Have you ever had your Internet go out at work? Had an email application that stopped working, been unable to print or needed complex software set up to enable you to perform your job? We’ve all been in that situation – something breaks and you’re stuck, unable to work, either waiting for IT to free up or cold-calling IT providers to come on-site and troubleshoot.
Many small to medium-sized businesses regard IT as a necessary evil rather than a strategic advantage, and either have a minimal IT staff or simply rely on an hourly provider. This can be extremely frustrating to the employees whose day-to-day productivity is greatly affected by issues like those listed above.
What they don’t know about managed services
So, why is it so hard for a lot of decision-makers (DMs) to understand the importance of a robust IT infrastructure and support service?
- They’re removed from day-to-day IT issues facing users and/or an overloaded IT department. In many small businesses, the DMs for services and budgets wear many hats. They can be CEOs, CFOs, sales team members, marketing team members, etc., all rolled into one. This keeps a lot of DMs out of the office traveling, seeing clients and attending conferences and events. While they are probably involved when larger issues come up, they may not be aware of the smaller struggles happening in the office each day.
- They subscribe to the old break/fix mentality. For a lot of people, the need for IT only becomes apparent when an actual problem pops up. Something breaks, you find someone to fix it and that is the extent of your IT needs. This is a reactive mindset – something has to go wrong before any service is done, resulting in loss of productivity, dollars and even data while the issue is rectified. It’s a risky strategy, as most businesses are very dependent on technology and need reliability in terms of troubleshooting processes, cost and up-time.
- They don’t understand that managed services providers (MSPs) can save them money. Managed services providers work on a fixed rate, and while a lot of DMs might think “I don’t need someone to fix something every month, so I’ll be losing money,” IT is so much more than just fixing problems. It’s technology setup, user education and support, system upgrades, procurement, etc. Essentially, IT is a one-stop shop for an extremely wide range of skills that would be hard to find in one person with a salary cheaper than a yearly MSP would cost. On top of that, with an MSP, you don’t have any overhead associated with keeping that extra person on staff. (Stay tuned next month, when we’ll go in depth and break down the cost of an MSP versus in-house staff!)
- They think of MSPs as third parties versus partners. A lot of business-owners like a sense of propriety over their software, systems and information. When they think of a third-party vendor, they envision outsourcing a job, giving outside access to company information and getting a lower level of service in terms of knowledge and reactiveness. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As an MSP for 23 years, we consider ourselves true partners and extensions of our clients’ businesses. We strive to understand their goals and make recommendations to best enable them to get there. Most MSPs will give you package options ranging from remote to on-site so you can provide 24/7 support and have a real person right there when you need them.
- They are unaware of the value a team of experts can bring. A typical small business might have one to two IT staff members with a finite set of skills. An MSP will give you access to a staff 10 times the size, with certifications and experience in almost everything your business needs. MyITpros has a staff of 20 to 25, so when a client calls in, we have someone who can handle the problem nearly 100 percent of the time.
What to do about it
Whenever you’re presenting a business case, information is king. Most of the reasons mentioned above stem from a lack of knowledge around what an MSP is, costs or can really do for your business. Do your research, get quotes and talk to your local MSPs for information on their specific offerings.
The most important point to drive home is how beneficial proactive, long-term services are over the reactive break/fix model. (Check out a post from our president on the top 3 value adds of an MSP!)
If your DM is concerned about budgeting and money, a fixed subscription cost is much easier to manage than expensive, unplanned-for bills should a major issue or outage occur. In terms of pricing, MSPs will reduce costly break/fix on-site visits and tend to work out cheaper for small businesses than retaining in-house staff. What’s more, you cannot put a price on the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is proactively monitoring your business and anticipating your technology needs.
Rest assured that service quality will not suffer from using a third-party vendor. MSPs are there to be an extension of your company and work with you to support users 24/7, providing knowledge, recommendations and planning to help you reach your business goals.
The goal for this blog is to answer the questions you ask! Please contact us with questions, comments or if you are looking for more information around our services! If you are interested in getting a FREE assessment of your IT needs, let us know here!