In today’s world, businesses like SMEs are relying heavily on technology and digital innovation to grow their business. But maintaining and investing in an internal IT environment is frustrating and costly; from ensuring the right people are in place with the right skill set, upholding productivity through collaborative tools, to keeping the organization online. Which is why business leaders want the confidence that their IT service is fully functional.
This is where an IT managed service provider (MSP) adds significant value to a business. Outsourcing IT to an MSP can offer organizations the necessary expertise and skills to maintain your “business as usual” IT environment and keep their workforce online and productive, enabling business leaders to focus on running the company.
But how do you know that the features of the service you are considering are truly of value to your particular business? Or how will be delivered and will it be delivered to the highest standard?
On paper, this sounds straightforward – connectivity, network monitoring, back-up and helpdesk support. Pretty standard, right?
Not quite; the standards of these “industry basics” vary considerably – leaving many businesses not receiving the value they expected or the added value that their competitors see.
It’s important to remember that best practice for delivering managed IT services is specifically not to deliver “one-size fits all” approach.
Your business is different from anyone else’s, so how can a “business as usual” service be universal?
While every managed IT service provider offers some level of service desk or helpdesk support, not every MSP will provide the level of support that your business operations require.
For example, a 9 am to 5 pm helpdesk support may not be sufficient for a company whose employees are dispersed across timezones. Businesses almost always identify this need and choose a provider accordingly. However, what many businesses often fail to consider and accommodate is the frequency with which their teams may operate outside normal hours, or how annual peaks may need additional support. For example, local accountancy firms that for eleven months of the year work standard hours, but in tax season work weekends and late nights. Running into a prohibitive IT issue on a Saturday morning that cannot be resolved until Monday could be disastrous. Companies such as this will only find value in an outsourced IT provider that can offer additional out-of-hours support to match those peak times.
Additionally, when choosing an IT service provider, remember to check their service desk response times and capabilities. One of the easiest ways for your frontline teams to become disenfranchised and frustrated is if they are left waiting for their support call to be answered. Or if their problem cannot be solved quickly. Most users’ queries will be relatively simple after all, such as password resets, software updates and device settings.
Two good rules of thumb to measure any potential provider against is whether 80% or more of inbound calls are answered within 90 seconds and whether their “first call resolution” rate is above or below 85%. Read more about helpdesk support in our white paper here.
Disaster Recovery and Back-Ups
Out-of-date back-ups can be dangerous.
The obvious threat is that they can leave your business unprotected should a disaster occur. The threat that few realise though – or pay enough attention to – is that it is often a regulatory requirement to have suitable back-ups in place. Financial services, in particular, has stringent requirements on this point, as do most industries where sensitive consumer data is routinely gathered and processed.
A back-up service is therefore only valuable if it meets your specific needs, which requires a provider to be able to advise you according to your specific operational circumstances, your industry and your regulatory requirements.
Clearly, there is a lot more to maintaining “business as usual” than many believe. In fact, there is far more value to be gathered from an IT Managed Services partnership than just IT upkeep.
We’ve compiled the most comprehensive collection of potential benefits to outsourcing IT ever released – all 101 of them. Take a look at our deeper examination of maintaining business as usual, and the other benefits of outsourcing your IT by downloading our guide, here.
Or alternatively, read our blog series on The 101 Benefits of IT Managed Services.