With the ongoing trends in digital transformation and automation, more companies have gone into putting up their in-house capabilities by establishing their own Information Technology (IT) departments. Yet as most of them have found out, operating your own IT department confronts you with one of the most difficult and pressing strategic business decisions. How do you know whether you’re better off outsourcing your IT requirements or you’ll do good by keeping your in-house IT team intact?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to answer this business dilemma. However, you have to make the most of your decision whichever way you go. If you’re looking for ways to give up your oversized but underused in-house IT department, you might want to look into managed IT services providers in your area. Managed IT services providers, or MSPs for short, are companies that offer their services to cater to the requirements of client companies for IT administration, monitoring, and maintenance support services.
Here are some of the ways you can get the most from your IT managed services provider:
1. Focus On Core Objectives
One of the best ways to get the most from managed IT services is by focusing on your business core objectives by outsourcing your IT requirements to an MSP.
An MSP can designate a dedicated team of professionals to handle your IT operations and maintenance. This can include network infrastructure, systems monitoring, as well as repair and maintenance tasks. When you hire the services of an MSP, this allows you to free up valuable company time and resources. This would enable you to focus on developing the core competencies of your business organization, especially if you wish to turn your firm into a bigger one. It would also let you concentrate on performing and meeting your core business priorities and objectives.
To make the most of your IT MSP, delegate your IT requirements to them while you can, especially those that do not require your daily supervision and implementation.
2. Round-The-Clock Support
Another way you can make the most of your IT MSP is by asking them to provide round-the-clock support. You should consider this option if your company or business organization operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This would free up highly valuable internal company assets, resources, and personnel who handle the implementation and monitoring of IT operations and maintenance.
The thing with IT is that technical issues can happen anytime. If you don’t have an IT team that works 24/7, they’d be caught helpless if something unfortunate happens to the IT network or system while the IT team is still sleeping. This can result in unscheduled downtimes and disrupt critical business production and operating hours.
To make the most of your IT MSP, align their services within the operating hours that you have in your company. If you have vital business operations 24/7, then perhaps you should consider asking your IT MSP to provide support services 24/7 in sync with your operating hours. You can also ask them to configure the services that they provide based on what your teams need at specific hours or range of hours each day.
This arrangement would enable you to make the most of the operational needs of your teams. Some IT MSPs will allow you to make the most of the price point changes with these arrangements. This would result in company savings while you make the most of your IT MSP.
3. Reduced IT Operating Cost
IT MSP can significantly reduce your IT operating costs by having your own internal IT department. If you have your own IT department consisting of various teams in charge of different IT areas, then you’re most likely spending a lot of money only to keep your IT department.
Keeping and maintaining your own internal IT department entails paying for their salaries and benefits. You’ll most likely have to contribute to their retirement funds, too. Besides, when some of them resign or retire, you’ll also have to start looking for a replacement.
This would involve using the company’s time, money, and resources on recruitment, testing, qualifying, hiring, onboarding, and training the new staff. You don't have to do all of these things if you have an IT MSP to perform your IT operations. You won’t have to pay monthly salaries and benefits, too. Your business won’t be disrupted or slowed down when some people leave your organization for whatever reason.
You can make the most of an IT MSP by consulting and working with them closely on how many staff complement to deploy at certain times and work shifts during your operation hours. There’s no limit to the mix of people that you can ask them to deploy to cater to your needs. You can even ask them to do an assessment of your IT needs based on actual operations data. This can impact your bottom line positively and result in enormous savings on each business day of lowered operating costs.
4. Piggyback On Your MSP’s Core Competencies
The thing with IT is that its core component is technology, and most technology developers are constantly looking for ways to innovate to stay ahead of their competition. Frankly, some of them are constantly investing in research and development to find a foundational technology that would give them several years of sprint ahead of the industry. This would help them defend their market share, and perhaps enable them to grab the share of their competitors.
Piggybacking on their core competencies and expertise is another way to make the most of your IT MSP. Most IT areas are constantly updated by their software creators and developers and hardware manufacturers. This is why it’s critical to be always updated with the technology that you’re using. However, you can’t do this by yourself unless you’re willing to invest significant finances and time in your company’s IT capabilities.
Yet there’s a way to do this without spending too much. You may start by making the most of the competencies and capabilities of your IT MSP. Because IT is the core competency and capability of their company, your IT MSP is most likely constantly investing capital to acquire the latest technology and capabilities in software applications and implementation.
5. Enhanced Cybersecurity
Another way to make the most of your IT MSP would be to ensure that your service or consulting package with them includes the enhancement of your network security. With the pervasive cybersecurity threats in today’s business environment, it’s becoming more expensive for companies to maintain a credible and resilient network security system and infrastructure. Threats can come from anywhere and can penetrate your network in the places where they’re most difficult to detect or track. Thus, you may be breached before you know it.
If they’re offering network engineering and security services, they’re also likely to be investing in their network security engineering, monitoring, and troubleshooting equipment. It’s also likely that their workers have received the most recent training on network security, such as threat prevention and detection, penetration testing, and external security mapping.
It would probably take your company hundreds of thousands of dollars if you were to constantly invest in the latest software application versions, upgrade your network security monitoring equipment and software application, as well as your system administration infrastructure and application. The most disadvantageous part is that you won’t be able to optimize these investments as they’re not part of your core objectives. They’ll probably just lay idle in your office if you don’t have much use for them regularly. Thus, you’ll only end up storing rather than using them to maximize their worth.
Moreover, even if you can afford to invest in the most robust network security system and infrastructure equipment and software applications, this won’t be enough. You might still not be able to attain the level of skills and capability readiness needed to defend your network against the cybersecurity threats in today’s business landscape.
In the first place, your staff won’t have enough exposure to complex breach cases to develop the expertise needed to manage critical-level network breaches. In contrast, IT MSPs have worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of different clients and enterprises.
This has given them invaluable experience and exposure to some of the most complex and sophisticated situations in network security administration, maintenance, and monitoring. This experience-based know-how is essential in handling critical situations when your network is breached.
It’s often the dilemma of business executives in this digital transformation and automation era whether they should do their IT work on their own or hire the services of an IT MSP. Both decisions have their advantages and disadvantages. Yet for those who have opted to unload their IT and get an MSP, they’ve discovered that there are numerous ways to make the most of their decision to hire an MSP. This article discussed some of those ways to optimize the services and capabilities of an IT MSP. You may use one or all tips discussed here, then see where that decision takes you.