As your business grows and your IT requirements increase both in volume and complexity, you will inevitably reach the point where you need to decide on whether to hire new or additional in-house IT expertise – or turn to a 3rd party Managed IT Support Provider (MSP).
The decision on which way to go is not always straightforward. So, we’ve come up with the following 10 statements which you can apply to your own business. If you can identify your business from the statements, you’ve probably got a good business case for appointing an MSP.
1. We use technological products from many different vendors
If your laptops or desktop computers are a hotchpotch of different makes ranging from Asus to Zenith to HP, Toshiba or Samsung, your IT strategy has probably been evolving ‘as needed’ rather than on a planned basis. It’s probably a good idea to standardise on a brand of PC or laptop because the support overhead will be lower if your employees all use the same platform.
A Managed IT Support Provider will help you develop an IT strategy that includes planning the best IT solution to deliver the best support for your requirements.
2. We have unpredictable or widely varying IT costs
IT costs that range up and down from month to month are not great for planning or cash flow, and again are a sign that a managed IT support contract may be needed. Your IT provision will typically be responsive rather than proactive and you will probably put off upgrades and updates as long as possible rather than constantly upgrading your systems.
On the other hand, a Managed IT Support Provider will offer a fixed monthly payment plan, so you know what you’re going to receive and what it will cost during the contract. Above all there shouldn’t be any surprises or unexpected charges.
3. We’re not sure what our future needs might be
If your business is growing, you might need easily scalable systems and fast response to your needs, as well as future-proof network infrastructure. Similarly, you might need to scale back easily should business needs dictate it.
Your Managed IT Support Provider will be able to build in upscaling and downscaling capabilities to your IT solution, meaning that you have the flexibility you need. This flexibility should be reflected in your monthly charges too, so that you benefit from a ‘needs-based’ IT support solution.
4. Our software is out of date or obsolete
Technology moves very fast. It’s common for software applications to be updated regularly and for new versions to come out every year or two. You know it’s the case when you can’t open files that your customers or suppliers send you or you don’t have a new feature or function that you know many of your partners do.
A Managed IT Support Provider will keep your business operational – maybe not by upgrading everything immediately a new update or version is available, but at a rate that keeps you on a par with the current technology so you remain competitive.
5. Our business operations depend increasingly on our IT infrastructure
If like many other businesses, you are becoming increasingly dependent on your IT systems and infrastructure to support your business operations, you have a choice to make. Do we go down the ‘hiring’ route and bring in an IT Manager, or outsource the management of IT services to an external specialist?
The key point is that you need some form of ongoing IT support or management. Read on for how to make that decision.
6. Our IT systems are ever more complex
As IT technologies evolve, it’s increasingly difficult for a single person to be know how to update and maintain everything. With a Managed IT Support Provider, you have access to multiple staff with a broader range of specialist IT skills. This means that although you are outsourcing, you are saving the expense of hiring, managing, training and maintaining an in-house IT team.
7. Our business runs round the clock
If your business sells or supports products online, or maintains 24-hour operations, the likelihood is that you’ll need the backing of a 24x7x365 IT support and operations team.
A Managed IT Support Provider will ensure your business suffers only minimal downtime, and will usually be available to deliver on-demand helpdesk response. It can also monitor your network security and operations round the clock to spot issues as they arise and prevent systems going down without warning.
8. We are worried about our IT systems going down
You’re not alone. As businesses depend more and more on IT throughout their management, sales and marketing, support and customer service operations, they realise that an IT systems crash can adversely impact revenue, sales and cashflow.
A Managed IT Support Provider will typically deliver high levels of network IT performance, service continuity and round the clock support, backed by Service Level Agreements. At the same time, they may offer you options for network resilience and redundancy to ensure a more robust set up.
9. IT security is critically important for us
The threat from hackers has never been higher, and these days they’re cleverer, more sophisticated and higher in number than ever. Cybercrime happens on an industrial scale, constantly on the hunt for software vulnerabilities to exploit.
With this in mind, it’s probably wise to use Managed IT Support Provider to stay abreast of threats and put preventive measures in place, to spot risks as they arise, and to remediate any incidents. The more endpoints, applications and employees you have, the greater the challenges.
10. We need advice on how to evolve our IT systems
It’s almost impossible to know everything that needs to be done to ensure that your IT systems continue to support your business operations. The technologies are too many, the issues too complex and the options too broad.
Most organisations benefit considerably from proactive, solutions-oriented advice that is tailored specifically to them, and thereby minimise inefficiency and wastage. What’s more, the value of such advice is often incalculable.
For any questions or advice about your organisation’s IT support requirements, feel free to contact Fergus Ramsay at Alliance Solutions on 0800 292 2100.