Unlock Your Productivity Potential by Outsourcing Business IT Management
A recent study from the University of Copenhagen (1) found that despite our computers being more advanced than they were 15 years ago, people still spend between 11% and 20% of their working time dealing with malfunctions or working out how to perform their tasks properly.
Just think how you could use that time if you got it back.
When you outsource your business IT management to an IT management partner like a managed services provider (MSP), you can achieve that perfect blend of support, security and increased productivity.
In this article, we’ll look in detail at why you should outsource the IT management for your business to maximise the benefits.
1 – Why Outsource Business IT Management?
Depending on your needs, outsourcing your IT could be just some small support elements. Alternatively, it could mean outsourcing your entire IT function. It’s about forging a partnership with your MSP to support your in-house team and boost productivity.
Other benefits include:
- Time back to focus on what matters to your business
- Access to specialist IT expertise
- Cost savings and scalability
- Fewer malfunctions, including cyber security issues
- Ease of engagement
Let’s look at these in more detail.
1.2 – Increased Focus on Core Competencies
Even if you don’t gain as much as a whole day each working week, partnering with an MSP will give you time back. With that time, you can devote your time and effort to activities that drive your business forward, tasks only you can do.
You can spend time on strategic initiatives that help you achieve your business goals. You’ll also get more day-to-day tasks done when you’re not dealing with niggling IT problems.
1.3 – Access to Expertise and Specialised Skills
Your MSP team will consist of highly skilled IT professionals with business IT management expertise. They’ll keep abreast of the latest trends in the fast-evolving world of technology and make recommendations to optimise your IT systems.
While your in-house IT team has in-depth knowledge of your business, your MSP will have a broader range of expertise – ready for you to tap into. In addition, with the current cyber skills shortage in the employment market, it’s hard to hire quality staff, as well as train them up and keep them happy.
1.4 – Cost Savings and Scalability
When you partner with an MSP, you reduce your reliance on internal IT staff. You don’t need to keep as high a headcount in your IT, which lowers salaries and hiring costs. A study by McKinsey Global Institute in the US found that outsourcing IT management can reduce operational IT costs by up to 60% (2).
In addition, as your business grows and you require extra IT services, your managed service provider will be able to add those services with minimal hassle, at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself.
1.5 – Reduced Downtime and Improved Security
With highly skilled professionals and access to the latest technologies, partnering with an MSP will improve your IT system’s performance. Through proactive monitoring and maintenance, costly and stress-inducing downtime becomes rare.
Also, your MSP can boost your cyber security operation to minimise cyber-attacks and data breaches that are hugely expensive to fix and destroy your business’ reputation. To learn more about how outsourcing to an MSP can add more punch to your cyber security, check out this article from Doherty Associates.
1.6 – One Partner, One Touchpoint
There are many different MSPs operating, all touting for your custom. Some specialise in certain areas, such as managed security service providers focusing solely on cyber security. However, your best option should be to go with one MSP who can provide all the services you need.
When you do this, you have the ease of having one point of contact to deal with rather than several. You’ll only need to get together with your contact once per month for your service review. Then, at the end of the year, there’s one negotiation process to renew.
It’s also much more affordable to get all your business IT management services from one source rather than several.
Why make life difficult for yourself?
1.7 – Who Should Consider Outsourcing?
Selecting an MSP to handle your IT management delivers benefits to businesses of all stages, including:
- Fast-growing startups – When you’re adding new people to your team every month, an MSP can get them on your system and onboarded much faster than your overstretched IT team
- Small and mid-sized businesses – When you run an SMB, you can get stuck in an IT rut, using the same systems you’ve always used. Your MSP knows the latest solutions and best practices to revolutionise the way you work, raising efficiency and boosting productivity
- Businesses that need specialist help (with an eye on their budget) – An underperforming IT system can drain your budget, with unused and outdated solutions slowing you down and costing money without providing ROI. Your MSP has the specialist knowledge to solve these problems and optimise your tech stack, at a more affordable price than hiring expensive consultants
Finally, if you’re in a highly regulated industry, your MSP can handle all your IT compliance requirements.
2 – Choosing the Right IT Management Partner
All managed service providers are not the same. Many MSPs focus on specific aspects of IT where they excel. Others will cater to specific industries at the expense of others. When you decide that it’s time to seek out an MSP to partner with your IT management, you need to find one that aligns with your business goals, knows your values and ensures maximum productivity and security. Criteria to evaluate include:
- Evaluating technical expertise
- A track record of working with similar businesses to yours
- Understanding cyber security credentials
- If you can you add or take away services as needed
- Client reviews and social proof
- Network recommendations
Let’s consider each of these.
2.1 – Assessing technical expertise
Your MSP must have the skills and knowledge to meet your business IT management needs. But if you’re not immersed in the world of IT management, how do you know if an MSP is as good as they say they are?
