Recent years have seen an increasing number of businesses outsourcing their IT requirements to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) – but is it the right move for your business?
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits that go hand-in-hand with bringing a managed service provider on board – and pose a few questions that’ll help you decide whether it’s the right choice for your business.
How do you feel about recruitment?
Unless IT is your core business, building IT systems is likely to be something you need additional support with. It’s worth considering, therefore, how you build that support.
Do you have the experience needed to recruit an IT team? Would you know if the people who sat in front of your for interview were going to be able to deliver exactly what you need?
If the answer is anything but a solid ‘yes’ – then you might want to think about turning to an MSP for the support you need. Not only is an MSP likely to have a very good idea of what a business like yours will need from an IT team – they’ll almost certainly be able to deliver it at a fraction of the cost you’d incur if you were recruiting a team yourself.
Would you get the service you need from an in-house team?
If you were able to recruit an IT team and suddenly had the right people in place – could you be sure they were going to be able to consistently deliver the service and support you’ll need for your IT?
For many businesses, the answer is no – and it’s generally down to the unpredictable nature of employees. The average employee has around 5 days off sick every year – as well as their normal entitlement of holidays and other leave. While this perfectly reasonable, it’s worth remembering that your IT requirements don’t have a day off – so, you could be leaving yourself exposed.
If you want to know that your IT is looked after all day every day, then making sure you’ve got a team that’s always present is useful. When an MSP employee has a day away from their desk, there’s someone else who’ll pick up the slack immediately – at no additional cost to you.
What are your IT requirements?
Your IT requirements – like your business – are entirely unique, so thinking about them when you sit down to discuss service levels with IT support is vital.
This is where an MSP comes into their own. MSPs deliver their product based on an SLA – Service Level Agreement. No two service level agreements should be the same – as what’s right for you isn’t going to be a perfect fit for another company.
Do you have mission-critical apps that absolutely must run 24/7/365? Are you hoping to introduce SD WAN to your business? Do you have remote staff that have to be able to access your network? Whatever your requirements, your SLA will reflect them; you’ll pay to make sure they’re delivered – and your MSP will deliver, easing any worry about whether or not your IT will keep up with your business needs.
Do you plan on expanding soon?
If you’re planning business expansion, there’s likely to be a lot of IT involved – from growing your staff team – to working out the most effective ways of expanding your infrastructure.
If you want to focus on what expansion is going to mean to your core business model, then IT is often an enormous (and time consuming) distraction – but, when you’ve got an MSP on board, it doesn’t have to be.
If your IT needs to grow, an MSP will step up and make sure that it’s delivered alongside your wider planning. The chances are, they’ll be able to scale their ability much quicker than your plans are put into motion – so whether you’re a one-man team, or a huge international corporation, they’ll be ready to help you grow.
How do you know you’re getting experienced best practice?
Managed service providers, unlike in-house IT teams, continue to work with a huge range of clients when they provide their services to you. As a result, you’re buying an incredible – and ever growing – wealth of IT experience – the likes of which an in-house team will struggle to keep up with.
Can you afford to be reactive?
Reacting to IT issues can be extremely expensive – and for many smaller businesses, it’s this kind of reactive cost that many just won’t recover from.
Downtime costs, on average, $100,000 for every hour your systems aren’t accessible. Now, that might sound a lot if you’re a small business – and that figure does include larger businesses – but, even with a conservative $1,000 per hour cost (considering missed opportunities, missed sales, lost customers, dissatisfied clients, etc) – the unpredictable nature of IT could put your organisation in danger.
An MSP is likely to be able to provide network monitoring around the clock – and is also likely to be able to take remedial action remotely if they see that your infrastructure is coming up against problems. The result? With an MSP on board, Monday morning is far more likely to involve an email that says “we found a problem but we fixed it” – instead of walking into an office that’s without IT systems until your in-house team have worked out what’s happening…
What’s right for you?
Of course, there’s no prescriptive answer when it comes to deciding whether or not an MSP is going to be right for you.
Instead, taking time to reflect on some of the questions we’ve posed here is going to be a good step. Building and expanding your own business often sees a huge number of responsibilities headaches grow with it – and, for many people – IT is at the top of this headache-inducing list.
If you want to be confident that IT is being handled appropriately and effectively – with a minimum amount of effort from you – then an MSP could very well be the way to go – freeing you up to focus on delivering the business results that you’re good at