The demand for outsourced IT Managed Services is unarguably on the rise.
SMEs, in particular, are tired of worrying that their IT environment is inefficient, outdated, vulnerable and/or costly. Moreover, they are frustrated that the business lacks the skills to fix it.
Hiring new IT resource will rarely be an option as the growing complexity of the role is driving up salaries, which makes outsourcing your IT to a suitable managed service provider (MSP) the logical, economical choice.
So far, so typical.
But if this is the first time you have looked at outsourcing your IT, how do you make sure that the provider you choose will deliver value? Alternatively, if you have already found an MSP, how can you check that the contract is delivering all the value that it could?
The trick in either situation is knowing what is possible.
Partnering with an IT MSP is not a “one size fits all” scenario. Finding the right one for you depends on what’s important to your business and what you want to gain from the relationship. At face value, most IT service providers can deliver the same three benefits:
- access to specialist skills
- reducing costs
- delivering helpdesk support
And, while these three are valuable to any business, the most value comes from a service that is specific to your needs. But when the MSP market has preached only the same three benefits for so long, how can you know what else is possible, and therefore where you can look for extra value?
We’ve taken a look at how our IT Managed Services support our clients and have identified 101 different benefits, categorised into nine areas of value.
Seriously. 101 different benefits!
That’s a few more than the three that most IT support companies will tell you about.
Clearly, not all our customers experienced – or even required – all 101. However, you can use this analysis to identify what could be possible from an IT Managed Services relationship and then choose what you need, and find the provider who can best deliver on them.
The nine categories of value are laid out below, or you can take a look at our visualization to see them all together, and all the 101 benefits that sit underneath them.
The most common requirement of an outsourced IT partner. A standard service will include maintenance and monitoring of your connectivity, back-ups and network, plus the provision of a helpdesk for your users.
But does the standard service meet your business’ needs? Do the helpdesk hours match yours? Do you use specific applications that you’ll need the provider to maintain? Is the back-up restoration process fast enough for your needs?
Read more about maintaining your business as usual here.
The thought of external threats breaching the network and compromising the business’ data, or its customers’ data, keeps many business owners awake at night.
But aside from the technology deployments, how else might an MSP support your data security? How can they help make data security and protection part of the culture?
The obvious financial benefits of an MSP are in removing hiring costs while still giving you access to the skills you need. But financial value can also come from the bundling of multiple suppliers into single bundles and the predictability of the overall service cost. Not to mention the reduction in administration.
A valuable service provider will not only be able to understand your company as it is today, but also your ambitions for the future. Such a team will recommend relevant technologies that are truly beneficial, appropriate to your market and goals, and ensure that your infrastructure is capable of taking them on.
Many MSPs will be able to support your move into the cloud. However, their approach will often be a simple one-size-fits-all deployment. But what if your business goals are best served by a hybrid cloud, which the MSP is not suitably skilled in? Or if you have proprietary applications that are not easily migrated? If cloud migration is on your agenda, or your current cloud environment is in any way non-standard, you will need to choose a service provider with very specific, and uncommon, experience.
Can your provider support your compliance requirements as easily as your network? These could be industry-specific regulations, such as in financial services and construction, or they could be international data privacy laws. Whatever the requirements that apply to your business, your IT service provider needs to not only ensure your IT adheres to them today, but also advise you on how to maintain ongoing compliance into the future.
If your business is planning a major transformation such as an acquisition or a cloud migration, you will need specific skill sets to support you. IT project management, cloud management, network diagramming or systems integration to name only a few. But not every MSP will be able to accommodate. Identify what you need and choose accordingly.
Look beyond the basics of making sure your workforce’s tools are always operational and accessible. Productivity is about more than maintaining the status quo – how can you boost output? What other tools might your business benefit from using, and are you able to take advantage?
Finally, what opportunities do new technologies open up to you? Which are you interested in investigating the potential of? Or do you need a supplier who knows your business and industry well enough to make recommendations?
Our ultimate guide to IT Managed Services benefits includes all 101 possible areas of value. It is the most comprehensive assessment of IT Managed Services advantages ever created and is designed to help you work out what you need from a provider and to find the one that fits the bill.