Regulatory bodies and tech providers issue certifications to MSPs as a seal of approval that they’re experts in their field. MSPs must renew their certifications regularly, proving they’re up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices. Tech vendors – including Microsoft, AWS and Cisco – offer certifications to managed service providers that meet their standards. Check out your potential partners’ certifications to evaluate their skills.
2.2 – Security capabilities and protocols
Cyber security is one of the most critical aspects of your business IT management. If you experience a cyber-attack or a data breach, it can severely disrupt your operations, cost you a lot of money to fix and destroy your reputation. You may even be liable for fines from your industry regulator.
When evaluating a potential MSP partner, ensure you understand their security capabilities and the protocols they implement to safeguard your sensitive data and protect against cyber-attacks.
2.3 – Scalability and flexibility
As your business grows, you need a managed services provider that can accommodate you and your evolving IT management requirements. Without this flexibility, you would need to change providers, which could bring a whole new level of disruption.
How can you tell if they have the capability to grow with your business? Questions to ask include:
- How large is their team?
- How responsive are they currently to your questions?
- Are they providing forward-looking advice based on industry themes and trends?
- Do they have clients of a similar size to where you are now – and where you want to be?
2.4 – Proven Track Record and Client References
Look for an IT management partner with a proven track record going back years. Look for references from clients with businesses similar to yours that indicate their reliability and effectiveness.
Don’t just take their word for it. Ask for client references and testimonials. You could even contact business owners that use your potential partner and ask for a review first-hand.
2.5 – Look to Your Peers and Business Competitors
Talk to people in your business network about how they selected their business IT management partner. What criteria did they use? What questions did they ask? Who did they eventually choose? How is the partnership working out for them? This will help you build a strategic roadmap to select the right MSP for you.
Personal recommendations are worth their weight in gold. If someone you trust is happy to recommend a managed services provider, they’re probably a safe bet.
3 – Maximising the Benefits of Outsourced IT Management
Once you’ve selected the right managed services provider for your IT management needs, it’s time to start working together and making the most of your partnership.
Here are three ways you can ensure you start as you mean to go on with your new MSP partner:
- Open communication and collaboration
- Regular performance assessments
- Keeping ahead of trends in IT
Let’s look at each of these.
3.1 – Regular Communication and Collaboration
Every good business relationship depends on open communication. Be transparent with your MSP about your business goals and the challenges you face in achieving them. The more information you give your MSP, the better they can tailor their service to meet your needs.
Collaboration is also essential. Think of your MSP as part of your team and an extension of your business. Work together to solve problems and include them when anything new happens in your business.
3.2 – Continuous Evaluation and Improvement
When you start working with your managed service provider, ensure both parties understand who is responsible for what aspects of your IT setup. This will minimise ambiguities and ensure they can provide the service you require.
While your MSP is incentivised to work as hard for you as possible (in future renewals), it’s always good to regularly assess their performance and how the partnership is working out. Stay on top of the data to identify areas where you could work together to boost productivity and maintain high security levels.
Check in regularly with your MSP (monthly is optimal) for service updates, performance reviews and next steps for the future.
3.3 – Stay Informed About IT Solutions and Trends
While you should rely on your managed service provider to stay ahead of the curve on IT trends and best practices, it doesn’t hurt to know what’s happening too. When you learn what’s available – perhaps solutions your competitors are using – you can leverage your MSP partner’s expertise and maintain your competitive edge.
Your MSP will recommend how to improve your hardware, software, network setup and more. Try always to be open to their suggestions, even if they might sound like ‘more work’ at the time. The goal is always long-term sustainable success.
3.4 – Not all MSPs are the same
Execution is important, but why not look for an MSP partner with the strategic expertise to become a true extension of your team? It will help you create a long-term, lasting relationship that bears fruit for years to come.
Look for an MSP with expertise across a wide variety of fields, that can fill in the gaps in your IT function, and can scale as you scale.
When you trust a managed service provider with a proven track record of expertise and reliability for your business IT management, you unlock a wide range of significant benefits:
- Time to focus on core competencies
- Access to expertise and specialist skills
- Cost savings and easy scalability
- Better IT performance, including minimised downtime and improved security
- High productivity
- Ease of engagement with one point of contact for all your IT services
Remember, outsourcing doesn’t mean replacing. It’s about complementing your business and working together to improve it. Imagine the power of filling in the gaps in your internal IT team in a true partnership, acting as an extension of your team.
To find out more about Doherty Associates, visit our Services page.
1 – University of Copenhagen
2 – McKinsey Global Institute – Getting business process outsourcing right in a digital future
3 – Doherty Associates – Closing the technology gap: five signs your law firm is falling behind