It wasn’t very long ago that only large enterprises were leveraging managed services to handle their IT. Times have changed and many small and mid-size businesses are recognizing the benefits of leveraging a managed service provider to handle their IT support and strategy. Despite these changes, many executives and business owners still have misconceptions about the managed service model and are unwilling to outsource. Here are 14 misconceptions you might have that are holding you to an outdated, risky and expensive technology strategy.
1. A managed service provider will never be available for problems that arise.
One of the fears that many companies have is that staff from a managed service provider won’t be available should problems arise with the IT systems. The reality is that manage service providers often have the ability to provide 24 hours/7 days a week service more efficiently than company employees can. Because managed IT service providers have staff capable of responding to problems should they arise, they also monitor and support the client’s systems around the clock, thus becoming aware of problems even before the users.
2. A managed service provider is a remote monitoring service.
A well established Managed IT service provider doesn’t stop at remote monitoring services, although they typically do provide remote monitoring. Seasoned providers have bundled many of the costs of IT into one bill and provide value-added services. Typical offerings include strategic consulting, staffing, security, cloud computing, and reinforcing IT teams who are under-skilled or understaffed. A confident managed service provider will also include unlimited on-site and off-site support.
3. We’ll have to fire our IT person.
There is no need to fire the IT staff at a company when using a managed service provider. Often managed service providers work with a company’s IT specialists to provide a better solution for managing complex systems. Service providers frequently offload tasks so the IT person can work on other projects, many that have been languishing due to short staff. They can also provide an affordable alternative to hiring specific skill-sets that are complementary to an existing IT department.
4. Our needs are too specialized for a managed service provider.
No matter how specialized an organization’s job is, a managed service provider focuses on managing the technology and they’re experts in supporting it regardless of the market. The client company can now focus on the core business and not the technology.
5. We require special compliance that a manage service provider cannot keep up with.
Many organizations are concerned about the strict compliance regulations that their particular industry has. These regulations deal with how data is used and stored and often change. This is why many businesses are concerned about how managed service providers will comply with their particular regulations. However, managed IT service providers must comply with these regulations all the time, and to stay in business must implement the changes quickly. The managed service provider may be more compliant than the client company could be.
6. Using a managed service provider is too costly.
It is clearly a myth that managed service providers are too expensive for today’s medium to small businesses. With the advent of cloud computing, the cost of hiring a managed service provider is far less than purchasing equipment and software, and hiring personnel to maintain a data center. In fact, when choosing a managed service provider, a business will receive a predictable monthly fee that the company can plan on. Companies that decide to keep their IT in-house will generally pay 25 to 40 percent more to maintain equipment and software that will eventually become obsolete and need replacing.
7. The managed service provider won’t care as much as an employee.
Companies are often wary of outsourcing equipment and labor thinking that their own IT employees will care more about their product and bottom-line than a managed service provider. The reality is that IT employees come and go and that if the employees are hired at a lower rate, they receive training that will enable them to move on to higher-paying positions that smaller businesses are incapable of matching. The other problem is relying too much on one person. If that person leaves, the company has no expert and have to scramble to find temporary and long term support options. By partnering with a managed IT service provider, the business has support regardless of what happens to the outsourced employee.
8. We have specialized applications that a managed service provider cannot support.
Many businesses are under the mistaken impression that a managed IT service provider cannot possibly support the applications that are intrinsic to their business.Businesses heavily rely on particular employees as an expert resource. The applications specific to the particular industry may indeed be specialized, but if properly implemented, not only will they have their expert resource, but the company will have an expert resource in-house as well as outsourced. Managed IT service providers allow businesses to have experts who make their IT transparent and enable the company to get on with the business at hand.
9. Once we go with a managed service provider, we have to outsource everything.
Having a managed service provider doesn’t mean a company has to outsource everything. It’s not an all or nothing proposition. The business or organization can choose what areas they wish to outsource, and what areas they wish to remain in-house. In fact, many businesses start outsourcing just one particular thing, such as a single project, or the help desk. By outsourcing unwanted projects, the company frees up their IT resources for more important projects.
10. Only big businesses use managed service providers.
The use of managed service providers used to be the realm of big business, but the reality is that it has leveled the playing field for small and medium businesses so that they can compete against bigger companies. Small and medium-sized businesses don’t have to purchase costly technology to compete with bigger companies any longer. These smaller businesses now have access to the same resources that the bigger companies have without all the upfront costs.
11. Using a managed service provider is less secure.
Managed IT service providers can provide security as good or better than anything that can be done in-house. Reputable managed service providers have become experts in disaster recovery, network security, and high-availability. Often, because they are experts in compliance regulations, they are able to keep abreast of the latest changes regarding data security.
12. If we use a managed service provider, we’ll lose control of our IT infrastructure.
When choosing a managed IT service provider, it’s important to maintain a good relationship with them and be sure that they foster transparency. Audits, regular reports, and staying informed as to where your data is stored, what security measures are in place, and how they back up is important to ensuring that you maintain control.
13. We’ll have lower service levels than with an in-house IT person.
Managed IT service providers can provide on-site or off-site assistance. Unlike an in-house person, off-site assistance is often available 24/7 and can help any employee no matter where they are. If employees are off-site, service providers can often be contacted immediately to resolve the problem, whereas if they need to contact an in-house person, they may or may not have the ability to get a hold of them.
14. Our staff with the managed service provider will be a revolving door.
Managed service providers are capable of providing staff on-site as well as support off-site. Their employees are no more susceptible to leaving then the company’s own employees. In fact, reliance on one particular person is less likely because the managed service provider has many experts capable of fulfilling the role needed.