The importance of managed services
Companies of all sizes place a priority on operational efficiency, but not all businesses are equally equipped to maintain this efficiency. Small businesses may have limited IT resources, meaning they can quickly fall behind in updates and network management, placing the company’s system at risk of an outage or breach. For many, the solution is a managed IT service.
Managed services have been on the rise in the business world, with reportedly 64 per cent of organizations in 2016 using managed services of some type or another. The same report predicted a managed services market growth rate of 12.5 per cent between 2017 and 2020, making this valuable asset all the more relevant across the board.
Unsure if managed support services are right for your business? Let’s take a look at the essence of managed IT services, how they differ from other solutions and what their overall benefits are. You may find yourself surprised by all these services.
By 2019, the managed-services market is projected to grow by $193 billion. Both small, medium and large businesses are becoming very aware of the reasons to choose the managed-services business model, and the demand is strong. Here’s an outline of some of the reasons why your business should choose IT managed-services.
Are you still relying on your in-house IT team to maintain your systems? It might be time for a change.
Technology has come a long way since the days of break/fix IT, and the reality is that most internal IT services aren’t equipped to keep up with the pace of innovation. As a result, many organizations find their IT to be reactive rather than proactive, and that their systems struggle to keep up with the demands of a growing business in a digital world.
If you’ve ever scoffed at the idea of outsourcing support to a third-party provider because you think your current IT structure is fine or because of concerns about cost, now is the time to reconsider. There are numerous benefits to managed services, especially if you’re using a system like Microsoft Dynamics 365.
What are Managed IT Services?
Before we dive into the advantages of the managed services model, let’s go over the basics.
The term managed services refer to the practice of outsourcing business administration and management responsibilities to a third party. You’ll notice that this definition isn’t specific to IT — that’s because managed services can describe anything from supply chain management to marketing strategy to call centre operations. That said, managed IT services is the most commonly referred to as a type of managed service and will be the focus of this article.
The demand for managed services has grown exponentially in recent years. The global managed services market was valued at $185.98 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $356.24 by 2025.
This increase in demand can be largely attributed to small and medium-sized businesses who require access to the latest technology in order to maintain a competitive edge in their respective markets and to sustain their continued growth but lack the IT budget to meet those goals. The good news is that managed services enables SMBs to play at the same level as middle-market and enterprise-level organizations, without overextending themselves — and that’s only one of the benefits of the managed services model.
A Shift in Mentality Regarding Technical Support Services
Before managed services entered the market, there was only one way to deal with technical difficulties. At the time, if a server or desktop quit operating effectively, the only approach would be calling a professional, trying to explain the problem and scrambling to come up with a solution in record time. While this standard was acceptable at one point, now, it is not enough.
With the technological developments of the 21st century, waiting for problems to arise and systems to fail before taking action is no longer a viable option. Our increasing dependence on automated systems and digital databases means technology outages can have a profoundly negative impact on business operations. If a network goes down or an email server is inaccessible for substantial periods of time, the loss in productivity and revenue could be devastating.
Due to these higher stakes, the need for security and adequate support to prevent system failure and to catch potential issues before they happen is critical. That is a gap managed IT services have come into the industry to fill.
Enhanced Security and Compliance
Today, security and compliance are a major concern for all businesses. Operating systems, smartphones, tablets, laptops and other types of technology store and transmit important data. This makes security-critical. Falling victim to a security breach or hacker is a common fear. A breach can cost companies a loss in reputation and a huge loss in dollars. Managed service providers help protect businesses from a security breach event and take quick action if one does occur. All businesses must be compliant with regulations specific to their industry, especially the legal and health industries. A managed service provider can supplement additional policies, protocols, and procedures to ensure compliance.
Efficient and Reliable IT Operations
This is one of the most important reasons businesses need to manage IT services. Lack of employees with the knowledge and skills to handle an entire network and an overburdened IT staff leads to inefficiency and unreliability. It isn’t easy to negate the value of having an IT provider. It’s a partnership that is collaborative that leads to more efficient and reliable IT operations. While it doesn’t replace an in-house IT staff, it enhances its capabilities. Not only do issues get resolved quickly, but businesses also have the benefits of the latest technology and innovative solutions to maximize uptime and profitability. These technologies include cloud computing, backup and disaster recovery and remote monitoring and management. The need to keep the entire IT infrastructure efficient and reliable is a big reason for managed IT services.
