Our current economic decline has business owners looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing the quality of services they receive. The concept of outsourcing to local companies has been around for a long time. And now more than ever, businesses are warming up to the idea of outsourcing their IT support to a trusted local technology partner.
Outsourcing makes sense for work that requires a special skill-set outside the core skill-set of the business and/or work that is needed on a temporary or on-demand basis. Most small and mid-sized businesses outsource tasks like bookkeeping/accounting, billing, legal, and even HR/hiring.
When you think about your company’s IT needs, it can easily fit into the same model as these. A company of 20 employees needs their computers to be just as reliable as a company of 2000 employees. They need their computers to work at peak performance with little or no downtime. And when something goes awry, they need someone to get things working right away. But a company of 20 can’t afford to pay a systems engineer $70,000 a year, especially when the job may only require 15 hours of work per week. Finding a highly skilled part-timer willing to work 15 hours a week is difficult. Even so, how do you choose which 15 hours they should work? Murphy’s Law dictates that the computers are most likely to fail on the day that the IT person is not in. You need your IT person to be available on-demand. That’s where outsourcing your IT may be a good idea.
What is Outsourced IT?
This can come in several flavors. At the lowest end, you have a tech guy on-call that responds quickly when you have a problem. We call this “break/fix” work. Unfortunately, this is what many young businesses think IT support is all about—fixing things when they break. As these companies grow and mature, eventually they will have a problem that takes several days to fix, and possibly weeks to fully recover from. The experience nearly puts them out of business. At this, they learn that keeping systems running reliably with little or no downtime is more important and cost-effective than simply fixing things when they break.
At a higher level are managed service providers. MSPs generally have the tools and resources necessary to proactively monitor and maintain systems to significantly reduce downtime. Sure we fix things when they break, but our primary focus is on preventing things from breaking. This is the type of outsourced IT you should look for.
Not All MSPs Are Created Equal
There are a lot of choices out there. Many break/fix tech guys have jumped on the MSP bandwagon, billing themselves as managed service providers. They’ll charge a monthly fee to maintain your network. But when you delve into what they actually do, often you’ll find it’s little more than just stopping by once a month to apply some patch updates and pick up their check. The better ones use technology to maintain technology. Remote monitoring and maintenance tools enable us to act quickly and perform maintenance and remediation services remotely whenever possible. Staffed with systems engineers monitoring your network 24 hours a day, our network operations center is watching the health of your network. And for fast end-user support, our help desk staff are standing by waiting for your call. For the tech-guy-turned-MSP, you just have to hope he has his cell phone on and is not on another job site. So when moving from in-house to outsourced IT, make sure you choose a good MSP.
The Cost of Outsourcing IT
If you currently have a single in-house IT employee, full-time or part-time, we’ve found we can usually cut your cost in half, while providing better service. We don’t take vacations or sick time. We don’t ask you to pay for our training. We don’t complain about doing the tasks we don’t like to do. We have a wide range of skills—more than what one single person would have. We also have monitoring and maintenance tools and a team of support people that the single tech guy doesn’t have. This means we work more efficiently, getting things done quicker and at a lower cost.
Maybe you already have a full-time IT department that you’d like to keep, but you’re thinking they can benefit from a little outside help. Our tools, our ops center and our help desk might be a good addition to your existing IT team. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing deal. We can provide the services that your existing team is not equipped to provide or does not want to provide. Menial repairs and end-user support are typical tasks that IT departments prefer not to provide in-house. So go ahead and outsource those. Or maybe those are the tasks your IT department likes. It’s the big server replacement type projects they’d rather not tackle. So outsource those.
Done correctly, outsourcing is a good way to lower your IT support costs. Contact us if you’d like to know how much it will cost to outsource all or part your IT support needs.