Organizations face a challenge at some point: Should I consider an MSP? Or should I keep, or hire, an IT Technician? The leadership looks across the enterprise and sees the need for some help in IT, brought on by two types of challenges: the needs of a growing business and the increased complexity of technology in general. The growing business is challenged by the sheer volume of expanded technology needs and processing. And for any organization, the complexity of technology grows, with decisions about on premise, cloud and SAAS systems, new security threats, and the likely occupation of someone’s time not well versed in IT. We see many small organizations that try to have a CAD engineer do it, or the CFO works on it part time. It is not a good use of resources and two areas of the organization are affected.
This then raises the question: Should I hire an IT Tech (or add more), or look for another option? That option, which is attractive for businesses is a “Managed Service Provider”, or MSP. An MSP is a company you contract with to take care of your IT needs, and they are obligated for certain services and results.
But why not hire or add IT techs as employees?
A single tech, or small IT department presents significant limitations.
First, there is limited time. Let’s assume you have one IT Tech; that provides roughly 40 hours a week (or less of services). But the problem is one of bandwidth, not capacity. You may have only 40 hours of needs per week, or even less. But what if the needs are simultaneous? Multiple users have a need at once, or a project must be completed that will be take longer than reasonable. The impact of delays in these areas is delays in business deliverables like proposals and shipments, and a slow down on business growth momentum – it is a bottleneck.
The second limitation is in knowledge. IT is a diverse area of skills – no one person can adequately do all the support needed. They may be strong in email but very weak in backups, capable in desktop support, but weak in security. There are actually at least nine distinct technology areas every small business needs skills in, and one person, or even two, cannot meet the needs. You may even think you are getting adequate expertise, but how do you know it was all done correctly and no issues will arise tomorrow? There will invariably be a failure in a key area.
And finally, related to the inability to know if the skills are adequate, there is a limitation of ability for the business to know what is happening in IT. For the average business leader, the ability to understand IT is limited, and you will pay for this when you must accept the single view of your one IT Tech. You cannot manage to a result, or even a budget. We have seen countless times where the single IT Tech told the business they need litany of very expensive equipment and software, but they are building a technology candy store – not an IT function sized to the needs of the business. But how can you know? You cannot.
What will an MSP give me?
A “Managed Service Provider”, or MSP is a company you contract with to take care of your IT needs, and they are obligated for certain services and results.
The contract will likely include these characteristics:
- Outcomes based: Service Level Agreements (SLA) on response to user needs or uptime.
- Easy to understand deliverables: You sign an agreement for deliverables you can grasp, such “offsite backups”, and avoid discussions about “how do offsite backups work?” and “Can I buy some servers for my basement to do the offsite backups to there?” (Yes, we saw that!)
- A fixed monthly fee for a set of fixed services – Most clients of Keystone can reliably budget for the monthly cost, and have little other costs for technology.
- A single point for when issues happen – With a contracted set of comprehensive services, a single call to the MSP can assign them the responsibility for handling issues and the reaction to resolve the issue.
And with the MSP of a minimum size, you will get multiple people with deep knowledge of all the areas you will need them for: security, email, PCs, mobile, network, internet, server management, backups, etc. You will also have more bandwidth for projects so they can be accomplished more quickly; for example, upgrading all the PCs to the new version of Office in one week instead of two months, so all users are compatible with each other sooner.
And finally, the qualified MSP will bring their own tools, which can be expensive, such as help desk and monitoring software, hosted systems and offsite backups, and bundled productivity tools like Microsoft Office 365.
You owe it to yourself to consider Keystone as your MSP!
If you are at a point of considering this subject, you must consider using an MSP. Keystone Technology Consultants manages the IT environments for organizations of over 300 users, and has the skills to help you at a fixed monthly cost. Contact us today to see how we can help!