Cost-Effectiveness and Return on Investment
Working with a managed IT service provider benefits companies financially. It’s a considerable cost saving. It helps control outgoing expenses and increases return on investment. Typically, an IT budget consists of many things like IT labour, maintenance costs, software and network infrastructure and hardware costs. Using outdated software negatively impacts the return on investment. Plus, managed IT services provide scalability and flexibility to grow in a manner that internal IT teams cannot provide. Businesses can easily project IT expenses every month and can plan for improvements and larger projects. IT services play an instrumental role in cost-effectiveness and return on investment.
A Proactive Approach to Maintenance
This is another major reason to work with a managed IT, service provider. Businesses no longer have to waste time thinking about their IT infrastructure. There’s no need to worry about daily things like the speed of network connections and dependability. With a managed IT service provider, businesses are given the luxury of an all-day, every day around the clock coverage. Security and service solutions are always at work, detecting potential disturbances, vulnerabilities, and threats. Issues and bugs can most likely be detected and fixed before the business is even aware of a problem. And data management on the cloud with a service provider yields more revenue. IT service providers offer a proactive community with regular and encrypted backups, virtualization and cloud computing.
Free Up Internal IT Staff to Concentrate on Strategic Projects
Often, businesses need their internal staff to focus their energy on other tasks. It’s a good reason to work with an IT managed provider. Projects and other needed tasks get the time and attention needed. It maximizes the company’s IT budget. Think about it. It doesn’t make any practical sense to have an internal IT team handling things like migrating over to Microsoft Office 365 when a provider can expertly handle it. With specialized services, managed service providers take the pressure off the internal IT team.
Variety of Solutions
Many businesses need solutions specific to their individual needs, such as accounting software solutions and customer relationship management software (CRM). Managed service providers offer accounting software to monitor their transactions. It automates the business process and manual information. With CRM, businesses can get greater visibility garner through:
The result is a secure data control system that helps manage business information and customer information. With accounting software solutions, businesses can monitor financial information, vendors and taxes. It’s designed to suit the needs of the specific company.
Technology is transforming the world of business. But it changes fast and is a complex industry. Most companies today want to streamline their IT operations and turn to managed IT service providers to accomplish that goal.
One of the top reasons why companies choose managed IT services is because it’s much more cost-effective than hiring permanent staff.
The resources required to manage your IT services can be immense. The demand for your tech-savvy staff members will gradually become overwhelming to handle. If you’re determined to grow your company, it’s important to outsource IT services so that your staff can concentrate on other stuff.
For small and medium-sized businesses, it makes financial sense to outsource it to a professional IT management firm. This way, the finance team can calculate exactly how much is required to manage the IT systems each month. Your financial team will surely thank you for helping them determine the budget for monthly operations expenses.
Access to Latest Tech Knowledge
How can small and medium-sized businesses be expected to keep up with the latest development in technology at the time? By outsourcing your systems to IT managed services, you can leave the experts to address any issues.
This means that you get access to the latest tech knowledge and resources to make sure your company stays ahead of the game. But the best part is that you don’t have to pay over the odds for it.
Uptime is the time in which a computer network is up and running. If you want to keep your company’s IT systems running all the time, it’s important to have the managed IT support from the professionals.
Emergencies and disasters happen. Your company needs to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you’re not downtime could cause untold damage to your credibility and ability to operate. By outsourcing your IT services to the experts, they’ll make sure your company has a business disaster recovery plan (BDR) in place in case of downtime.
With managed IT services, you don’t just get the occasional check-in. But rather it’s a 24/7 service that ensures your IT systems are running all the time properly. No matter how big or small the problem, you could consult the managed IT services for a solution. You can sleep easy knowing everything is taken care of.
But sometimes you won’t even notice that there was a problem. Before you know it, the IT managed support will have everything working soundly once again. This means that any slight glitches or pesky bugs will be taken care of immediately.
Security and Data Protection
Do you work with other organizations and client data?
