Your 6-Part Guide to Managed Services

You’ve probably heard buzzwords like “managed IT services” or “managed service providers” — but you may not completely understand what the business benefits of managed services are. So, let’s take a quick look.

We know your small business in Cleveland, Ohio needs the support and we want to provide that education so you can understand the benefits of Managed IT Services for your small business.

Here’s the 6-part guide to Managed Services:

1. WHAT ARE MANAGED SERVICES?

Managed services are a way to outsource IT operations to specific and experienced service providers. In many cases, a managed service provider (MSP) assumes full responsibility for a company’s IT (in other cases, only certain facets of their infrastructure).

Initially, businesses only relied on break-fix services instead of managed services. A break-fix service provider may have been a group of self-taught technicians who built temporary fixes for recurring IT issues.

2. WHY BREAK-FIX NO LONGER WORKS

With break-fix services, technicians come in, address the current problem, and fix it. Although they fix your current issue, they never take a deeper look to address underlying problems (that is … unless you pay for the service at an hourly rate).

As a result, their solutions rarely include future needs. And what’s worse is that these “quick fixes” may end up causing more issues down the line. This is because the break-fix technician might simply put a band-aid on a much deeper issue.

3. THE BENEFITS OF MANAGED SERVICES

Managed services emerged once IT experts realized a need for much more strategic IT solutions. With so many devices, solutions, and varying technologies within one infrastructure, IT has become very difficult to manage internally. As a result, managed services were born, and businesses everywhere have started to realize its inherent advantages over break-fix services.

Here are 5-benefits of Managed IT Services over break-fix services and why Streamline Technology Group excels in this area:

A high-quality Managed Services Provider (MSP) can mean the difference between making your budget targets or not. Between helping your team thrive and just keeping up. Between taking advantage of emerging technology or being passed by competitors. Between IT being a cost center or a competitive advantage.

Streamline Technology Group can help relieve your team of mundane tasks and allow them to focus on innovation and new initiatives. Or we can provide a full Strategic IT Plan. Streamline Technology Group can fill expertise gaps and help provide 24/7/365 coverage.

If you’re considering engaging an MSP, or even if you’ve considered it in the past, here are five things to think about:

1. Manage Employee Costs & Secondary Costs

Obviously, many organizations outsource to MSPs as part of an overall plan to reduce staffing levels or overtime—or to avoid adding new hires to the budget. Beyond the cost of the salaries, it is important to also calculate the cost of onboarding, benefits, space, equipment, as well as initial and ongoing training. Your organization runs on a complex ecosystem of software and hardware. To hire, retain and maintain all those skills on your in-house team can be prohibitively expensive.

  2. Flex & Scale

Every business experiences some amount of workflow that is often hard to predict. An MSP can provide the additional resources you need when you experience times of growth. It can also help you respond to special projects such as upgrades, new software evaluations and implementations, providing help desk support, responding to senior management requests and, most important, developing innovations that add value for your internal and external customers. All of these things are hard to make time for when your team is already stretched just to keep the business up and running.

3. Improve Security

A high-quality MSP can bring industry best practices to your organization, helping you to protect your priceless data from costly errors and data breaches. Good MSPs excel at helping you protect your data and infrastructure, minimize downtime and recover quickly from disasters. Protecting your data also means protection from the potentially devastating costs of liability suits and enforcement issues in regulated industries.

4. Access Up-to-date Skills

Because MSPs are focused solely on IT, they often can attract and retain some of the best talent in the market. They invest heavily in training, and their relationships with hardware and software vendors allows them quickly to get up to speed on the latest technology so they can deploy and support it for you.

5. Cross-Pollinate

Because MSPs work with many kinds of businesses—inside and outside of your industry—they have the ability to learn from the innovations or even mistakes made by other industries. They can bring a wealth of outside knowledge to help you thrive.

Whether you have considered outsourcing some or all of your IT functions to an MSP in the past, or if this is your first time, this is a topic that certainly merits serious research and consideration at least annually. For many organizations, the advantages of working with an MSP, like Streamline Technology Group, far outweigh the effort. Just remember that all MSPs are not created equally. Make sure the MSP you choose has the size, in terms of staffing and financial resources, to meet your needs, that they have expertise with the software and hardware they will be supporting, and that they have contracting options that meet your needs. IT can and should be viewed as a source for innovative business process automation and improvement, a value-add and a competitive advantage. The right MSP can help you make that happen in your organization quickly and affordably.

4. PRICING FOR MANAGED SERVICES

Managed services are not quick fixes but rather, long-term business solutions. This is important in a changing business climate where there are technological advances and ever-evolving cyber threats.

Creating a long-term partnership with your MSP can help establish long-term commitments, shared values, and consistencies. MSPs offer reliable IT solutions for your business, and pricing typically varies based on your “package.” This price will be weighted based on business size, industry, type of equipment, number of users, and more — but they’re almost always delivered at a flat, monthly rate.

5. ARE MANAGED SERVICES RIGHT FOR YOU?

MSPs can help your organization successfully pull off IT upgrades, cloud initiatives, and infrastructure expansions or renovations. They can provide your team with the hands-on support, expert advice, and strategic guidance you need to run your business efficiently.

This being said, if your company is on the hunt for a dedicated IT support outlet, then you need a managed services provider.

6. WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID BARGAIN SHOPPING FOR IT SUPPORT

Quick fixes typically do not address underlying issues and hidden network problems — which means you should avoid bargain shopping for IT support and invest in a long-term IT partnership.

Be careful with break-fix providers and “dial-in” services that offer preventative one-time services and 24-hour technical support. Your network may do better with consistent and dedicated network monitoring and automated problem resolution — especially if you’re working in a heavily regulated industry.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

If you think managed services might be right for your business, then why not do a little more research? Check out why Businesses & Non-Profit Organizations Need to Plan to Handle Security Breaches

Ready to give Streamline Technology a call? We understand the close relationship between IT and your bottom line. Contact us today through our website or directly (330) 558-1097