for disaster recovery needs during an event or natural disaster. This safety net alone is priceless.
Managed IT service providers have multilayer security protocols. Knowing your data is protected can help you focus on other priorities during disruptions out of your control.
What You Should Look for in a Provider
There are vital things you want to look for when choosing a managed services provider. For starters, you want a partner that is familiar with your industry. The needs of the clothing retail industry will differ from a customer service call centre.
Even if you find someone with experience in your industry, you may also have special needs outside the norm. Flexibility then becomes a focal point. Is the provider able to depart from their model to address your circumstances?
You’ll want a provider that can extend services based on your schedule. If your business is open until midnight, will they have someone available if you require assistance?
Most managed services team members are offsite. However, there may be times when you need someone on-site. Don’t forget to present this question to the provider.
Does your business still operate off of physical modems? Moving to a managed services IT platform can provide increased security and flexibility.
Providers offer cloud-based servers which allow team members to manage your account remotely. Many businesses have enjoyed the security and convenience that comes with access to unlimited storage.
The added benefit is having 24-hour access to your company’s data. In customer-driven industries, you can expand customer relationship management.
We live in a mobile society where people want to do business on their terms. Being able to shop, pay bills, or interact with businesses on their schedules is essential.
Cloud-based servers backed by knowledgeable managed IT support allows smaller businesses to operate as an industry powerhouse.
Reevaluate Internal Positions
Small business owners are accustomed to making do with what they have. Sometimes it is to the detriment of the business. It is common to have employees working outside the scope of their hired roles.
With managed services, those employees can get back to what they were hired to do. You’ll reduce high turnover rates because employees will no longer feel overworked and undervalued.
You’ll also save on overtime costs and the overall mental well-being of your employees.
As you get a clearer picture of running a business with managed services, your outlook will change.
Reevaluating positions could mean moving employees into more suitable roles. It can also create new roles as the business begins to expand.
Increase Productivity and Operate More Efficiently
Will managed IT services increase productivity and help your business operate at a higher level? The answer is yes if you contract with the right provider.
Managed services aren’t simply about outsourcing job functions. It is a partnership to help your business run efficiently and, in turn, increase productivity.
Part of the partnership is for the service provider to assess how your company is currently operating. They then render solutions on how to shore up weaknesses and capitalise on essential points.
For example, if you have an employee who manages the company’s help desk and installs new software. You also use this person to run software training and maintain the servers.
The managed services provider will suggest moving to a cloud-based service. The provider will take over help desk duties that can take place remotely. This move will allow the employee to focus solely on software training.
By removing the additional duties, the training sessions most likely will improve and become a beneficial asset to employees.
Explore System Upgrades and Integrate New Software
How long has it been since your systems have been upgraded? What about software upgrades? Your staff could be experiencing service issues due to outdated programs.
The best-managed services providers will ensure updates are done on schedule. You’ll also be able to ensure your staff is using the most current applications.
There will still be times when specific software can’t get moved from physical modems. In these instances, you’ll want a provider that can offer on-site visits to make those upgrades.
Before contracting with a provider, you can contact the software companies. Negotiate with them to send out a representative to review programs and ensure they are up-to-date. You could learn they now have cloud-based options.
If this is not an option, the managed services company may have alternative solutions. In some cases, they can provide system upgrades that are better than what you currently have.
Limit Security Breaches and Liabilities
Security breaches can lead to hefty financial fines. The last thing any company wants is a government investigation.
With managed IT services, the risk shifts from your responsibility to the service provider. They bear the responsibility of ensuring their cloud-based servers comply with industry standards. Providers also understand the importance of information security and risk management.
It becomes easier to reduce or eliminate behaviour among employees that can inadvertently lead to a breach. Check with service providers to see if they offer network security protocol training. Some employees may have never had the opportunity.
Choose a manages services provider that is compliant with laws and regulations concerning data privacy. Verify their protocol on preventing system attacks and cybercrimes.
Research the Provider
Never be afraid or reluctant to research a service provider thoroughly. Placing your company’s data and system infrastructure in the hands of an outside source is a huge decision.
You want more than a trusted partner. You also require a knowledgeable partner that can add a layer of confidence to your overall operations.
The added experience you’ll gain has to match the professionalism and culture of your business. The integration has to be seamless. This idea is especially true when your clients are in direct contact with someone from the managed IT service provider.
Once you’ve made your choice, inquire about service level agreements. These agreements include measurable goals. It is also a great way to stay on track and highlight successes. You can also catch deficiencies before things get too far off track.
It’s Time to Put Managed IT Services into Your Business Plan
This article on managed services isn’t all-inclusive but provides the basics of what it’s all about. Anytime you’re inviting someone into the inner workings of your business, there’s sure to have reservations.
Meet with a service provider and have an open and honest conversation about your business needs. The way we do business is changing. To stay competitive in your industry, you’ll need to change also.
DC Encompass provides professional consulting services to the Australian Retail Industry. Talk to an expert today. Call our team on 1300 002 112 to determine how we can assist with your move to managed IT services.