Research shows that organizations across the United States spend $178.5 billion on managed information technology (IT) services in 2019 alone.
For many businesses, IT is a critical need for operational excellence, but the investment necessary may not be there. For firms that have the budget, bringing IT in-house can often take away from the core business. Thus, more firms are outsourcing their technology needs to a managed service provider that can offer the necessary expertise while freeing the contracting organization.
Here’s a closer look at what a managed IT service provider is, and the potential benefits outsourcing to them can give your organization.
What Is a Managed IT Service Provider?
A managed IT provider is a company that takes on and runs the day-to-day management of a specified set of IT duties for clients. These duties include network, security, infrastructure, and application services.
A managed service provider (MSP) firm works on an outsourcing basis and serves a wide array of clients from large corporations to small businesses.
During service delivery, such a firm can offer you their proprietary service in collaboration with another vendor’s offering.
Others, known as pure-play MSPs, offer only one vendor or technology, which often tends to be their service.
Initially, the term MPS used to refer to firms that dealt only with device-related or infrastructure services. Nowadays, an MSP also includes any firm that handles regular management, support, and maintenance.
When you bring an MSP on board, they don’t take over total control of your IT management. You want to retain overall control even as you pass on some responsibilities to keep the MSP accountable.
The first an MSP will do when they come on board is to review all your processes. Through this audit, they will identify areas that need more efficient steps to provide better results.
Once the MSP maps this out, you will both assess the situation and settle on what they will be responsible for and what you will handle.
How Can a Managed Service Provider Help Your Firm Thrive?
An MSP handles a myriad of services. However, when you understand the relation between the services on offer and your business needs, you will have a better footing on getting the most out of your MSP.
Here are some of the tangible benefits of working with an MSP.
Free an Internal IT Team to Work on Substantive Projects
When you hand off IT responsibilities to an MSP, they take up the workload related to these tasks from your team.
A turnkey advantage of this is your internal IT team now has more time to work on other items.
You can turn this into a competitive advantage by dedicating your in-house team’s energies to strategic projects that create an uplift for your firm.
For example, let’s say you needed to migrate your operational workflow over to Microsoft Excel. Instead of handling this lower level task to your team, an MSP can handle this with higher expertise. Meanwhile, your team can focus on what they have deep expertise in.
Another benefit of this free time is that your investment in bankrolling the IT team becomes more effective.
Since the in-house team is doing more heavy lifting while the routine stuff goes to the MSP, you get more bang for your buck.
Robust Maintenance Program
The fact of the matter is that businesses have little to no time to keep up with routine maintenance issues. As a result, many organizations slack on this front and end up using aging hardware and old generation software.
Such a scenario opens you up to security and operational problems that can prove detrimental.
In the case of old software, you have more vulnerabilities that a malicious actor can exploit. Old hardware, on the other hand, increases the rate of equipment breakdown, impairing overall productivity.
An MSP is exceptionally well suited to take on the day-to-day maintenance and upgrade issues. To you, these are annoying extras sucking up your time. To an MSP, it’s their core business.
Thus, you’ll be able to deal with maintenance-related matters expeditiously to avoid them having an adverse material impact on your operations.
You can’t talk about MSPs without mentioning their cost-effectiveness to your firm.
First off, the more the MSP handles, the less you have to work on internally. That can give you the freedom to trim your staff count and save on salaries and benefits.
But even if you decide to retain all your employees, you still get higher productivity as they are free to focus on more mission-critical issues.
Aside from hiring efficiencies, you also have infrastructure cost savings to think about. Instead of you spending precious capital on purchasing expensive equipment, you can let the MSP handle that.
For the MSP, serving several clients means that all equipment and software’s investment costs are distributed among the clients. That makes it affordable for the service provider, and they pass on that benefit to you.
As a result, you gain a cost-efficient way to leverage the latest hard and software for your IT needs.
Now, most, if not all, your IT costs get rolled up into one figure you pay periodically. It becomes easier for you to forecast how much you will spend per period. You can, therefore, better plan larger-scale IT projects.
Hiring an MSP gives you operational flexibility without the accompanying costs.
If you suddenly find you need to scale up, you don’t need to stress over where the money for significant capacity expansion will come from.
All you need to do is increase your fee, and just like that, you have more capacity to manage your growth.
When it’s time to downgrade your operations, you don’t need to take time away from your core business and divest any assets.
For example, you won’t need to be distracted by looking for and managing a tenant for that data center you set up but can no longer use.
You only need to place a call to your MSP, and the necessary cutbacks will be effected.
Get the Most From Your Managed IT Services
Technology has now become a core need for your business. However, if you don’t have the budget or the time to bring IT in-house, you can hire a managed IT service provider to handle the function. That helps you make IT cost-effective while freeing up your employees to focus on more critical areas of the business.
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