(And Transition to Managed Services)
There are few jobs more important to keeping the virtual office gears greased than the IT guys and gals: so how do you know if it is time to consider upgrading from them and moving to an outsourced model like managed services? Outsourcing managed services is when a company contracts with an external technology services firm that assists by delivering helpdesk, managing and securing their network, helping with strategic business vision and process, and offers advice on tech investments. An in-house IT department is limited by resources – both personnel and capital – and is increasingly a less desirable risk that companies are choosing to outsource instead.
It may be time to upgrade your in-house IT if:
• Their primary concern is keeping their job. IT is service based; it supports the whole organization and contributes to the bottom line. If your IT person locates “problems” in an effort to prove their value, your organization is missing out on strategic positioning in the marketplace and excellent service. This may be the case if they always seem to be very busy with an emergency du-jour. Risk is also associated with having the burden of IT on just one or two in-house people. If some unforeseen emergency or conflict occurs, you do not have all your eggs – or passwords – in one basket.
• They are technically incompetent. This is tricky for an executive to spot – IT is likely not your core competency, so what do you need to look out for? You hired based on qualification and experience, so the individual checked out on paper. Ask yourself: are issues resolved or do problems persist? Are we able to get work done efficiently because of our in-house tech person? Are clients suffering? A good employee will do preventative maintenance to avoid a cycle of break/fix IT. Managed services provide experts and have the capability to become true business partners, offering virtual Chief Information Officer services – someone who can sit in on meetings, learn the capacities and needs of your business and help you strategically plan tech investment informed by the latest technology. Tech spending can be pricey, and the wrong decision even pricier. Having an expert to guide you early and often is invaluable.
• The budget is ballooning or is unpredictable. Technology is often the second largest investment in an organization after employees themselves. The main reason behind outsourcing to a managed services provider is the reduction in capital spending and operational costs. Software investments are inescapable, and access to the best enterprise-level applications can be too expensive for small to mid-sized business, especially as it relates to network security. These costs, too, can be mitigated or eliminated through hiring an outsourced managed services firm who has the group-buy benefit, with the added bonus of staff who are thoroughly trained to use the products. With a properly structured contract, costs become predictable. Downtime is costly as well. Rarely is in-house IT staff able to guarantee uptime.
• They don’t get their role in the organization. Are your employees seeking additional training and keeping their certifications up-to-date to keep their skills fresh and create a technologic advantage for the company? Are they seeking a seat at the management table to offer suggestions to streamline operations, offer ideas for revenue generation and save operations costs? Is their attitude positive and their countenance approachable? The posture of a contributing employee is an active one – not passively waiting for problems to occur or only performing tasks they are directed to do.
• They are inflexible. Your business has scaled but your technical know-how has not. Hiring is tedious and time-consuming, and you don’t know if after a large project you can support additional team members, but the current staff is maxed out by their day-to-day duties. Outsourced managed services are an every day/all day support with a contracted guaranteed service level agreement that are typically more expansive than what an internal IT team can provide. Managed services companies are able to take on project work in addition to performing daily helpdesk type activities, preventative network maintenance and network security.
Choosing the right managed services company to partner with is important, and qualifications should be assessed carefully with references in place. Reputable managed services firms will offer abundant transparency, access and documentation with quality and copious communication between both parties and work carefully with the outgoing in-house department to make a successful transition. Not ready to part ways with the in-house staff? A hybrid solution may work well in your situation where the in-house technician is willing to transition to a narrow set of responsibilities they can do with excellence or to employment with the managed services provider. Using a managed services provider can be a huge benefit and a wise investment for businesses that are freed to focus on growth and enjoy an excellent level of service. I95 Content Marketing
Toby Musser is a serial entrepreneur and is CEO and owner of MNS Group, a technology outsourcing and consulting company based in Bel Air and a trusted leader in company IT management, offering managed services to support small businesses and their humans. Musser lends his time volunteering with various civic and faith-based organizations believing truly that to whom much has been given, much is expected.