Managed Service Provider Benefits
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Understanding the benefits of using a managed service provider
The basic principle behind managed services is that companies delegate tasks that are essential but not core to their business so that they can focus their time and energy on what they do best. With that in mind, here are some ways a managed IT service provider can help your business.
You hand over the recruitment and retention of IT staff
It’s common knowledge that there is a global shortage of skilled IT staff and that shortage tends to be particularly acute in anything to do with IT security. If you choose to run your IT services in-house then you have to deal with all recruitment and retention issues (and indeed all staff-management issues). If, however, you go down the managed services route, then you get a guaranteed service for a guaranteed price and it’s somebody else’s job to do whatever is necessary to make that happen.
For the sake of completeness, you can certainly use managed services with your own IT team if you wish, in fact this is fairly common. How you approach this is entirely up to you, but one common strategy is to use the managed service provider to take care of some or all of the day-to-day tasks, leaving the in-house IT team to focus on the value-add tasks. This means that anything essential is guaranteed to be done regardless of what is happening with your in-house staff, but you still have in-house expertise to call on should you need it.
Making sure that essential tasks are completed promptly isn’t just a matter of good housekeeping. It can be vital to safeguarding your IT systems. For example, many patches and upgrades are issued to deal with vulnerabilities that have been identified, hence the longer it takes for them to be applied, the longer your IT infrastructure remains at risk.
You may find your infrastructure becomes more stable
It is literally an IT managed service provider’s job to manage your IT services and they are very aware of the fact that keeping those services running smoothly makes their life easier as well as yours. Because of this, managed service providers will make sure that they take the time to undertake all the maintenance and monitoring that your in-house IT team might be forced to skip through a lack of resources. They may also offer suggestions as to how to improve your infrastructure for better results.
Basically, if you’ve been experiencing issues with infrastructure not performing properly, then using a managed services provider could put an end to them just by ensuring that your infrastructure is actually managed as it needs to be rather than fitted around everything else your in-house IT team needs to do.
You can accurately predict your costs
As an absolute minimum, you can say goodbye to unpredictable capital expenditures, which can be very painful to your cash flow even at the best of times. Instead, you can have manageable operating expenses. Most service providers will offer a variety of pricing models, the most common being per user, per device and by subscription, usually with the option to add-on extra services if required. Some will also offer the option to pick and choose services on an entirely ad hoc basis, but this is not particularly common.
By far the most common way for companies to pay for their managed services is by having a subscription (or service package) that covers their core needs and then adding on any non-core services as their wants and budget allows. This allows finance teams to keep a handle on costs while still allowing for some flexibility.
It’s also worth noting that going down the managed IT route can actually decrease costs rather than increase them (as you might expect from the fact that you are adding an extra layer to your administration). This is essentially because managed service providers will generally know the most cost-effective way to provide any service and may also be able to leverage economies of scale through their relationship with other vendors.
You can get assistance with strategic planning and implementing new technology
Rather ironically, in-house IT teams are often so busy managing what they already have that they can struggle to find the time to look at strategic planning and how implementing new technology could help your business.
There are two ways using a managed service provider can help with this. The first is simply by reducing the burden on your in-house IT team, giving them the time and energy to focus on tasks where they can really add value. The other is by offering guidance and consultancy to give you the benefit of their expert knowledge.
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