It wasn’t that long ago that being in IT meant that you were part of a corporate IT team, and bigger was better. Huge implementation projects in the data center and ERP projects that took years to roll out were signs of a good, healthy IT department. Things have changed in a very short time.
My colleagues in the technology industry often tell me they enjoy their work because it is constantly changing; the job never gets boring or redundant. However, the pace of change has accelerated over the past couple of years, which has knocked many IT pros to the ground and left them struggling to get up and stay up.
The other thing I have noticed is that the need for innovative technology has trickled down to the small and medium-sized business (SMB) marketplace. This leaves the SMB CEO with the challenge of determining how to afford enterprise level technology within the nimble, flexible business model of an SMB.
No matter what size your business is, everyone is trying to figure out not only how to keep up with technology, but how to leverage it better to create or retain a competitive advantage. This is where managed services can come into play.
Today, almost any service you need is offered as a managed service. Managed service providers deliver a service required by your business under a defined contract with service level agreements. We initially saw this in the IT infrastructure area, but the scope of managed services has now expanded to include all areas of technology. So, the big question is when should you consider leveraging it and for what. Below are a few key reasons to consider managed services over a DIY strategy:
Focus on your Core Business – If you are lucky enough to have a robust IT department, you should be focusing them on how IT can help you meet business goals, which is most likely doing something to improve the customer experience or helping employees be more productive. Being really good at running servers, networks, and email is not enough to give you the technology edge you need.
Reduce the To-Do List – What does your IT project to-do list look like? How long does it take to get something on that list done? Expanding your team with a managed services partner could help work through the project list much faster.
Lack of Skill Sets – With technology changing so rapidly, how are you keeping up with the skills needed for new technology releases? Is that even possible at your current staff levels? Managed service providers give you access to the advanced skills you need and allow you to leverage that expertise in a shared resource model, meaning you only have to pay for a portion of what each skill set actually costs to acquire.
Improved Customer Satisfaction – How do internal employees feel about your IT staff? If you have an IT staff or the proverbial “IT guy” that is trying to do everything, chances are good that things are not getting done with customer satisfaction in mind. Managed services allow you to deliver better service through service level agreements. This simple move can increase customer satisfaction right away.
Make sure you think carefully about what you have to gain from leveraging managed services against how much it costs. Often, the gains will quickly justify any cost and get you moving in the right direction.