It’s important that they can trust you. If they know that you have a secure IT system in place, they will have no problem doing business with you. With managed IT services, you confidently know that your client’s data is protected. Regulations and compliance are constantly changing. It’s difficult to keep up with the latest policy changes. By employing managed IT support, you can rest peacefully that your system will comply with the regulation.
Security is a top concern of organizations of all sizes. It’s not surprising either, especially considering that a direct cyberattack can cost businesses as much as $40,000 per hour.
Security is a really broad topic, too. Proper security measures include protecting the network, the endpoints, the servers, and more. Security efforts never sleep, either. To be fully protected, you need to have active security measures running within your organization 24/7/365.
For your business, that might sap valuable time and resources that you don’t have. But the right managed service provider can dispatch experienced teams of cybersecurity experts to help you at a moment’s notice. They’ll also use advanced next-gen security applications and devices to keep your employees, clients, hardware, and data fully secure.
Proactive Managed Support
If you’ve had a computer issue, you’ll know how annoying it is to sit and wait for someone to help you. Each second of downtime for you (or any member of your staff) is likely going to cost you dearly.
With a managed service provider as your partner, you can get around-the-clock support for these issues. If you have a problem, you’ll have an experienced technician guiding you to full computer recovery within a short period. It’s a pretty great feature. However, that’s far from the greatest benefit of managed services.
Managed services operate on a flat-rate fee. It’s in the best interest of your managed services partner to quell issues before they ever come up. That’s why managed service providers work so diligently. By proactively taking care of your IT infrastructure, they effectively reduce the number of potential errors and trouble tickets from ever arising in the first place.
Included Bundled Services
When it comes to IT, there’s a very good chance that your business isn’t doing everything it should. Internal IT departments are limited in scope based on your current (and immediate) IT needs, as well as the IT budget.
But managed service providers get a little more flexibility.
The right managed service provider will take care of many aspects of your technology that you might have never even considered. That includes building a solid data backup and recovery plan, creating organized network documentation, recommending upgrades to your IT infrastructure, and more.
What Are the Best Strategies for Choosing a Managed Service Provider?
Before committing an MSP, please get to know the company to discover whether their values align with your organization’s priorities. Knowing whether an IT service provider is trustworthy and reliable may take a few conversations. Still, a few key attributes can help you determine if a particular company is a good fit. Consider the following tips to assist you in your search.
- Look for evidence of experience in your field. With different trends and customer bases, your industry will require a knowledge of specific requirements in your IT support. Technology isn’t the only thing that is changing rapidly, so make sure you find an MSP that understands your vision on top of keeping up with tech innovations.
- Find a provider that takes on challenges with a positive attitude. Even if an IT provider has a limited background in your industry, if they have a go-getter attitude, you may find their services are worth investing in. You may have some unique technical challenges for them to wrestle with. If they appear willing, interested and enthusiastic about learning new solutions, they may be the right fit.
- Expect available service that will go above and beyond. A dependable partner will give 110 per cent every single time. At Forum, for example, we always seek to exceed our clients’ expectations. Since there’s no way to predict when a tech emergency may strike, we also believe in around-the-clock, year-round service with buzzer-beating response times. Ask your prospective MSP about their remote monitoring and how often they will be available to assist you in times of need.
- Search for a long-term commitment to growth and scalability. Don’t settle for a company that is stuck in the past or focused on increasingly obsolete technologies. Rather than only addressing former successes, your MSP should aim to discover new advances and prepare for future generations. That way, you can ensure out-of-date solutions won’t impede your future growth and success.
- Pay attention to the company’s qualifications, service options and contract terms. The ideal MSP for your needs will understand the software that is most widely acknowledged in your field, and they will have the right certifications to service these products. Additionally, their contract options, whether month-to-month or annual, will have your budget in mind to maximize your investment. Ask plenty of questions relating to their policies so you can make an informed decision.
To reap any of these benefits, however, you need to find a provider who will give you the attention you deserve and the reliable service that will help you accomplish your tasks unhindered. To do so, you need to know what to look for in an MSP partner you can trust.
Remember, finding the right MSP has everything to do with the approach the provider uses to help you operate most efficiently. If they are more interested in fixing problems than preventing them, you may want to continue your search elsewhere.