Working in IT for any length of time will make you understand that it isn’t just novice workers that have trouble with their computers. In truth, about seven out of ten people can’t diagnose and fix simple IT problems. With that truth, it’s evident that any business that relies on IT, or at least on the productivity of people who use workstations, needs to have some type of strategy to keep those endpoints up, running, and managed proficiently.
Business owners are always searching for value. This is no different when it comes to technology support. The question is how to get the best support for your business’ technology for the least amount of money, right? After all, considering the amount of problems a business could have, its technology support bill shouldn’t be the one that hamstrings the whole business. This month we will look at the three types of IT support available to most businesses and tell you why managed IT services are by far the most valuable.
For the small business, it seems as though the traditional model for IT support works the best. That is, when something breaks, you take it into the shop just like you would an automobile for a mechanic to fix. This transaction may be cost effective for the business if they don’t actively lose anything by removing the broken technology from the office for days at a time, or don’t have enough technology of note to worry about the downtime that inevitably comes with having a broken device. Chances are that both are still hurting your company… you just don’t realize it.
Another issue is where you’re left if you take your broken hardware to a break/fix vendor that treats you like the aforementioned mechanic would. They tell you that they’ll give you a call when it is ready to pick up.
What are you supposed to do in the meantime?
Well, that is an interesting question, but it may just be the wrong question. There is a place for break/fix vendors, but it really should be the very last resort for a business. Not only are you waiting around to get your computer/router/printer back, you also are paying the exorbitant amount of money these technicians ask per hour. If it takes them eight minutes to fix, it’s an hour on the bench.
If you consider that with a break/fix vendor you are going to pay hundreds of dollars to get your $300 workstation or $150 printer fixed, you will immediately start looking for alternatives.
The first alternative most business owners would think of is: How much would it cost to hire a guy/gal to make sure our IT is in tip-top shape? The answer: a lot.
According to Indeed, the going rate for a certified IT administrator is $67,242 per year. That’s a shade under $1,300 a week. Depending on your market, you could pay more or pay less, but if you have a small outfit, can you afford to pay your IT admin almost $70K a year when they don’t actually produce anything for your business?
Don’t get us wrong, having your own IT guy on staff full time has a lot of benefits. They only deal with your business, they come to work like all your other employees, they give you an expert on hand at all times should something go terribly wrong or—better yet—they keep things from going terribly wrong in the first place.
Unfortunately for the lion’s share of businesses out there, hiring a tech simply isn’t cost effective.
Another issue that small businesses which invest in an IT administrator have is that decision makers may begin to assign work to this lone technician and fill his/her days up with projects, so that he/she has no time left for support. The whole plan of having a technologically-savvy person on staff is to ensure that your IT runs the way it is designed to, but if you keep looking to the horizon for what IT investment you are going to make next, you could battle with inefficiency and downtime that’s right in front of you.
Outsourcing your IT support seems, on the surface, to be a solid proposition that provides answers to your questions and solutions to your problems. In fact, many people wrongly assume that outsourcing your IT support is the same as subscribing to managed IT services. This isn’t the case, even though they both involve hiring an outside vendor to see after critical IT issues.
Outsourcing your IT support is like having a remote break/fix vendor. We outlined the issues businesses have with break/fix. Outsourcing your IT support just gives the break/fix technician remote access to your computer. This may work to keep downtime from tearing apart your business’ effectiveness, but really it is on the small business owner to choose what services they want to subscribe to.
The biggest drawback of this style of IT support is the variable costs that it has. Like any break/fix service, you will pay a premium for a technician’s time, and if your business isn’t covered for a particular issue, you will have to amend the service, costing you more money. An outsourced IT provider makes their money as an opportunist: remediating problems, not being proactive. An outsourced business model doesn’t allow for the partnership that managed IT services can provide.
Before we go into how great managed IT services can be for the up and coming business, let’s get into some of its cons. Firstly, it is a service that you pay into every month. Some months you won’t have any technology problems. While that doesn’t automatically mean that you wouldn’t have any without managed services, on the surface paying technology health insurance can be looked on as a detrimental characteristic. That’s about the only perceived negative attribute of managed IT service that comes to mind.
Managed IT services gives you all the benefits of having an in-house IT administrator without the prohibitive cost. In fact, an MSP is kind of subscription service for IT support. You’ll pay a fixed monthly rate for a team of certified IT professionals to proactively monitor and manage your IT infrastructure and network. Like an in-house technician, an MSP solves every IT problem a business has, but unlike any other form of IT service, the MSP needs your business to succeed to be profitable.
Think of it this way: the managed services provider hires some of the best technicians in Arkansas then takes on multiple clients. The more problems your business technology has, the more time and resources must be spent to remediate them. This costs the MSP money. If your business’ IT is working as intended, you won’t have costly downtime sinking your ability to take in revenue. Something similar can be said for the MSP, who doesn’t want to spend their time and resources fixing problems after the fact.
To accomplish this, trained and certified technicians use cutting-edge technology to remotely monitor, maintain, and manage your business’ IT proactively. Ensuring that all hardware is running properly and that the network is free from threats allows your business to be the best business it can be and allows the MSP to thrive. A win-win, and no one gets taken advantage of.
An MSP like Innovative Systems, Inc. also keeps software updated, offers around the clock service, ensures that your data is backed up and available for restore, and a laundry list of other things that keeps your business’ IT running fluidly. On top of all that support, we’ve also forged great relationships with some of today’s most successful IT vendors. This fact, and the presence of trained technicians that work with business technology day-in and day-out, allows you to add to your business’ technology portfolio quickly without the headaches and cost you would find with other IT support vendors.
If you would like to talk to one of our consultants about the immense value you stand to get by choosing Innovative Systems, Inc. for your managed IT services, give us a call today at (501) 217-8484.