Managed service providers (MSPs) are in high demand among organizations looking to improve the efficiency and dependability of their IT operations. A recent study states that the managed services market will grow to a staggering $193 billion by 2019 and to $230 billion by 2020.
Why is this business model becoming hugely popular? Well, imagine a medium-sized company with an IT department large enough to accommodate every IT related demand. Cyber-security, disaster recovery, server maintenance, software development, and storage are just a few of the many things an all internal IT department has to worry about. A department of this size would presumably be one of the biggest in the organization and make up a large portion of the operating budget. It would also be more focused on managing technology and its associated infrastructure instead of concentrating on creating efficiencies and boosting productivity.
John Chancellor, a solutions architect at CDW, wanted to see what organizations were missing when IT focused solely on maintenance. He convinced one of his clients to completely abandon maintenance for two weeks passing those responsibilities to CDW and gave them free reign to develop any type of software that would optimize operations. After the period had passed, the CEO was presented with an app developed in house that ended up reducing help desk calls by 75 percent saving the company much more in recouped productivity than it cost to completely outsource IT operations.
The takeaway? Outsourcing maintenance and infrastructure to MSPs allows organizations to pour more human resources into innovation, making the business more successful.
Outsourcing some part of your IT operations isn’t a new concept. According to a recent study, 64% of organizations currently use some sort of managed IT service for at least one function. Nevertheless, you should be careful who you befriend. It’s important to make sure that your MSP offers 24/7 technical support, access to the latest cloud products and solid migration services. More and more MSPs are partnering with cloud providers, and this is generally a good indicator that they will hold their end of the bargain. It’s also important that you work with a provider that specializes in your industry, or at least has some clients competing in the same industry as yours.
When choosing an IT service provider, it’s important to measure and evaluate the value you are getting in return. Here are five key areas you should consider:
Cost effectiveness: Opting for an MSP allows organizations to accurately predict their IT expenses on a monthly basis. This lets the leadership plan ahead and funds larger IT projects that will benefit the organization in the long run. It also gives you the flexibility to scale back or grow the IT operations in a way that is simply not possible with an internal IT team. MSPs professionals are in a constant search for cutting spending and improving cost management. In fact, 46 percent of the organizations that outsource to MSPs have reported at least a 25 percent reduction in overall IT costs.
Access to the latest technologies: Managed services is a competitive industry, and MSPs are under competitive pressure to stay on the cutting edge. In-house software engineers can take months to code scripts that would adapt an organization’s applications to the latest technology advancements, but MSPs work at scale across their customer base, having huge libraries of scripts at the ready most of which require only minor tweaks to accommodate each client’s unique need. In addition, managed cloud solutions can be deployed much quicker, making them a huge time and money saver for organizations.
Reduction of security risks: Cyber security is becoming the biggest scarecrow for businesses, and for good reason. Ransomware attacks quadrupled in 2016 and are projected to double again in 2017. It’s clear that businesses need help with navigating this increasingly complex threat, and MSPs have a plethora of security services at the ready including complex firewalls, email security, and spam filtering. Backup services are playing a much bigger role as well, since restoring the most recent backup is currently the only way to recover from a ransomware attack. In fact, 56 percent of IT service providers point towards backup and recovery as their top-selling service.
Increase in performance: The C-Suite usually spends little or no time to worry about day-to-day tasks like the dependability of the internal network or the speed of network connections. A fully managed IT support service can fix most bugs, vulnerabilities and internal issues before they become a major concern that is flagged upstairs to the leadership team. MSPs can use robust business continuity solutions like BDR (backup and disaster recovery) that combines RMM (remote monitoring and management) intelligence with virtualization, cloud computing and encrypted backups in a truly proactive approach to managing your IT functions a solution that would be tough for an internal IT organization to pull off efficiently and at scale.
Accelerated innovation: Given recent digital transformation trends, organizations are finding that they rely on a lot more on technologies than they did just a few years ago. Each new implementation and added user increases complexity and creates a break-down point that can grind business processes to a stop. The efficiency of an IT specialist is highly hindered the more time is spent troubleshooting and fixing problems. IT partners give organizations the luxury of allocating internal IT talent to more strategic processes that create efficiencies, improve productivity or drive new revenue streams. MSPs are equipped to handle routine tasks and employ experts who are ready to handle any urgent issue in a hasty fashion.
It has never been a better time to be in the market for an MSP. Pricing aside, it makes sense to work with a company that specializes in your organization’s field of work, or at least one that is prepared to upgrade and adapt their operations so that they can offer you the best service possible.