A high-quality Managed Service Provider (MSP) can mean the difference between making your budget targets or not. Between helping your team thrive and just keeping up. Between taking advantage of emerging technology or being passed by competitors. Between IT being a cost center or a competitive advantage.Your MSP can help relieve your team of mundane tasks and allow them to focus on innovation and new initiatives. Or your MSP can provide a full outsourced solution. They can fill expertise gaps and help provide 24/7/365 coverage.
If you’re considering engaging an MSP, or even if you've considered it in the past, here are five things to think about for 2017 and beyond:
Manage Employee Costs & Secondary Costs
Obviously, many organizations outsource to MSPs as part of an overall plan to reduce staffing levels or overtime—or to avoid adding new hires to the budget. Beyond the cost of the salaries, it is important to also calculate the cost of onboarding, benefits, space, equipment, as well as initial and ongoing training. Your organization runs on a complex ecosystem of software and hardware. To hire, retain, and maintain all of those skills on your in-house team can be prohibitively expensive.
Flex & Scale
Every business experiences some amount of ebb and flow that is often hard to predict. A large MSP can provide the additional resources you need when you experience times of growth. It can also help you respond to special projects such as upgrades, new software evaluations and implementations, providing support for BYOD, responding to senior management requests, and, most important, developing innovations that add value for your internal and external customers. All of these things are hard to make time for when your team is already stretched just to keep the business up and running.
A high-quality MSP can bring industry best practices to your organization, helping you to protect your priceless data from costly errors and data breaches. Good MSPs excel at helping you protect your data and infrastructure, minimize downtime and recover quickly from disasters. Protecting your data also means protection from the potentially devastating costs of liability suits and enforcement issues in regulated industries.
Access Up-to-date Skills
Because MSPs are focused solely on IT, they often have the ability to attract and retain some of the best talent in the market. They invest heavily in training, and their relationships with hardware and software vendors allows them quickly get up to speed on the latest technology so they can deploy and support it for you.
Because MSPs work with many kinds of businesses—inside and outside of your industry—they have the ability to learn from the innovations or even mistakes made by other industries. They can bring a wealth of outside knowledge to help you thrive.
Whether you have considered outsourcing some or all of your IT functions to an MSP in the past, or if this is your first time, this is a topic that certainly merits serious research and consideration at least annually. For many organizations, the advantages of working with a MSP, like Vology, far outweigh the effort. Just remember that all MSPs are not created equally. Make sure the MSP you choose has the size, in terms of staffing and financial resources, to meet your needs, that they have expertise with the software and hardware they will be supporting, and that they have contracting options that meet your needs. IT can and should be viewed as a source for innovative business process automation and improvement, a value-add, and a competitive advantage. The right MSP can help you make that happen in your organization quickly and affordably.