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A Look at Outsourced IT
It’s no secret that small businesses are lean and scrappy. As a result, many do not have an internal IT department—in fact, many startup companies initially don’t have a contracted person to turn for IT problems other than perhaps calling the hardware or software manufacturers.
However, you quickly realize just how important IT functions are to your business and hire a dedicated IT professional. Providing day-to-day support to users, maintaining and securing IT assets, handling telecommunication contracts, vendor/manufacturer relationships, and sourcing software and equipment can quickly overwhelm a one person team. And while trying to balance all that, there is little to no time left to focus on the business’ holistic IT strategy.
As a business, you can add additional personnel or choose outsourced IT support to address your growing IT needs. But a quick search online yields dozens of IT companies in your area, each describing their services with unfamiliar jargon.
So how do you know if a provider has the services you need? First, let’s look at the basic terms you might encounter when searching for an IT service provider.
Breaking Down the Managed Service Provider (MSP) Space
For people who don’t regularly navigate the waters of IT service providers, the language can be confusing.
Furthermore, there is often a lot of overlap in the definitions of distinct terms. For example, take a look at these general terms from Gartner:
Managed Service Provider (MSP) delivers network, application, system, and e-management services across a network to multiple enterprises using a “pay as you go” pricing model. A “pure play” MSP focuses on management services as its core offering.
IT Outsourcing (as a part of an outsourcing definition) is using external service providers to effectively deliver IT-enabled business process, application services, and infrastructure solutions for business outcomes.
Co-managed IT — A managed service that partners with you to provide only the IT services your business requires.
Clearing up the confusion around these common terms makes it a lot easier to find your way from the ocean of options into the harbor of the right IT solutions provider for you.
Now that you have a clearer understanding of these terms let’s take a look at outsourced IT support.
Outsourced IT Support: A Closer Look
When you outsource your IT support, you trust an MSP to manage your IT support.
The MSP takes over day-to-day IT operations and support and develops an IT roadmap for the future to meet your business and technology objectives.
Outsourced IT support is ideal for SMBs with no formal IT department who need IT systems to operate smoothly and reliably (not all SMBs rely on technology enough to invest in outsourced IT support).
What are the benefits of outsourced IT Support?
Outsourced IT provides multiple benefits to SMBs by managing all IT operations and alleviating the burden of day-to-day support concerns and long-term growth planning.
You gain access to IT professionals with skills and expertise similar to those employed by large corporations at a fraction of the cost.
They are able to jump right in, learn your IT environment, and begin providing the IT support you need.
A Proactive Approach to Help Desk Support
Another benefit of outsourced IT is that it should include a “managed” component.
Managed Services essentially amount to preventative IT maintenance.
What this means for your business is that small IT problems are nipped in the bud as soon as they bubble up, and before they have a chance to compound into much bigger, more costly ones—something that most small businesses cannot do on their own.
Outsourced IT Support Staff Come to Your Office When You Need Them
While remote IT support is often adequate, you may need a more personalized approach.
On-site IT support staff get to know your employees the same as if they worked there.
You can’t beat the quality of service delivered by on-site IT support professionals who know your employees by name.
Cost Becomes a Scalable Expense
Outsourced IT allows an organization the freedom to scale IT service up or down to meet business needs and available budget.
This flexibility makes outsourced IT support a great value for your company while allowing you to customize your service to your needs.
Co-Managed IT Support: An Overview
When you opt for a co-managed solution, the IT provider partners with you to learn what your specific IT needs are.
A strategy is developed that seamlessly integrates the MSP’s IT professionals with your IT team to deliver the service you need holistically and efficiently.
For example, most companies choose to delegate first-level help desk to a managed service provider, freeing up internal IT resources for strategic tasks and initiatives.
Benefits of Co-managed IT Support
Co-managed IT has all of the benefits of outsourced IT support, plus added flexibility that allows your organization to divide up IT responsibilities.
With a co-managed IT partnership, you gain the value of IT services that is tailored to your specific needs and works in cooperation with your internal IT staff.
What’s Best for Your Organization—Outsourced IT Support or Co-managed?
At this point, you have a much clearer picture of the options available to you. But which one is best for your organization—outsourced or co-managed IT support?
How to Decide Which Option Is Best for You
To decide which solution is the right fit for your business, consider the size and scope of your IT needs. Typically, if you have 50 or fewer IT users in your organization, a fully outsourced IT solution may be best for you. Your managed service provider will cover both day-to-day IT support tasks as well as help design an IT roadmap to guide you through future growth and initiatives.
But what if you have more than 50 employees and at least one IT person?
Co-managing is almost always the right fit for businesses with 50 or more employees—especially if there’s at least one IT person. The co-managing partnership gives you the best of both worlds: delegate routine system monitoring, maintenance, and help desk while in-house IT focuses on strategic initiatives such as future upgrades/planning, new locations, and executive needs.
IT Solutions Tailored to Your Needs
Sometimes, small to mid-sized companies need specialized IT support but don’t want to outsource all of IT. When you need a custom IT support solution, talk with us. Whether a fully outsourced IT support model or a co-managed model aligns best with your needs, Coretelligent has the solution. So how can we help you?