When I speak with other business owners, I field many variations of the question,"Would managed services benefit my company?"
As with most things, the answer is: It depends. Although we have an inherent desire for simple black-and-white answers, the reality is that some companies benefit from managed IT services and some do not. Let's take a closer look.
Topics: Small Business IT Resources, small business it support, Managed IT Services, small business solutions, IT Managed Services, Utilizing Technology in Business, small business IT infrastructure, IT best practices, IT Strategy
How do your employees communicate and collaborate? Is the level of functionality in your office working so that everyone's best talents are put to use, especially yours? Although most small business owners are initially successful because (by being clever and intrepid) they can 'do everything', it also means that owners tend to take on all the responsibilities, working tirelessly to increase profits by whatever means necessary. This usually results in long days, as you struggle to pull yourself ahead while your true talents for networking, leadership and sales get pushed aside. Needless to say, this isn't the most efficient way to use your time.
Encourage Individual Strengths
As a small to medium business (SMB), your IT infrastructure plays a critical role in your overall strategy. The least expensive way to run technology is through process, but the problem is that it is difficult for the average small and medium business to develop an effective IT process, because of the extensive skills, tools and resources required. It takes a village - one that can be amortized across a broad customer base to gain sufficient economies of scale to make it cost-effective.
There are a dozen different technology areas in which an organization needs expertise in order to effectively execute a technology process for a small business, so it is very difficult for an SMB to have a dedicated IT person with all of these skills. An IT process is not simply a static list of to-dos that, once-completed, is shelved. The firm you choose to help you develop and implement your IT process should understand that the process is a living, breathing, dynamic outline of your approach to IT, ensuring that your IT infrastructure is aligned with your business goals, that you are proactively addressing the challenges of your business using best practices, and that you have a clear idea about the true cost of IT. Your IT process has to be dynamic and changing because technology and your business are always changing.
Most business owners realize they play a major role in choosing partners to provide the services they need, whether it’s for information technology, logistics, sales leads, marketing or accounting. Oftentimes, though, the selection process becomes hurried, is limited to just a few referrals, or is delegated to someone who has little insight into the challenges that lie ahead. The consequences can be disappointing, both in terms of quality and overhead cost. Because the partners you choose can significantly impact your bottom line, your role should be squarely focused on “getting it right” when seeking out potential partners.
When you have a headache, you might just take some aspirin and be confident that it will go away. But what happens when you keep getting the same headache over and over? Do you keep taking an aspirin, or do you try to find out what is causing the headaches and solve the root cause of your problems?
As a small business owner, you face numerous challenges, not the least of which is choosing the right IT provider. Business owners often do not understand their true costs stemming from technology. The true costs of IT are not what the company pays to the service provider but far more related to productivity, risk, and ROI. Such an important business decision probably should not be delegated to another team member.