Wondering if your small business needs the benefits of a managed IT service provider is like asking if you need a guide to scale Mount Everest. Theoretically, you could do the climb yourself but how many years would it take for you to gather all the knowledge you need about the terrain? And how long would it take to get your technical skills up to the level that they need to be? And what’s it going to take to manage the whole expedition?
By the time you get it all together you might very well have missed your chance to achieve the summit. You’ll be left with regrets about sacrifices that you endured while you were struggling towards an ever-elusive goal.
That’s how it is for business leaders when they’re overseeing the IT function of their business. There certainly are those executives who have the aptitude to get the required technical skills and could build a sizeable knowledge base in IT. A much better experience and faster results are more attainable when they have a guide.
Before we go any further, let’s make sure that our definition is the same.
Managed IT services is an approach to technology management that includes both proactive and reactive activities that are focused on creating reliable, secure technology that enables business operations and sparks innovation. Services are delivered for a flat monthly fee by an experienced team of technology professionals who bring all the IT specialties needed to run your business, including expert IT guidance to help you plan and budget for the future.
Going back to our analogy, do you see that both the journey and the destination are important? It’s the same when you’re talking about IT management. And just like insisting on hiking without a guide can hold back the success of a mountain climber, if you operate your modern business without an IT guide you may never get to the summit that you envisioned.
Following are three ways that managed IT services help you along your business journey:
1. The Destination = Enable Your Goals
The goal of a managed service provider (MSP) is to enable your success. MSPs are equipped to help you use technology to go where you want to go with your business. Just like a mountain guide knows which equipment will perform the best, which trails are the most direct, and what dangers to avoid, an MSP brings benefits that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Here’s what the role of the guide looks like in terms of managed IT services.
Stay Up to Date with Technology
An MSP has a team that encompasses multiple IT disciplines. These full-time IT professionals are constantly building their skills through experience and training. You benefit from their knowledge as they apply best practices to prevent issues, stabilize your network, and improve productivity.
Improve Business Operations
Predictable technology leads to improved and cost effective operations. Instead of being slowed down and frustrated by technology that holds them back from doing their best work, your people are empowered. When your people can do their jobs better, both employee and customer satisfaction go up.
Leverage New Technology
Once your network is up to date and operating predictably, an MSP can help you to adopt new technology that can give you a competitive advantage. Not only will they help you determine which technologies are right for you, they should have a project team that will plan and implement the technology while minimizing disruption to your business.
Manage Business Risks
In a world of increasing cyber threats, your business sustainability depends on effective cyber risk management. Cybersecurity is a discipline of its own and an MSP will have a team that is keeping up with evolving trends. By following their recommendations for network security, you’ll be able to defend against intruders and build resilience.
2. The Path Towards Your Business Goals = IT Strategy
There’s a lot about IT management that involves standardization and the application of best practices, but that doesn’t mean that managed IT services are delivered like an assembly line. Each organization is at a different level of IT maturity and has different needs. That’s where IT strategy comes in.
An MSP will provide clients with the services of a vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) who will learn about their business and work alongside them to build an IT roadmap. The roadmap provides a high level view of where the business is going, and lead the organization along a path of IT maturity that represents the most direct path to their goals.
The ability to plan out IT improvements gives you the ability to budget too. Keep in mind that when you first get started, there may be some investments that you need to make upfront that are imperative to the stability and security of your IT network.
3. Traveling Along the Trail = Technology Experience
The experience that your people and customers have with technology matters. It’s like the difference between having fruit snacks for dessert versus deep dish apple cobbler baked in the coals of your campfire when you’re out on the trail.
Working with an MSP provides everyone with a better technology experience because instead of being distracted and spinning their wheels, they’re enabled. Everyone can focus on their job role instead of having to wait for IT to fix their problems or end up finding their own workarounds.
Additionally, when you work with an MSP you no longer have the responsibility for hiring, training and retaining IT staff. You don’t have to be in the IT business as well as the business that you choose to be in.
Choosing the Right Technology Guide
You have options when it comes to choosing a managed IT services guide to help you along your business journey. The right guide will bring you the benefits that are outlined here. Choosing the wrong guide will end up in disappointment.
At Bellwether you’ll find the guides who are experienced at leading organizations along their path to success again and again. Our approach to technology management is based on proactive tactics that create predictable technology, prevents problems before they happen, and provides reactive services so people get help when they need it.
The result is that our clients find that their operations are improved, and their goals enabled, all while their people enjoy a great technology experience.
Sound like the kind of technology guide you need? Contact us to schedule a consultation.