How can I reduce my risk so as not to jeopardise my company’s continuity? How do I keep my expenses under control and how do I manage them efficiently? These are two familiar concerns for entrepreneurs and general managers of Belgian SMEs, especially where IT is concerned. Here are five concrete advantages:
1. Manpower galore at a predictable cost
SMEs usually employ one or at most a handful of IT staff. They have their individual expertise but not all specialised knowledge is available in-house. When calling upon a managed services provider, you have an entire team of IT professionals at your beck and call. They boast the experience, skills and training no SME could possibly have in-house – unless you’re prepared to spend a fortune. Instead of paying extra salaries, managed services give you access to all the specialities and manpower you need in return for a predictable, fixed monthly fee.
2. Permanently available
Interruptions or downtime cost money and they are a risk to any company. When your IT systems don’t function properly this results in financial and reputational damage. The core task of managed IT service providers is often to keep your systems from going down. They prevent problems by proactively monitoring and maintaining your IT infrastructure. They do this by using specialised tools and knowledge and building in safety mechanisms such as backups, redundancy and advanced security for your network and work stations. Thanks to the economies of scale that managed services offer, SMEs can benefit from an extremely reliable IT infrastructure at an affordable and fixed monthly rate.
3. Fast, efficient and always a solution within reach
Let’s get back to the internal IT staff. IT problems often remain unsolved when they’re not at work, ill or on holiday. If the network is slow it’s just a matter of inconvenience. However, can you wait until after the weekend if a major problem occurs e.g. in case of a dangerous computer virus of if a key application crashes? With managed IT services you have access to 24/7 support, guaranteed through Service Level Agreements. A managed services provider always responds quickly to IT incidents and in accordance with the provisions of the SLA. The proper staff member with the right expertise will then follow up on the incidents according to priority. This means no more ups and downs as far as your IT service is concerned. Again: lower risk, lower cost.
4. No hidden or unforeseen costs
Setting up an internal structure for high-quality IT management and support may involve a high level of hidden costs. Examples include specialised training and certification of IT staff, service desk tools, monitoring software, equipment, etc. In addition to these costs, there’s also the time (ergo the cost) spent on this by internal (IT) staff. And what if you are forced to call upon an expensive expert every time a complicated problem occurs? Interventions of this nature may cost up to tens of thousands of euros per year.
By bringing in a managed services provider, SMEs can use their internal IT staff or IT department to maximum efficiency by focusing on strategic IT projects and tasks. They no longer have to deal with operational management and support tasks, or worry about complex problems they are unable to solve themselves.
5. Endlessly scalable
As an SME, trying to manage your IT in-house can be a daunting task. The trick is to know when to bring in the cavalry. When the IT department or IT manager is running at 150% capacity? Or 200%? Or when disaster finally strikes? Using managed services means you are outsourcing a number of services at a fixed monthly cost. When you have to act quickly or need extra capacity, you can expand your service package quickly and easily without having to invest in new staff, training, specialised tools or equipment.
More than ever, IT is a strategic tool used by companies and organisations to realise their objectives. Those companies that professionalise the proactive management of IT through managed services provided by an external partner have everything they need to make the most of these strategic advantages.