If you’ve got a business network, you’ll find that it’s possible to spend a huge amount of money, time and effort maintaining it and supporting its use – and this is beyond the time and effort beyond that went into designing it, buying it, adjusting it – and so forth.
For many small businesses, using a good Managed Service Provider (MSP) removes a tremendous amount of time, effort and money from this process – but it’s sometimes difficult to truly put substance behind the claims that MSPs are a good thing for your business.
With this in mind, we’ve explored the world of MSPs and charted 8 significant benefits your business is likely to see if you bring one onboard:
- Rapid scalability
Adding IT infrastructure is rarely, if ever, a plug-and-play experience – and as such, will frequently mean researching and experimenting with everything from physical layouts, to the development of programming scripts to get things right.
An MSP is likely to come with decades of combined infrastructure experience – which mean if they don’t have an immediate answer, they’re almost certainly only one step away from someone or a resource that does.
If expanding your network and application access is something that you might need, having an MSP onside will make this a stress-free and quick experience.
- Guaranteed service level agreements
When you sit down to discuss working terms with an MSP, you’ll find they’re quick to bring up their Service Level Agreement (SLA) – a working contract that outlines what they need from you – and what you’ll get in return for your monthly outlay.
Now, there’s rarely one-size that fits-all when it comes to SLAs – if you’ve got mission-critical payment systems that can’t see any downtime, then you’ll be looking for different guarantees versus someone who’s hoping their stock system is accessible through working hours – but a good MSP will be able to deliver something that’s exactly right for you and your business.
- Proactive support
As a business owner, there’s a world of difference between the a call from your Chief Technical Officer explaining there’s an issue that’s brought your systems down – or a call that says your systems were down in the night and that they’re not back up and running.
This is the kind of difference you’re likely to see with a good MSP. The level of sophisticated monitoring that can be done remotely means they’re likely to see issues (or potential issues) long before they’ve impacted your business delivery. MSPs will prefer to work on systems proactively – and that’ll work perfectly for your bottom line…
- Experienced best practice
Working with an MSP is very different to working with an in-house team – and that difference in experience is largely down to the frequency with which they’re dealing with large scale issues and tasks.
Where an in-house team is dealing with your business’s IT issues on an ‘as required’ basis, an MSP is likely to have someone who’s dedicated to handling these problems all-day every-day – honing their skills each time they tackle the issue.
MSPs don’t just know best-practice in theory, they’re delivering it every day for a host of companies. Working and evolving practice that directly benefits you when you need their help.
- Predictable outlay
There’s a lot to be said for cashflow, so knowing what your IT maintenance costs are on a month-by-month basis is an enormous help with budgeting and forecasting. What’s more, having an MSP onside is a little like an insurance policy that protects when you would otherwise need to find expert IT help.
- No training costs
Training your in-house IT staff is an absolute minefield when it comes to weighing up business requirements and costs – do you proactively train your team for an issue that may never arise? Or do you wait for a problem before you attempt a fire-fighting approach to training?
It’s unlikely the latter option will work, unless you want to see your systems grind to a halt while you’re looking at the cost of months of Microsoft certification training. So having access to people who are constantly training and on top of their game makes a lot of sense – especially when you consider the prospect of an in-house staff member moving on after you’ve invested thousands in their training…
- No recruitment
Recruitment is a costly process – from the advertising needed and often-bulky recruiter fees, to the logistical requirements that pull your managers away from their daily roles – it’s going to cost you money and productivity before you’ve even looked at your first CV.
When you’ve eventually got the right person or people onboard, you’ll then start hoping that they gel with your team – and that’s before you’ve started to look at the training they’re going to need before they’re fully up to speed.
Recruitment is a process that is likely to cost your company thousands – and the result? Far from guaranteed. With an MSP, you’re likely to have a dedicated member of staff – and that person already meets the strict requirements of that company – meaning they’re highly likely to have the skills needed to fit straight into your working processes.
- No staffing unpredictability
If you’ve somehow managed to overcome all the other downsides of employing IT staff directly, rather accessing their services through an MSP, then you’re still going to find yourself wrangling with the inherent unpredictability that’s part of employing people.
The thing is, IT functions as the backbone for many companies – so take away the support, and you’re playing a very risky game with your ability to staying productive and offering your service. Now, that’s an issue with in-house staffing, because they’re rightly entitled to holidays, sickness, maternity/paternity leave, compassionate leave, other job offers – and a host of other things that might see them out of your business the very next day.
This simply doesn’t happen with MSPs. When they say they’ll deliver on their SLA, they do, whether that means someone else is going to be looking after your account for a couple of weeks, or whether they’ve got contingency plans in place that’ll help maintain their staffing. If you want a guaranteed level of service, an MSP is like having a team of people, for every one of your in-house staff member.