Could Your Organization Benefit From Utilizing Managed IT Services?
Companies offering managed IT services are often referred to as managed service providers, or MSPs. They maintain a staff of highly skilled and experienced technology specialists that is shared by their clients, thereby eliminating or reducing the need for their clients to seek out and hire their own personnel during the worsening shortage.
The level of services provided by the MSP can vary. For example, a client may have a limited on-site IT support staff to provide desktop and local network support and may contract with the MSP to manage the data center, backups, etc. Alternatively, the client may enter into a full-service agreement with the MSP to meet all its IT needs. The duties and responsibilities agreed upon by the parties are spelled out in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA also defines the length of the agreement and the fee structure, which is usually a flat monthly rate that may be significantly less than the cost the client would incur when hiring and maintaining its own IT staff and supporting its own technology resources.
The advent and explosive growth of cloud computing has facilitated the expansion of MSPs, allowing them to provide services outside of their regions and to grow their client lists.
THE INITIAL TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT
A quality MSP will perform an initial assessment of a new client’s technology resources as a proactive measure to ensure that the client has the right toolset to effectively support business operations. The MSP should also determine whether these technology assets are being put to their highest and best use. This type of assessment and evaluation helps to ensure that clients are not unnecessarily spending money on resources that aren’t right for the job and that the resources they do have are sufficient.
During the initial assessment, the MSP will likely identify issues that need to be addressed. If they do, the MSP will prioritize these issues and begin working to resolve them.
The MSP will, of course, provide continuing support of the client’s technology resources to the degree specified in the SLA, resolving issues as they arise. A quality MSP will also continuously reevaluate and reassess the client’s environment and technology needs. As businesses grow and technology advances, needs and best options change. Maintaining the same technology toolset over the long-term usually isn’t a good solution. The client’s resources need to grow and evolve with the business. This is where the combined knowledge and skillsets of the MSP staff are perhaps most valuable.
Quality MSP staffers know their clients’ businesses, goals, and technology toolsets. They provide clients with information about potential options and solutions as needs arise, make recommendations, and answer their clients’ questions. With the right information and recommendations from teams of trusted experts, MSP clients can confidently make the best decisions regarding the evolution of their technology environments.
MSP staffers must also be compliance experts. If their clients’ businesses are subject to industry regulation, the MSP must ensure that they are in compliance and that they remain so. The burden of complying with regulatory requirements can be substantial, so having the MSP assume the compliance role can yield substantial benefits and save the business from incurring fines and dealing with sanctions.
Clients who entrust the management of their technology resources to a quality MSP often find that the substantial workload assumed by that MSP frees up valuable time for them to devote to other facets of their businesses, like fostering growth and improving services. They may realize significant cost savings and, as a result of paying a predictable monthly fee, are less likely to be confronted with unexpected expenses. They no longer need to search for the right employees among an ever-shrinking pool of skilled technology experts. Their MSPs address the issues as they arise, plan for future changes in their technology environments, and ensure ongoing compliance with any applicable regulatory requirements. Quality MSP staffers take the time to do the research and find the best solutions to meet their clients’ ever-changing technological needs. Perhaps it’s time for your organization to consider the MSP model.