When Is Your Business Ready For Managed Services?

When Is Your Business Ready For Managed Services?

If you are a small business owner and considering whether or not managed services will benefit your company, the answer is almost always- yes. There is little doubt that most small businesses can benefit from managed services, yet that in itself does not always justify the cost of bringing on a third party provider. Accepting that managed services providers can offer solutions to common problems found in small business operation, the real question is when does it make sense to switch from in house IT solutions to the next level which includes managed services.

There is a good chance if you are already considering managed services the time might be near when you are ready to make the switch. Small business owners do not have the luxury of a never ending IT budget, therefore it is very important to recognize when your current IT management is no longer cost effective. For most small businesses this occurs when the business grows to the point of needing either a contract with a local service provider who is “on call” for IT needs or hiring a full time IT person to remain on staff. There is of course another option for small business owners to consider and that is hiring a managed services provider to oversee their IT needs.

If you are still unsure that your business is ready for the switch, ask yourself the following questions;

  • Network or system keep going down, failing on you ?
  • Recurring IT Issues ?
  • Taking a long time to resolve and recover from IT Issues ?
  • Your current IT cant support your company operations ?
  • IT employee issues with retraining or rehiring ?
  • Your IT employee or provider doesnt seem to know what to do ?
  • Dont feel you are getting the value for what you are paying for ?
  • Slow and unresponsive IT Provider ?
  • Your Company failed your IT Audit ?
  • Unable to focus on your company’s core competencies due to ongoing IT issues ?
  • There’s no IT Strategy Plan to achieve your business goals ?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then your business is ready for managed services.

Now that you have determined managed services are right for your business, the next challenge is finding the right provider of these services. This is a decision that should not be made lightly or rushed as the wrong provider can end up costing your company more money than your current situation. Before you begin the search for a managed services provider you should first consider your IT budget as well as issues or problems you want to be addressed. It is important to remember that managed services are not a one-size-fits-all type of solution to business problems. Each business and industry has their own issues to contend with and a qualified managed services provider will work with you to find the solutions that will benefit your company the most. If a potential provider is more intent on selling you services and not listening to the needs of your business, move on to another provider who is willing to listen to your concerns and offer customized solutions that address these needs. The point of outsourcing your IT management is to save money while freeing up time to focus on other business operations. For this reason it pays to put forth the effort to find the best managed services provider to oversee your technology needs.

Making The Switch To Managed Services

Making The Switch To Managed Services

When the time comes to make the switch to managed services, it is important to know what you are looking for from a provider. As most business owners have or are beginning to realize, there are plenty of benefits that can be realized by bringing on a managed services provider to address IT and other needs. In order to get the most from your managed services contract you must carefully compare all potential providers to ensure they are willing and able to provide the services you need to keep your business moving forward in the future. If your managed services provider cannot supply the following three things (at minimum) keep looking until you find a company that addresses these issues.

  • Security- The managed services provider that you choose should work with vendors that guarantee security. This is imperative when trusting an outside party to handle and maintain private and confidential data that is crucial to the running of your business. Service providers should provide detailed proof of security procedures as well as how they intend to keep abreast of changes in the industry.
  • Recovery- Managed services providers are not only contracted to help keep the day-to-day running of your business going smoothly. They are also an important part of any recovery situation that follows a natural or man made disaster. It is important to discuss with potential providers what procedures they have in place to guarantee your downtown will be minimal and that you will be up and running as soon as possible after an emergency. These precious minutes and hours can make or break the recovery of your business.
  • Customer Service- As with any other business, if there is no customer support backing up the products or services, there isn’t much of a commitment from the provider.

Why are these three things important? To understand you must consider the managed services model. Managed services providers are hired by a company to provide any or all of the following services:

  • website hosting
  • network monitoring
  • network security
  • remote data backup
  • recovery services

Originally these services were provided to large corporations while small to medium size companies struggled to maintain an IT budget that was often more expensive then beneficial. Managed services providers charge a flat, or monthly fee, making it possible for smaller businesses to reap the benefits offered at a much lower price than in-house IT staff or outsourcing on an as needed basis.

The managed services platform continues to grow as many businesses look for ways to reduce costs in this tough economy. By offering technological services that might otherwise be beyond the reach of a small business budget, managed services make it possible for smaller businesses to remain competitive with others in their industry. Small business owners must take the time to carefully review and research each provider before signing on the bottom line. A good managed services provider can change the way you do business- in a positive direction, whereas the wrong choice could be a costly mistake that does more harm than good to your business.