For most of us, we simply would not have a business if we didn’t have an IT system. That said, IT systems are notoriously costly to run and administer – so it’s no wonder Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses who want to reduce their costs.
In a world where quality service tends to cost – does cutting IT support costs and choosing to use an MSP represent good value? To understand whether using an MSP would be good for your company, it’s important to first understand what a managed provider could offer…
Sidestepping recruitment and training
Recruiting the right people for your business can be difficult – and that difficult is wrenched up a couple of notches when you’re trying to find staff for a part of the business you may not be overly familiar with. As a result, recruiting IT staff tends to be an uncertain area for many business decision makers – as is the training involved with getting those staff up to the professional standards needed to work on your IT infrastructure.
When you work with a managed service provider, you sidestep the need for any involvement in the recruitment or training processes for any IT staff. An MSP is a ready-made IT support service – who are more than likely able to walk into your business and find their feet instantly.
It’s estimated that recruitment and training can cost upward of $6,500 dollars for one IT professional – so, if you’d feel like that money would be better spent on driving your business forward, working with an MSP may allow you to do exactly that.
Zero staffing issues
Your IT systems are likely to need support around the clock. Now, like it or not, an in-house IT team simply could not work around the clock – unless you were able to put together a staffing rota that included around 6 different individuals.
When you work with an MSP, you have no issues relating to rotas or staffing – as they provide the level of cover that you need, and you don’t have to worry about arranging that cover.
Although it’s perfectly reasonable for employees to have time off, holidays, sickness leave, or even move on to other companies, it will often mean you simply do not have crucial cover for your IT systems. Without cover, you can experience downtime – and downtime can be extremely costly. Working with an MSP does away with all of these issues – leaving you free to consider how you can best use your IT to drive more business.
Experienced best practice
When you recruit your own team, there’s an argument that suggests you might be limiting their working knowledge on an on-going basis. Now, it’s not going to be true for every in-house IT team employee – but, for many, working on just one system limits their knowledge to that system.
With MSPs, this can never be the case. Even a small managed IT provider will work with a significant number of companies – each with their own systems and particular ways of working. As a result, an MSP needs to understand what’s best practice across all clients – and that knowledge needs to always be current.
There won’t be many IT problems that are beyond an MSP. If you’re having issues with network latency and want to calculate the best way forward, they’ll help. Need to implement voice over IP solutions for all your team? An MSP will have the experience needed. Even if you do find something that is outside their skillset, you’re working with a team of professionals who will tend to go out and learn – so they can deliver for you.
Getting ahead of problems
If you’re operating an in-house IT team on a tight budget, you’re likely to have a team of people who can only ever react to problems – rather than getting ahead of them and remedying the issue before it impacts your business.
Systems monitoring and remote maintenance tools can be extremely costly – but, since an MSP is likely to be spreading the cost of those tools across a significant number of clients, you’ll benefit from an MSP who can keep an eye on your network at all times – even when you’re sleeping.
The result? Well, once again, it’s avoiding that ever-costly problem of downtime. Rather than coming into your business to find an issue – working with the right MSP will mean you’re more likely to be walking into your office to find an email from saying that a problem has been avoided – before you even noticed it.
A fixed, predictable cost
IT can be notoriously expensive – and, while some of that expense is unavoidable and predictable, it’s the unpredictable costs that tend to cause problems. When you work with an MSP, your maintenance and support costs will tend to be fixed by your Service Level Agreement – so, you won’t get any nasty surprises.
Generally speaking, a support relationship with a managed service provider will involve maintenance and support – with additional services to be paid on top. Again, the good news is that these additional prices are predefined, so, even if you do need additional work, it’ll always be at a predictable rate.
A working contract
The previously mentioned Service Level Agreement (SLA) is worth digging into in a little more detail – as it’s a document that protects your business should you have any issues with your MSP. Essentially, your SLA is a contract, documenting what you’ll pay your MSP, and in return, the service they’ll provide as a result. Should you run into any issues or disputes, you’ll be able to use the SLA to clear the problems up.
A contracted working agreement gives you some stability too – as you know that it’s enormously unlikely that your MSP will simply fold and walk away from your company. While that might sound a little extreme, it’s exactly what an in-house IT team could do if they found another, more lucrative opportunity.