16 May Which IT Services Should Be Managed?
Outsourcing management of your IT services is one of the smartest business decisions you can make, but many business owners have no idea where to begin. As a small or medium-sized business owner, you have to consider so many areas of business management, such as security service, asset management, business continuity, project management, on-site support, risk management, and disaster recovery… and that’s before you can even consider your work-life balance.
If you’re ready to eliminate IT headaches and improve your systems, what are the key things you need to think about and what should you hand off to a managed services provider?
What Are Managed Services?
The process should begin by considering what managed services are and are not. Managed services are IT operations you’re able to outsource to a third party. This third party is known as the managed services provider or MSP. That group becomes responsible for monitoring, managing, and solving problems for IT systems and functions on behalf of your business.
There are many things they might do including providing security, patch management, data backup, and recovery for different client devices, such as PCs, notebooks, servers, storage systems, networks, and applications. You might also work with an MSP that offers management services for server hardware, operating systems, and middleware.
Many MSPs offer their services on a subscription basis. Depending on which services they provide, and you choose, pricing can be based on the number of devices and might be bundled into different packages at varying price points. Some also offer customer support on site if it’s required.
Exploring the Benefits
Before you make decisions about what you’ll outsource and what you need to keep in-house, it’s a good idea to consider the advantages of using a managed services provider.
First and foremost, outsourcing routine IT management to a qualified managed services professional lets your team concentrate on running the business and doing so with fewer interruptions due to IT issues.
It “lightens the load” for your current IT department, assuming you have one. If the skills of other employees have been cobbled together to create a makeshift IT department in your business, all the better. Despite paying for managed IT services, you can lower your overall costs because you are shifting capital to operational expenditures. Your IT department, no matter how “official” it may or may not be, can focus on income-generating instead of acting as the glue to hold things together.
Industry experts predict that outsourcing at least a portion of IT services will be a necessity for many businesses in the coming months. It’s impossible for your onsite IT to master every single technology and be able to determine which will best serve your business. You can’t be an expert in everything and neither can your employees. It’s better to ask your staff to focus on what matters most and what they know and call on already established experts to handle the rest.
What IT Services You Should Consider Having Managed
Which brings us to the next question: “What should you outsource?”
Some companies start by looking at their strengths and their brand. What makes you different from your competitors? Those are the things you shouldn’t outsource in general, but especially when it comes to managed IT services.
It’s also a good idea to consider whether or not your IT staff has handled the tasks you’re thinking about handing off. Are they competent and do they understand how it’s currently working? Is your current system documented and easily explainable to a third party?
This isn’t necessary, and if this is a problem, it might be the reason you’re thinking of outsourcing. However, if your IT team has a strong understanding of what’s being handed off, it makes for a smoother transition and makes it easier to determine over time if the managed services team you chose is doing a good job.
What’s Your Ultimate Goal?
Before you decide which IT services should be managed, have you considered your reason for doing so in the first place? Are you looking to be more innovative? Save money? Find someone with more experience who will be better able to handle the job and introduce a fresh approach?
And have you considered how outsourcing services will affect your existing IT department if there is one? It might be a situation in which your current IT staff will need to make changes to stay relevant or will need to take on projects that were once “on the back burner” now that a third party is handling other time-consuming projects.
Your current IT department can also be a valuable liaison between your business and your managed services team. Your MSP is an extension of your IT department, handling routine IT infrastructure monitoring and management, so your IT staff can focus on higher-value projects. The two work as a team, as opposed to in competition with one another. The former arrangement works better than the latter, as you might expect, and many businesses have created cohesive systems that are overseen by internal IT. Outsourcing also frees up time for your IT department to coordinate with other in-house departments and make innovative changes.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a small business or large company, you need technology to help you operate efficiently and to stay relevant in your industry. IT continues to grow in complexity, making it harder to maintain IT teams with enough comprehensive skills in-house. Outsourcing IT services is one of the most efficient ways to help your business run better.
Granted, it can be a challenge to choose not only the IT services you need to be managed but also to find an MSP that can help you achieve them. Anova IT can help. For more information, or to speak with someone about your IT needs, call or email us, or fill out the contact form and we’ll be in touch with you.