Whenever you make the decision to relinquish control there is an anxiety that you can’t ignore and IT buyers are no different. In the world of Managed IT Services, the outsourcing of day-to-day IT operations, professionals have to choose whether it makes more sense to focus on growing their business or building internal competencies around the technology that runs their business. We’ve found that these are the three most common concerns that keep professionals from sleeping well during the decision making process.
“How can you fix all my problems when you don’t have an onsite contact or a corporate office near my business?” We get this question a lot and it’s never easy to answer because like most people, we want someone or something that’s nearby if anything goes wrong. This is the same reason many IT professionals hesitate to move their server infrastructure out of the closet and into a datacenter even though it might reside under a commercial office sprinkler system. We know you like things nearby just in case but let me offer a different perspective.
First, we agree with you, everything cannot be solved remotely, but that doesn’t mean it could be solved by someone onsite. Take the simple example of a laptop with a failed hard drive. While having someone there to troubleshoot the problem may make you feel better it won’t change the outcome. More than likely you will need to order a new laptop, reimage it, and configure it for your environment. This same issue can be solved remotely in two ways. One way is to have a hot spare onsite and the other is to have your Managed IT Services provider overnight a replacement from their closest location. After all, they have more engineering resources and have regularly scheduled pick-ups from overnight carriers. Either way, the worst-case scenario is solved and you didn’t have to pay a premium for full-time onsite support or wait for an engineer to drive to your office.
Support of 3rd party Applications and Vendors
The next most common, and perhaps the most important, concern about using a Managed IT Service provider is the support of core business applications. While email, office, and windows are important, that’s not what we’re talking about here. These are the applications your accounting, sales, and development teams use to accomplish their daily tasks. For this concern, no two answers are the same because every company has a different set of applications, vendors, and systems. The best way to mitigate this concern is by choosing a Managed IT Services vendor that has experience supporting the same set of applications or has experience in your industry with similar applications.
Off Hours of Support
The third concern has multiple components so it is important for you to have the same definition of “support” as your vendor. Why is that so important? Well, if one vendor states they have 24×7 support but staffs level 1 engineers during off hours then your “support” will consist of someone walking you through a script and ending the call with “someone will get back to you in the morning.” We recommend address this in two stages, first you should evaluate if you really need 24×7 support for your users or if you need 7am to 6pm support for you business with “On Call” support for the remaining hours in the day. Depending on your answer to the previous questions you should select vendors that have level 1, 2, and 3 engineers on staff 24×7 and pay a premium, or you choose a vendor that has level 2 call back support during off hours.