“If they only knew what they were missing.”
How many times have you heard that said about somebody who by being locked into old ways of doing something missed fantastic opportunities to improve their lives, meet new people, get more customers, make or save more money or gain new insights? Probably plenty of times.
Well, if your company is not using some form of managed IT services, they’re probably saying it about you.
According to a recent study released by CompTIA, the IT industry’s trade association, only about 30 percent of all companies use some form of managed IT services, and nearly all of those companies are extremely satisfied with the services they are getting.
The obvious conclusion from those survey numbers is that the 70 percent of companies that don’t put MSPs in charge of some or all of their IT operations would also find value in managed service providers, but “they don’t know what they’re missing.”
An Education Problem Regarding Managed Service Providers
In other words, CompTIA has documented an education problem: Most companies don’t know what they’re missing in terms of the value of managed IT services because providers haven’t done a good enough job of educating the market.
OK, so what is the real value of a company bringing in managed IT services provider to take over some, a lot or all of its IT functions? The answer comes in multiple parts:
- Using an MSP gives companies easy, affordable and flexible way to access new technologies quickly. Contracting an MSP to provide IT capabilities your company doesn’t already have gives your company fast access not only to new technology it could take a year or more to deploy using your own team, but it also gives you access to MSP staff who already are experienced experts. Two-thirds of those companies who already use MSPs for some portion of their IT work told CompTIA that accessing new technologies quickly and affordably was a primary reason for outsourcing.
- MSPs can lower both your long-term investment costs and your operating costs. Using an MSP gives companies the flexibility to test new technologies and new approaches without making long-term investments. The CompTIA survey showed 57 percent said saving money was a major reason they engaged an IT managed services partner for at least part of their IT work. There’s no need to sink big dollars into new or expanded data centers and equipment – and take on the associated debt burden – or to hire lots more expensive IT workers. MSPs already have the equipment and staff, the cost of which is spread over their entire customer base.
- Engaging an MSP can allow your company to explore new approaches and technologies without high risk. Not sure cloud storage or virtualization is right for your company? Take one or both of those approaches for a one- or two-year spin via an MSP to see how it drives. Limit the scope to only a few accounts, or to just a single new product or service line. See how quickly it can be deployed and adapted to your company’s specific needs and goals. And see how fast that business grows. Chances are that after your test drive you’ll shift more of your existing – and any additional new IT workload to MSPs.
- MSPs can free up your top managers and most creative people to focus on the core business – not technology worries. By turning over some or all of your company’s IT burden to an MSP, you and your people are freed from having to perform meticulous oversight of your IT functions and the need to figure out ways to work around the limitations of your current, aging IT systems, so that you can do what you do best.
- Working with an MSP exposes your entire workforce to new technologies, methods and approaches. That can challenge managers and workers to learn new things, which in turn, should lead to their discovery of new and better ways to do their existing work more efficiently and effectively.
- Using MSPs also tend to improve companies’ overall IT performance and reliability. Typically, network uptime is increased. Network security is improved. Reliability is improved by using new, state-of-the-art hardware and software. And the ability to flex IT capacity up – or down – to address seasonality, changes in the market, and future needs becomes a simple matter.
Does that mean using managed service providers is the right was to go for every company in every circumstance? No, of course not. But such third-party providers increasingly are becoming great enablers of growth and cost control for small and midsize businesses, especially those struggling to keep up with well-funded, larger competitors.