Partnering with a Managed Service Provider can be an effective way to take the headache out of IT problems and improve both day-to-day and long-term efficiency. However, it’s important to take the time to find a partner that matches your needs, or it will be more of a hindrance than a help.
Where to Take Your IT Needs
Companies that handle IT needs on a contract basis are typically referred to as Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
When thinking about outsourcing, many people think of handing IT over to a large corporation. However, this is not always the case. Many MSPs are small or medium size businesses, and may also specialize in helping SMB themselves.
In addition, some MSPs are entirely focused on providing IT products and support, while other companies can offer them alongside a larger suite of consulting and management services. If you are looking for a partner to manage more than IT, these multifaceted providers can be an ideal solution.
How They Can Help
The primary advantage of working with an MSP is that you get the services of an entire IT team without having to hire or manage additional staff. Many MSPs offer 24/7 coverage, so you have access to support whenever you need.
By working with an MSP, you can get regular maintenance and support for the latest productivity tools. Many of these tools, like Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Creative Cloud, are cloud-based, which improves efficiency and gives you greater flexibility in how you work.
MSPs cover a wide array of IT tasks, and there’s often considerable variation in contracts even within one company’s client base. Common services include:
- Basic proactive maintenance of hardware and software (updating antivirus, renewing licenses, hardware repair, etc)
- Help Desk support
- Front-end or back-end web design and website maintenance
- Building and supporting custom applications
- Projects outside the skill set of in-house IT
- IT strategy consulting
How They Can Hurt
As we discussed recently, outsourcing any part of your business processes is not without risk. For example, 24/7 support may sound good, but your staff may be frustrated when they have to call a number instead of reach out to a coworker to address their problems.
When problems require an on-site visit, you must often wait for a technician to travel to you, which can incur additional charges on your monthly bill.
In fact, if you don’t take the time to find an IT plan that matches your needs, you can end up having more than one unexpected charge.
Fortunately, most of these issues can be avoided by taking the time to find a service provider that integrates well with your company’s culture, needs, and goals.
How to Make It Work for You
With the plethora of MSPs in the market, finding the right one can be a time-consuming task. One way to shorten it is to get a clear idea of your needs and goals before beginning the search. Then use these as a grading rubric when looking at MSPs.
For your current IT needs, ask yourself questions like:
- What are your most common IT problems?
- How much productivity do these problems cost you?
- Are you subject to data privacy or security regulations?
- Are you willing to invest in new hardware if needed? How much?
Then think about what you want your business to achieve in the next few years. Defining these goals will help you assess if an MSP can meet your future needs.
Consider factors such as:
- Do you want to add additional staff members? How many?
- Will you need to move to different premises to accommodate your growth targets?
- If you have more than one location, will you need secure inter-office connectivity?
- How much will you expand your client/customer base?
Once you’re ready, we invite you to start with the IT services provided by Watermark Ventures. By partnering with our experts, you’ll benefit from a crack IT team that truly understands and cares about your goals. When you’re ready to expand, we make scaling up simple and painless. In the meantime, we’ll ensure your IT operates smoothly and efficiently, leaving you to focus on the important things.