August 18, 2022
Managing your Information Technology environment is often expensive and if you are trying to do it yourself, it is usually time-consuming. So, does your business need Managed IT services? Here are three things to consider:
- How much time and money are you spending on IT already?
- What kind of help would you need to manage your IT? And –
- What's the potential return on investment for managed IT services?
Weighing these factors will help you decide if managed IT is right for your business.
Technology is constantly evolving, and small businesses need to keep up with the latest trends to remain competitive. In this article, I will discuss the benefits of managed IT services and perhaps help you decide if it's the right decision for your business.
Let’s talk about ‘latest trends’ for a minute
I know that often your business operates on the edge of the precipice and sometimes finding ways to redirect your expenditures to a different way of doing something weighs heavily on your mind. So, when I mentioned keeping up with the 'latest trends' you probably flinched slightly or scoffed.
I wanted to clarify that statement.
The “latest trends” in IT are not the same as those in the new car or new clothes industries. Advancements in Information Technology are usually driven by either cost savings or improvements in methods and are frequently directly related to business goals. So, when evaluating the “latest trends” in this field your interests are best served by thoroughly evaluating what the proposed offer can really provide to you in your real circumstances. It is wise to leave no stone unturned in your evaluations because it is possible to find ‘gold nuggets’ that can bring you real solutions to improve your bottom dollar.
Since you are still with me, I assume you likely agree with this premise. So, let's continue with the discussion.
What is your need? Would Managed IT Services really be of benefit to my business?
How much time and money are you spending on IT already?
To answer this question, many small business operators or financial managers would pull out the calculator and go through the expense columns in their finance office. In 30 minutes to an hour they have summed up their total expenditures on IT over the last year or so.
- Server cost --- $xxx.xx
- Computer repair bills ---$xxxxx.xx
- Software licensing ---$xxxx.xx
- and so on, and so forth. Total = $xxxxx.xx
You are likely spending more time and money than you realize on your IT. The opportunity cost of not investigating ways to optimize your IT spending is very high. If you are like most small businesses, chances are you do not have a full-time IT staff. This means that every time something comes up, someone must drop what they are doing to fix the problem. This can lead to lost productivity and missed deadlines. This problem specifically is what drives small businesses like yours to address the issue we are reviewing today.
In addition, the cost of keeping up with technology can be expensive. Software licenses, hardware, and other associated costs can add up quickly. If you are not using your IT resources efficiently, you are likely wasting money.
Investing in managed IT services may help you save money.
What kind of help would you need to manage your IT?
If you are like most small businesses, you likely do not have the internal resources to manage your IT effectively. This is where managed IT services can be beneficial. Managed IT services can provide you with the expert support you need to keep your IT running smoothly. Managed IT services can help you with:
- Antivirus provisioning at the end-user and/or the server level
- Software licensing provisioning and/or monitoring
- End-User device and operational support
- Data management, data storage, and data backup
- Hardware preventive and corrective maintenance
- Network hardware management, maintenance, provisioning
- Operational management of cloud-based systems
- Monitoring and maintenance of infrastructure health
- Inter-office communications support
- Communications support and/or communications equipment support and provisioning
The list above is not all-inclusive. There may be and usually are many other variables and services that should be incorporated into your IT management strategy.
Let's get realistic about this.
Since I personally am in the business of delivering IT support, you might be saying to yourself, "This guy is trying to scare me or sell me his service. So, is this really viable information, or am I getting a sales pitch?"
Your company may not be a good fit for Managed IT support.
It has been my experience that more than 90% of very small business operators exploring this topic are looking because they are experiencing pain from a nuisance issue being encountered in their IT environment at their business.
Typical businesses with less than 12 employees and with existing annual IT budget expenses less than $5000 are not generally identified as a good fit for Managed IT support. Businesses in this category find that the list of services and support in the previous paragraph must be relegated to in-house staff or an IT support organization that offers a break-fix model of support to their customers because of the real cost of a managed IT support agreement. They just do not have the budget for it, so they decision is typically made to forego this contracted IT support.
However, if you are a small business similar to the one I just described, but are experiencing very rapid growth, Managed IT services may be for you. Or, if you cannot tolerate your current employees interrupting their productive hours by dealing with IT issues, you will often find incorporating a managed IT strategy into your business model is more efficient. These organizations will find the budget (typically around $1500-$2000 per month) within reason and that hiring a full professional support team at a cost usually less than hiring a full-time entry-level IT technician makes a lot more sense now.
Summarizing your needs
To determine if your business is a good fit for managed IT services, you will need to evaluate your current needs. Do you have the internal resources to support your IT? Do you have the time to support your IT? Does your current IT support solution fulfill all your needs?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then managed IT services may be a good fit for your business.
If you are operating with 20 or more computer users in your business or if you are operating from more than one location, you will find Managed IT Support of benefit.
If there have been significant changes in either your business growth or if some other influencing factor/s is inducing you to investigate this further, you should contact a reputable Managed IT service company to help you with your decision processes.
What's the potential return on investment for managed IT services?
There are many factors that can affect the potential return on investment (ROI) for managed IT services. The key is to understand how these services can help your business and then determine if the benefits outweigh the costs.
Some of the key benefits of managed IT services include:
- Increased efficiency: By outsourcing your IT needs to a team of experts, you can free up key personnel to focus on other areas of your business. (It is very common that key personnel are the typical go-to problem solver when IT issues arise. They are also typically your most costly staff assets.)
By relieving these key staff from this responsibility, your organization will realize increased efficiency and productivity across your company. A good series of related questions to ask yourself is:
- Which of my staff are often interrupted to deal with IT-related concerns?
- How much combined time do they spend daily removed from their primary tasks to resolve these IT-related concerns?
- Are these staff members typically able to resolve these concerns so they do not recur?
- If an outside company must be contacted to resolve these concerns, how much more time do these staff members have to expend to work with that company?
- Improved uptime: A good managed IT service provider will work to ensure that your systems are always up and running. As they bring the efficiencies of their processes to bear, your organization will experience less downtime and lost production due to technical issues. No one in an organization is left unaffected when downtime on a network occurs. End-users also will typically notice less downtime at their workstations.
- Improved productivity: By ensuring that systems are always up and running, managed IT services can help improve worker productivity and morale. When systems are down, workers cannot do their jobs. By keeping systems up and running, managed IT services providers can help improve worker productivity and your company’s income.
- Reduced distractions: Staff distractions are a bane to businesses with quotas or customer goal expectations. IT problems create extended distractions. Quality managed IT support will lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness across the organization and can improve your customer relationships.
- Increased security: Managed IT service providers often have access to the latest security technologies and can provide these solutions to their clients. This can help businesses keep their data safe and secure.
- Data security- this is a very deep and involved subject. I will address this issue further in upcoming articles. Data security can be the costliest concern for every business regardless of size.
Undoubtedly, your data is the single most valuable asset you own. Many bad actors would like to get their hands on your data, and if they do, it often leads to an entire business failure for their victim.
When it comes to data security, not all Managed IT Service providers are equal. There is rarely a one-size-fits-all answer to handling data security. If you are investigating services with a Managed Service Provider, you need to understand exactly how they plan to protect this resource.
Did this article help? What do you do next?
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. And, as a small business owner, you know that every penny counts. That’s why it’s important to weigh all your options when it comes to IT services.
Considering the discussion here, how much time and money you’re already spending on IT, and what kind of help you need to manage it will help you decide if managed IT services are right for your business.
If you have made your decision or need further assistance, Contact CITE today – we would be happy to help!