The technologies that exist today make it possible for your business to do more, faster, and with less. Why then, does your to-do list keep getting longer? It doesn’t matter how many things you get ticked off, there is always something to add. Those things that you keep pushing toward the bottom – unless there is a technology that can slow down time AND double the speed you can work – they might never see the light of day.
This is a conundrum that IT managers and directors grapple with every day. More accurately, it’s a conundrum they grapple with whenever they have time between server crashes, user requests, and generally holding everything together while trying to make small improvements whenever the opportunity arises.
The solution is to stop trying to figure out why you can’t achieve what you want to, even though there are technologies that make it possible. Instead, you need to enhance your internal IT department by hiring a managed IT provider, or MSP.
An MSP will guide you through the process to create a vision that aligns IT to business goals and helps leaders in all areas make smarter decisions.
A Real-Life Example
In the late summer of 2021, as wildfires were raging across Oregon, one of our city government clients identified a need for emergency cloud backups. Their existing backup strategy was to host backup data physically, at their various public buildings around the town. This was not a sufficient strategy in the event that the city buildings were to be engulfed by flames. As their trusted advisor, StepUp IT quickly created a cloud-based backup system through software that created a data repository alongside the existing backups.
The city’s IT kept a close eye on the approaching fires, but rested easy since their backup data was geographically secure away from Oregon. In the end, we ensured their critical data was secure and removed stress from an already stretched city team and officials. This is the kind of value a trusted advisor and partner MSP can bring to your team, as well.
Here are six concrete ways a Managed IT Provider can help and improve your IT department.
1. Creates a Bench Team
Some smaller organizations have a single-person IT unit. This one staff member may be responsible for running your entire digital operations, from troubleshooting desktops and other devices, to handling Internet and other connectivity issues. They also take care of pricing, purchasing, replacing, and configuring hardware and software for all your users. When it comes to IT, they do it all.
However, there are only so many hours in a day, and it’s close to impossible to get everything done, no matter how much of a star player you have on your team. What’s more, if your IT expert falls ill or needs a vacation, you may be left helpless if anything goes wrong in their absence.
Even if you have a multiple-person team working on IT, when key people are absent, the corporate knowledge goes with them. As you can see, in IT, there is a lot of pain associated with staff turnover. The smaller the staff, the larger the disruption.
So, why not create a bench team for IT? Many CFOs already discuss workforce and succession planning with HR as part of a long-term strategy to keep the business running smoothly when key employees retire. IT may be far from retiring today, but in our experience, it’s important to think about how to augment your staff when they are working on special projects, are out on vacation, or have to take personal leave.
As your business expands and grows, you’ll buy more technology equipment, hire more staff, and subscribe to more software for them to use. Keeping track of which person needs access to which software and which equipment they are using is vital. If you’re struggling to keep up, it’s time to look for help. An MSP will keep an inventory of all your devices, access to software and company tools, and help to keep confidential internal data secure.
The bottom line: An MSP will step up to the plate to take care of every-day issues, so your internal stars can focus on other priorities, like improving user experience.
2. Saves Your Organization Money
Creating an IT bench team for a smaller company will save your organization money, because your MSP will be ready to step in during your internal team’s absence. This will keep HR from having to scramble and overspend on recruitment efforts in the case you need to suddenly hire new temporary or permanent IT staff.
If your business is already in the mid-size range, you may have outgrown products built for smaller companies. It may be that your budget doesn’t yet allow for enterprise-level tools and solutions. Tools such as remote management for devices located outside the office; ticket tracking to organize day-to-day internal IT services; and system monitoring and alerting to keep the organization’s digital products secure, take money and time to implement. Because they have the ability to purchase software and hardware in bulk, an MSP can help you have access to more affordable pricing.
The bottom line: An MSP will save in hiring costs and may be able to help you get the best digital solutions at a fraction of a cost, compared to what it would take to implement the products using internal resources.
3. Grants Access to Upper Management
Organizations simply cannot adopt technology for its own sake. Spending on IT solutions cannot be taken lightly, and often, there can be a disconnect between the IT and finance departments. Experienced MSPs know that to ensure your IT expenses will be an investment and not an expensive mistake, they need to support leaders in planning for success.
At StepUp IT, we assist dozens of companies in using their technology budgets to solve business problems. We have become proficient at establishing relationships and speaking with leaders like you to advocate for smart IT spending. It’s not enough to review pros and cons. We recommend that organizations map company purchases to business goals, and we also make sure to ask your team questions that will help plan for success before implementing a new IT solution or tool. Below are three key questions we ask internal IT teams when they prepare to request funding from C-level executives:
- Who are the key players on the project? The first step is to identify a project manager, and an accountability system is crucial for the project to be as efficient as possible.
- What are you trying to accomplish with the proposed solution? In the long run, documenting expectations will save money, time, and effort. Understanding what each stakeholder expects to gain from the IT project is key.
- How will your team measure success? In collaboration with other business units, IT will need to agree to tracking and monitoring specific indicators that will show whether or not the project is creating value for your SMB.
The bottom line: MSPs have experience engaging with the C-suite and making sure all stakeholders are on board to spend money on IT wisely.
4. Provides a Bird’s Eye View on Configurations
Logging into one software-as-a-service (SaaS) interface after another to keep all internal and external users working together smoothly can get tedious. An experienced MSP can manage your software configurations for you, keeping a big-picture view of your tech operations and how well each SaaS is functioning at the user and enterprise-level. Your trusted advisor is an email away. They can support your IT team to patch and update software on a timely basis and train your team on the tools and processes they need to know to efficiently deliver support to your staff.
The bottom line: MSPs can see the big picture and also keep a focus on the details of your everyday digital operations, while your internal IT focuses on other priorities.
5. Allows for Enhanced Focus
Your internal staff is likely overwhelmed from providing support to the rest of your staff with day-to-day issues. Managed IT can serve as your day-to-day ticketing service and automate everyday processes. They can work with you to develop your IT roadmap. This way, your internal IT department can focus on valuable priorities and what they do best, such as user experience, capacity planning, policy management, technical and cybersecurity training, and more.
The bottom line: You can allow your internal IT team to focus on what they do best, while your MSP takes care of the rest.
6. Gives Your Team Access to Specific Expertise
Though having a small internal IT team makes sense for your company on multiple levels, it is difficult for one or two staff to become experts at everything. In our experience, setting high expectations for your IT team can help them to develop professionally, but there is also a fine line between high expectations and expectations that are out of reach. Having access to a team of IT engineers and professionals through an experienced MSP, like StepUp IT, can grant your internal team access to specific expertise, so they can brainstorm solutions or workshop a problem.
Since MSPs deal with multiple clients, from several industries and sometimes from different regions, they may be more aware of trends in IT. They have more exposure to changes, challenges, information, and key IT news. This is why they are capable of quickly aligning business needs and IT implementations.
The bottom line: The right MSP will allow you to tap into many years worth of experience and accumulated knowledge and expertise.
Leverage Our Expertise
Over the years, at StepUP IT, we have become more strategic in how we work with clients. Our Co-Managed Services solution addresses each of the pain points our clients have shared with us. We have the experience and expertise to leverage the best-in-class tools and bring structure and processes at a fraction of the cost of implementing the solutions yourself.
Working with us means leveraging a strategic IT advisor and a team of IT engineers and professionals with a diverse set of skills and a shared knowledge base that have your back. This can mean calling your vCIO to discuss the next area you are looking to innovate in, or being able to reach out when you need a second set of eyes on a joint finance-IT proposal to your CEO.
Please contact us today if you are ready to try our Co-Managed Services!