You’ve probably come across the term(s) “managed services” or “managed IT services”. This article is to simply answer two questions:
What is it?
Do we need it?
What is it? Wikipedia defines “Managed Services” as follows: Managed services is the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities and functions as a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. Basically, this definition applies to the term “managed IT services”.
Do we need it?
In other words, what factors indicate you might need Managed IT Services?
Here are the most common signs that indicate you might need managed IT services:
1. You don’t have a dedicated IT professional on staff.
Many small to medium-sized businesses have IT needs that can quickly challenge the time and skills of the person in your organization who isn’t an IT professional. When this is the case, business owners discover and experience the fact it is almost impossible to keep a handle on technology while also running their business.
If you don’t have a dedicated IT person, managed services is potentially a very cost-effective alternative to having a dedicated IT person on staff.
2. Your IT professional(s) is swamped with everyday tasks and things are falling through the cracks.
Here are some of the indicators that your current IT staff is swamped:
Are all of your software licenses up to date?
Are your security updates and upgrades being run continually on all your computers, server, and other devices?
Even the most seasoned IT professionals can be overloaded with work that keeps piling up, and they rarely have time to do the everyday management and monitoring tasks because “bigger or higher priority” issues constantly comes up.
If your IT professional needs help with the daily tasks in order to concentrate on the more important projects, managed services can supplement resources you already have.
3. You’re often bringing in outside help to fix problems that could have been detected earlier.
If you currently work with an IT company, take a look at your “break/fix” history with them.
Is your server going down repeatedly because no one detected one of its hard drives was going bad?
Are you continually paying for someone to come on-site and fix little problems with your employees’ computers?
Very possibly, the break/fix IT work you are experiencing may be significantly reduced with managed services. For example, most managed IT service companies have the tools to perform continuous remote monitoring and maintenance that can detect problems, notify IT professionals, and have issues fixed before they ever cause a computer to fail or a server to crash.
4. You need to find significant cash flow savings to help fund strategic business initiatives
Depending on your current technology spend there may be significant hard dollar savings shifting to a managed IT services model. A Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) poll of 400 IT and business professionals in June of 2011 found that 46 percent of organizations that rely on Managed Service Providers for some or all of their IT needs say they have reduced annual IT budgets by at least 25 percent as a result of adopting managed services. Those respondents include 13 percent who estimated their savings at 50 percent or more.
The CompTIA survey found that 89 percent of current managed services users are very, or mostly satisfied with their experience, citing uptime, security, agreeable contract terms and flexibility as reasons for their satisfaction.
If your organization resembles some of these key indicators, contact a reliable managed IT services company and have them take a look at your history of issues you have experienced to pinpoint areas where managed services would have made the resolution easier and more cost-effective for you (save you time and money).