Is it time to outsource your IT?

There will come a time when every business needs to consider the benefits of outsourcing.

When starting out the goal is generally to keep operating costs down. To do this, business owners often choose to wear multiple hats. Not only are they the chief executive, they’re also head of marketing, head of sales, and chief information officer – regardless of whether they’re an expert in the field or not.

However, what ends up happening is business owners find themselves working in the business – not on it.

One way to help alleviate these responsibilities is for business owners to outsource non-core business functions, including warehousing, administration, human resources, and IT.

For the IT function, many businesses look to leverage the expertise of an IT managed service provider, more commonly known as an MSP. This can be particularly helpful because as a business grows, so too do the IT responsibilities.

IT responsibilities include everything from knowing how critical information is stored and secured, to whether information is backed up in preparation of a network failure or knowing what impact a sudden disaster would have on the business. The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has also added another layer of complexity. When responsibilities like these exist, it’s important to weigh up the opportunity costs of keeping these responsibilities in-house, especially if it’s not your business’ core competency or you don’t have the skills to tackle the task.

An ideal relationship with an MSP is one where they can offer your business a total service package. When organisations opt for a service package, businesses can focus on the business, while MSPs take care of the machines that are running in the background to keep the lights on. This is particularly useful if your business is looking to streamline processes by upgrading existing technology solutions with minimal disruption.

Outsourcing to an MSP is also a great tactic when you want to take advantage of expertise to scale your business. Instead of wasting time and money on experimenting, you can leverage more cost effective and efficient services.

But how can businesses find their perfect MSP match? It may not be as easy as swiping left or right; however, there are a few criteria that businesses can use:

1. Referrals
Ask potential MSPs for case studies and speak to their other customers. This will help gain a better sense of how they work, as well as any positive or negative feedback.

2. Call on a specialist
Look for an MSP with customers that are in your field. This will serve as a clear indication that the MSP has a strong knowledge about what your specific business requirements are, as these will differ from sector to sector.

This is much like how individuals and businesses have the choice to either do their own taxes or seek the assistance of an accountant that specialises in their industry in order to maximise their returns.

3. Conveniently located
While most MSPs can now serve their clients remotely without sacrificing service quality or responsiveness, onsite support is still needed from time to time. If having the option for in person technical support is an important consideration for you and your business, being conveniently located could be the deciding factor between potential MSPs.

But once you’ve made the decision to put your trust in a Managed Service Provider, just like any other professional service, it’s worth listening to them and acting upon their advice. After all, you’ve outsourced your IT for a reason and that’s so you can focus on your business, rather than simply be in it.

James Bergl, Regional Director – ANZ, Datto

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