In the 21st century, computers, networks, and general technology have evolved at a staggering rate, and with this growth, business systems have gotten quite complex. Many small- and medium-sized companies don’t have the personnel, resources, or room in their budgets to keep up with this level of technological advancement. As a result, many organizations are finding a cost-effective and feasible strategic solution in outsourced IT services.
What Are IT Services?
In a nutshell, IT services are a contracted third-party company that provides any combination of equipment, network maintenance, support, and performance of other specified tasks related to internet technology. These vendors are skilled, highly professional, and up to date on all things tech. IT providers help to ensure an organization’s network is optimized but secure and their systems have continuous operations. While specific tasks may vary amongst vendors and/or contracts, in general, IT services include the following:
- Systems operation and support services related to hardware
- Network configuration, management, security, and monitoring
- Authentication of users
- Data backup and recovery
- Data storage, warehousing, and management
- Process execution and enforcement
- Technical and desktop support
Essentially, most IT services providers can offer as little or as much support an organization needs in any business area(s) where technology is utilized.
What Will You Gain from Outsourcing Your IT Services?
Most organizations find they gain numerous benefits from outsourcing their IT services. For instance, many find turning to experts to manage their technology lowers their expenses in payroll, benefits, and capital accounts, along with several other types of day-to-day costs. Here is a rundown of the specific gains that businesses immediately find by contracting externally for their IT needs:
- Complete control over IT costs because outsourcing enables organizations to budget accordingly and with predictability.
- Reduction of labor costs because outsourcing eliminates IT staff turnover, training costs, and other expenses associated with dedicated employees.
- Assurance that people managing IT services are trained, qualified, certified, and experienced.
- Increase in efficiency due to technology being up-to-date which also improves productivity and, ultimately, profitability.
- Ability to improve business continuity and avoid disruptions.
- The comfort of the knowledge an IT partner will take care of all cybersecurity issues, a rapidly growing concern for businesses in any industry.
- Confidence in the knowledge that compliance and any regulatory issues and requirements related are managed properly.
- Ability to compete with the “big guys” since many small- and medium-sized organizations don’t typically have the resources or budget to play on a level competitive field.
This list accounts for the immediate benefits that can be derived, but many long-term benefits can be achieved as well.
When it comes down to it, outsourcing technology needs enables an organization to focus on its own internal core competencies and staff development. It also enables them to avoid expending resources and money it doesn’t have on IT requirements that necessitate consistent and constant maintenance and monitoring. By outsourcing these responsibilities, an expert vendor takes care of them for you, freeing up resources to allow organizations to focus more on business goals that promote growth.
How to Choose an IT Services Provider
Companies without a robust internal IT department do very well outsourcing this area to a third-party partner. Shopping for an IT services provider isn’t unlike other types of purchases. You want to outline your needs, goals, and budget, then start your search. Once you have this information in hand, look at the following to ensure you’re hiring a good fit for your organization:
- Industry experience – IT experience is just a part of the equation; you want a partner who understands your company’s needs, requirements, and compliance issues. You also want a vendor that recognizes operational necessities, can predict scalability needs, and understand potential problems.
- Insurance – Any partner working with your company should be insured. Always verify an IT services provider has a current policy in place.
- Longevity and references – Verify how long the vendor has been in business by looking at press releases, reviews, and by asking for references (and checking with) of other organizations they serve.
- Billing structure – Look for providers that charge flat fees for specific services; avoid those that charge by the hour, as this will eliminate the benefit of predictability of your IT costs.
- Contracts – Professional providers will offer a contract with a clear list of services to cover the scope of a client’s needs. Be sure to choose a partner who is willing and able to answer any of your questions or concerns. Also, inquire about a contract’s flexibility—you don’t want to lock yourself in a long-term contract that doesn’t allow you to grow or scale back in accordance with your organization’s changing needs.
- Ask questions – Once you get a feel for your internal needs, be sure to ask any providers you’re considering plenty of questions so you can determine if they would be a good fit. Such as:
- Where are their servers located?
- What levels of IT support they offer?
- What is and isn’t covered in a contract?
- What are the typical response times when problems emerge?
- Who would be dedicated to your account?
- How does billing work?
- What type of help desk ticketing system do they use?
Another important factor to consider is whether the IT services company handles everything in-house or if they outsource some of their services to other companies. You want to ensure they have an appropriate level of staff in-house to support the services being offered and that they can handle the terms of your contract.
Are you looking to strengthen your Ohio business’s IT strategy and feel a partner can help you better achieve your organization’s goals at an affordable price? To learn more about our services, contact Modern Office Methods today. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about managed IT services.