What Are Managed IT Services and Why Does a Small Business Need Them?
Small business owners have to try to deal with so many different challenges to ensure that their business is thriving. Whether it is payroll, sales, stock management, the list can seem both endless and impossible to manage. As the world speeds up, and the digital aspect of business becomes ever more critical, a lack of knowledge about Information Technology could be an anchor on the growth or even sustainability of any small business.
One option could be to employ staff whose sole responsibility is the monitoring and management of IT systems, but for many small to medium-sized business owners, that is a luxury they cannot afford. This is where managed IT services provide the perfect solution, allowing small business owners to efficiently share the expertise and knowledge of a specialized company.
What Benefits Do Managed IT Services Provide?
A managed IT service provider can devise, setup, install and monitor bespoke IT systems for any small business. This frees up staff to concentrate on their core duties within the business rather than have to deal with the frustrations and hassles of malfunctioning IT. A professionally managed IT services company can provide many small companies with a competitive advantage, and be a significant asset to the business rather than an expensive luxury. Here are some of the benefits that using a Managed IT Service can deliver:
- Service Level Agreement – When a problem does arise it needs to be sorted quickly and efficiently; part of any contract for Managed IT Services should include a guaranteed service level agreement. This means that the IT experts are obligated to resolve your issues within a specified amount of time, or potentially face a financial penalty. The cost and expectations of the SLA will be reflected in the price, so as the employer of the service you can decide on the level of service you require.
- Best Practise Advice and Planning – IT services need to work together and compliment each other. Many small business owners end up purchasing off the shelf pieces of software that work individually but not in conjunction with other services, causing excessive and repetitive data entry and wasting time. A managed IT service provider will be able to suggest or even create systems which blend to form an efficient relationship management system.
- Flexible and Reactive Capacity Planning – There are certain small businesses which have significant ebbs and flows in customer demand. This provides a challenging problem, do you invest in expensive IT infrastructure which then lies dormant and unused for 80 percent of the year? or do you hope that when your system is at maximum capacity, it does not crumble under pressure. With a managed IT services solution, peaks and troughs can be planned for ensuring that you are not paying for IT infrastructure that you don’t need, but that you also have the option to upgrade as and when demand requires.
- Cost Effective Solutions – Technology moves at a rapid pace, it almost seems that as soon as a company invests in a computer system that that system is out of date. To continually upgrade your systems can be an expensive and frustrating experience, but again this is where a managed solution provides the perfect option. Because managed IT service providers are buying large volumes of hardware they have the relationships and economies of scale to reduce the overall cost, a saving that can then be passed on to the end customer.
- Proactive Monitoring and Intervention – If and when a problem is developing the ideal solution is to be proactive and deal with it before it develops into a much more significant issue. With a managed IT system monitoring and management comes as part of the package. In many instances, the problem will be identified and resolved before the end user is even aware that a problem existed.
- Access To Pre-Written Scripts To Solve Problem – In many instances, the problems that small business owners face can be very similar. Rather than employing a software engineer to develop or create a solution, the likelihood is that this problem will have been solved numerous times by other companies. Any business that offers a Managed IT Services solution should and will have access to thousands of pre-written scripts which can be quickly and easily deployed remotely using cloud computing techniques.
Whether you are a plumber, a physician or an accountant, a managed IT services partnership may prove to be money well spent. Your key concern as a business owner should always be to focus on the parts of the business that generate income, and where your specialties can come to the fore. Wasting time-fighting with and trying to solve IT problems can distract both you and your employees, costing the company significant time, money and resources. If your small business relies on computer and IT systems, and quite frankly there are very few modern-day businesses which don’t then investigate the benefits that a managed IT services solution could provide.