As a small business owner, it can be frustrating to observe your most talented IT personnel get bogged down over the day to day maintenance of your IT infrastructure and end user support. An IT expert’s time is much more valuable to the company if they are free to focus on and plan for the future needs of your business. But what can you do? Someone has to take care of the day to day tasks and small businesses rarely have the budget to bring in more full time employees. If you find yourself in this position, consider the benefits of outsourcing your day to day IT tasks to a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
Benefit #1: Harness the Experts’ Expertise
A MSP can offer you an inexpensive monthly contract to provide quality service for routine work. For example, your IT experts can better manage the system infrastructure, while an MSP monitors your system 24/7, updates your anti-virus programs, and performs off-site back-up protection. Because MSPs have economies of scale, providing these services off-site can often be more cost effective than burdening your existing team with them or hiring new employees. By taking routine tasks off their plate, an MSP will allow your IT guys to make the best use of their time.
The SMB owner can also leverage the tools the MSP has spent on expensive ticketing and monitoring systems. The MSP will be happy to provide your IT expert access to these tools and your end users access to a ticketing system. And the best part is: you don’t have to pay for these important tools or pay to maintain them! These tools enable your in house IT expert to identify and solve problems more efficiently, meaning more up-time and a higher level of service for you, the small business owner, and your end users (other employees).
Benefit #2: Leverage Experience
What system oversight and planning for the future should your team be doing? Reaching out to a reputable MSP not only will help you free up your IT experts, it will also provide them with focus and direction. Most MSPs provide a free initial consultation in which they evaluate your IT systems and give you information about products and services that might meet your needs. While they’re wooing a potential new client, you’re leveraging their experience to gain an outside evaluation of your IT. Even if you decide not to use their services, you’ll have gained valuable information about your IT resources and potential liabilities. A network assessment report could also let you know how your current IT person or staff are performing. Of course you may need the help of your IT person to have the assessment run but the report could be useful for both the owner and IT expert to identify areas for focus and improvement.
Benefit #3: Limiting Exposure
When your best IT employees get stretched too thin, critical security measures like updating your anti-virus software can easily be overlooked. A contract with an MSP for routine services ensures reliability; you can be certain that you’re getting the latest products and top quality monitoring from employees who aren’t being asked to multi-task. An MSP will advise you on exactly what you need to do to protect your system and then write you a contract that gives you a hard number for the cost of providing those services: managed anti-virus and anti-malware programs; backup systems with cloud sync, 24x7 server and network infrastructure monitoring; or whatever else your particular business requires to stay secure. The MSP will also provide useful reporting that drive business decisions which will ensuring the future safety and integrity of your business data.
Benefit #4: Growing Your IT Team Responsibly
All the benefits that come from engaging a MSP with your existing team also hold true when it comes time to expand your IT or shift its focus to match your growing business. Your MSP will be ready to consult with you about what kind of skills or expertise will have the biggest payoff for your company. Meanwhile, you might draw on the resources the MSP offers to fill a short-term need as you build your company towards a long term goal. A MSP might also be able to fill in a gap more cost effectively than hiring an additional worker.
A common mistake for small business owners is under-utilizing their best IT employees. By outsourcing the most time consuming, day to day tasks, you dramatically increase the value of these working hours. Try it for yourself… give your IT manager a call and ask him about his day to day tasks, then ask how he would spend that time if someone else took over the day to day stuff. If you have a good employee, you should see some value added in his answer.