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How managed IT service providers could help your organization
Most SMBs would love it if their IT systems ran in much the same way as a standard, household utility, like electricity. You’d turn them on when you needed them and off when you didn’t and there would be minimal to no need for routine maintenance or fine-tuning. In the real world, that’s probably too much to ask (for the time being), but SMBs can often make their lives much easier by partnering with managed IT service providers. Here are some ways they could help your organization.
Budgeting becomes easier
In some cases, this fact may be all that is needed to justify bringing a managed IT service provider on board. Even if it’s not, many companies, particularly SMBs, are likely to see this as a huge win. In simple terms, you can substantially reduce your capital expenditure and replace it with regular monthly operating expenses. As an added bonus, this also reduces your exposure to unexpected events (e.g. an expensive piece of equipment breaking down outside the warranty) and gives you the reassurance of fixed costs.
You get access to best-in-breed technology
First of all, it’s probably fair to say that managed IT service providers are probably in a better position to identify best-in-breed/cutting-edge technology than the average SMB. The reason for this is that they are IT specialists, it is literally their business to be well-informed about the best products (and the best people).
Secondly, it’s almost certainly fair to say that managed IT service providers are very much more likely to be able to justify the upfront investment in best-in-breed/cutting-edge technology than the average SMB. Basically, they will know that they will be able to spread the cost of the technology over several clients (as well as potentially using it for their own in-house systems), rather than having to swallow up the entire cost as an internal expense as is typically the case for SMBs.
For the sake of completeness, in this context, technology means both hardware and software as well as the necessary network connections and everything which goes with them. Even though computer hardware (and cabling and so forth) is now at the point where it is often viewed as a commodity, it can still be expensive and challenging to manage from a practical perspective, for example, ensuring cooling in server rooms and providing back-up power supplies in case of outages.
You get access to top IT professionals
Recruiting and retaining skilled staff tends to be a major issue for employers of all sizes, especially in areas where there are particular skills shortages. For the most part, however, SMBs are not necessarily at a huge disadvantage to the big corporations as they can offer different benefits. For example, while the corporates may be able to offer higher salaries and better benefits, SMBs can often offer a greater breadth of experience and a less formal working environment.
This, however, is less likely to be a draw to IT professionals (especially those working in the area of security), as they need to keep updating and refreshing their skills and hence tend to have a strong preference for employers who can support this, for example by training (both in-house and external) and through a working environment which encourages professional (and personal) development. In short, for the average IT professional, working for managed IT service providers is probably going to be a far more attractive prospect than working for an SMB, and the higher up the skillset you go, the more true this is likely to be.
You can vastly increase flexibility
This simple statement can have all kinds of implications. For example, it could mean that you could employ remote workers on the same basis as office-based workers. This could go a long way not just to reducing issues caused by local skills shortages (by allowing you to recruit from anywhere) but also to making it easier for you to employ workers for very short periods, for example, to cover lunchtimes for your regular staff. Such workers might be very reluctant to travel since a couple of hours work might not even cover their traveling costs let alone the value of their traveling time, but they might be quite happy to do short spells from home.
It’s also worth noting that in addition to being a highly-valued employee benefit, the ability for staff to work from home, at least some of the time, also creates a straightforward disaster-recovery plan if you are ever prevented from entering your usual office building for any reason.
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