I can’t tell you how many times I meet the IT staff at small to medium-sized businesses and they tell me their job makes them want to cry.
Or pull their hair out. Or bang their heads on the table. You get the picture. Last week, TechRepublic reported that 62% of employees consider IT the most problematic department in their organizations.
The problem is that IT departments at small companies face unrealistic expectations. They compete every day with Fortune 500 companies and have to be able to offer the same features for their customers that the giants do. But behind the scenes, expecting a small IT staff to offer all the service, support, security and expertise of a large corporation is just unfair.
IT Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
What’s the secret to eliminate the pain points and enable IT to be more effective and strategic? The answer is partnering with a Managed IT services provider, a cost-effective way to free-up skilled resources to accomplish business goals.
To move to a managed IT solution, two parties need to be on board. The first is obviously management. They write the checks. But the second is less obvious – it’s the IT department themselves.
You’d think something that makes life easier for someone would be an easy sell, but I find a lot of people think that wearing more hats means more job security.
The first question to ask when considering Managed IT is, “What is your current IT solution really costing your company, and how will it compare to Managed IT?” If you’re spending more time troubleshooting IT problems instead of focusing on mission-critical issues, consider the hourly wages and any lost productivity that’s spent fixing outdated computers, jammed printers, and sluggish networks.
I’ve heard some people say that small businesses don’t spend money on managed services. But according to the MSPAlliance, North American companies spend $154 billion on managed services, with small and medium-sized businesses among the top customers. Companies are learning that they can do more with less, and they don’t have to put their IT staff under unreasonable pressures to do it.
Managed services can deliver a wide variety of capabilities from cybersecurity, email and communications to cloud computing, storage, networking resources and mobility management. More importantly, providers can offer ongoing management and maintenance of the underlying infrastructure, service guarantees and end-user support. At the Gordon Flesch Company, we offer a vCIO, a dedicated IT professional who works with individual clients to solve their needs and IT emergencies.
Making Managed Services Work
There are several key attributes for a successful Managed IT relationship:
Tell them where it hurts. Figure out what the most damaging and costly problems are, such as security vulnerabilities or issues that cause the most downtime or inhibit productivity. Then, work with a Managed IT partner that can deliver a detailed solution tailored to these specific issues.
Look for a long-term relationship. A Managed IT provider does not just drop in once, install some equipment and then never return. Your provider should meet with you to review the implementation process and receive feedback. Regular reviews should be set up to discuss any developments that need attention, and communication lines should always remain open.
Choose a Managed IT partner who gets you. Every organization is unique, and so are its business challenges and opportunities. Make sure a Managed IT provider can prepare a detailed IT services solution that addresses your specific pain points, provides recommendations and includes flexible pricing options.
One-stop shopping. A comprehensive service portfolio means your company can have all of its needs met by working with one provider rather than dealing with multiple vendors, multiple contracts, and potentially incompatible hardware and software.
Make the most of your talent. The IT professionals I meet have a passion for technology. But they can be overwhelmed by the demands of the job, and their passion and talents go to waste while doing routine tasks like patching servers, installing security updates and other routine duties. Find a Managed IT solution that frees them up to do work that is strategic, helps grow your revenue, and hopefully makes them happier and more fulfilled.
To learn more about how your small or mid-sized business can improve your technology — and your IT department’s morale — access our free infographic, A Roadmap for Implementing Managed IT. It will walk you through what you can expect along the way. When you’re ready to explore more, reach out to us. We’re here to guide the way.