Thanks to technology, the IT landscape has changed. A department formally tasked with “come-fix-it” problems has crawled out from the shadows to become a pioneering leader in charge of devising strategies for leveraging technology to support business goals, essentially, answering the question “How can technology and the Internet make this faster, cheaper, and safer?” In fact, according to Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 57 percent of organizations view IT as an investment that fosters innovation and growth. Businesses are welcoming the change.
The pressure of innovation is a huge undertaking for a growing organization’s IT department—especially when budget is a serious concern (which it inevitably always is). Unfortunately, many businesses hesitate to ask for outside help from a managed services provider (MSP) due to a few common misconceptions. Let’s set the record straight.
Companies constantly underestimate the vulnerability of their systems. Between staying current with regulations and the sheer number of ways hackers could infiltrate your systems, there’s a great deal to keep in mind for in-house IT teams. MSPs not only have the expertise and experience to handle attacks but also can reduce the likelihood and frequency of network failures and issues. According to a CompTIA survey, respondents ranked security as the top factor leading them toward switching to an MSP.
The reluctance to embrace IT MSPs may stem from IT department staff members who often fear that their jobs are in jeopardy. On the contrary, MSPs are an extension of your existing IT team and are merely a shift in control. MSPs can handle technology updates, ensure the network is up and running around the clock, and study the latest regulations and change protocols to ensure compliance and security. It’s really a shift of focus. When your IT staff can surrender their jack-of-all-trades mentality and collaborate with an MSP, they can focus their efforts on one job (preferably their strongest skillset) instead of trying to be all things to all people. Just think of how much time your IT department can save operating and can instead devote to innovating.
Not convinced? Research shows that nearly 75 percent of larger organizations saw no effect on IT’s headcount as a result of bringing on an MSP.
Because an MSP is an extension of your IT team, only controlling the elements of your infrastructure you permit—an MSP contract is rarely a cookie-cutter solution. Rather, start by relinquishing tasks and areas that your IT team spends a great deal of time addressing. A quality MSP can work with your existing IT architecture and equipment because the network should adapt to your needs—not the other way around.
While it’s true that many, if not most, larger enterprises use MSPs of some sort—smaller organizations actually stand to benefit the most. Small growing businesses (e.g., 50–250 employees) have rapidly expanding needs but the lack of a flexible IT department to support the development. Even if your small-to medium-sized business (SMB) does have an adequate department, chances are it is constantly in trouble-shooting mode rather than thinking how technology could help propel the business forward. MSPs are ideal for SMBs because they not only free up your IT staff and maintain your systems round the clock, but also the MSPs can make use of world-class technology platforms that smaller business likely couldn’t afford to buy or maintain on their own.
The mindset “I’ll save money if I just fix stuff when it breaks” is problematic for businesses attempting to slash budgets and derives from the lack of understanding of the true cost of network downtime. Add up the costs of fixing and replacing equipment, expediting services, lost productivity, and brand damage when your business is out of operation for even a brief period, and it’s easy to convince penny-pinching CTOs and CIOs of an MSP’s value.
As Director of Microsoft Solutions and Services, Mike Hanks leads the Continuant team in program management and sales of solutions and services for Microsoft Intelligent Communications. While at Continuant, Mike has worked in many key areas, including Cloud, Strategy, Sales, Customer Service, and Operations, where he...