04 Apr Why Are Small Businesses Embracing Managed IT Services?
“Business” and “Information Technology” are perhaps two of the most integrated and interdependent terms of the 21st century. Information technology has flourished and advanced due to business needs in our ever more interconnected world and business has reached a point where one cannot even exist without some information technology infrastructure.
Even a business of one employee requires at least access to a smartphone, which these days can connect to a web browser, social media, emails, contacts, relevant apps, and even that isn’t enough.
Big business is so invested in managing their IT they have entire teams and sections of internal staff and managers whose salary is paid to ensure the smooth, efficient, and cost-effective operation and maintenance of an overarching web of IT infrastructure. They have server rooms, wired and wireless networks, a computer with accessories for every employee, internal and external networks, Internet access, tons of software, and backup equipment in case any of it fails.
Big business has figured out that in order to remain relevant, stay competitive, and be successful, a significant investment in managing their IT properly is essential. And not only is IT management absolutely necessary for their survival and profitability, but their IT management must be of superior quality because that is what their clients and shareholders expect.
We have all heard of emails getting hacked, online services going down, and confidential client information being stolen, and every time this could have been averted with sound IT management practices in place. To sum up, no IT management is not an option, and bad IT management can be even worse.
So, what is a small business or even medium-sized business to do in this interconnected world of Big Business with big budgets to manage their big technology?
Can small businesses still be relevant? Can they be successful? The short answer is yes, but as long as they embrace technology and have a solid IT management plan through business continuity.
There are a few roadblocks to doing things the same way big business does, though. Small and medium-sized businesses rarely have the budget to hire and pay a staff of full-time IT experts or for budgeting software that is expensive. Also, the employees are not IT experts themselves. And because of these issues, the IT needs of the small business are often difficult to grasp. The answer to this conundrum is managed IT services.
Small businesses choose managed IT services for four main reasons: Time, money, knowledge, and peace of mind. The first three are in reference to a lack or limitation of those facets (and simultaneously the pursuit of more) and the fourth is simply a state of being which accompanies the use of managed services.
So, what are IT managed services? Well, they are the equivalent of outsourcing your entire IT department and paying a fraction of what it might cost your business to develop its own.
Managed IT services encompass hardware, server, storage, networking provisions, infrastructure implementation, maintenance, data sanitization and destruction, and even asset remarketing. Maybe you have some of this covered and maybe you don’t know what some of it is, but hopefully you don’t assume that you don’t need any of it.
If you have the need for computers, Internet access, and secure storage of data you need to consider at least a consultation with an managed IT services company. The first reason to consider is time. Small businesses need more of it and never have enough.
The setup and implementation of a secure IT infrastructure take time and the maintenance of this infrastructure takes just as much, if not more time. The last thing any small business needs is to enter a busy period of work and have one or various IT systems fail and be forced to divert time and resources to investigating and then fixing the problem.
With managed services, there is proactive management of such an IT situation. The hardware and services are tested and maintained at regular intervals so warning signs of possible issues are flagged and addressed before anything catastrophic can occur. If calamity strikes (and even with proactive management it still can) the IT managed services provider will promptly investigate and dissect the problem and be able to quickly resolve it because they have the resources in place to do so.
The comparison here is in the first scenario the small business may have to spend infinite time away from doing actual business to deal with an IT situation. Whereas with managed IT services the time investment is exponentially lower—somewhere between none (as a result of the proactive management) and very little (a phone call to inform them of the situation and request action).
Equally as important as a small businesses’ time is their money. Creating and maintaining a team of qualified IT professionals (even just one) costs significant financial investment, as does making IT capital expenditures when there could be better options (renting or leasing) and when IT expertise is lacking and the expenditures don’t match the business’ needs.
IT managed services will analyze the business’ operational requirements and make the appropriate recommendations. These recommendations could include renting or leasing hardware (sometimes due to seasonal fluctuations) and making specific purchases which fit the business’ niche and needs. Managed IT services companies often have buying power through OEM agreements, lowering the overall associated costs of the hardware.
Finally, a lack of knowledge by the small business regarding technical requirements and information technology operations and maintenance is a great reason to not try to manage these things alone. Not only will the expertise of the managed services company save money (as mentioned above) but they will make the right decisions for the business so the focus can remain on business and not IT operations. Managed IT service providers are experts, so leave it to them.
Of course, all of this leads to an overall peace of mind for the small business owners and operators. Instead of spending a fortune on an IT department, there is a much smaller amount of money and time being invested in a properly managed IT infrastructure, managed by knowledgeable IT experts which will perfectly fit the business’ needs and ensure smooth and secure operations. Translating directly to profitability and productivity.