You may have read our blog on the benefits of managed IT services providers. While there are many benefits, there are also qualifying questions you should ask yourself when considering outsourcing your IT to a managed services provider.
The managed services market has forecasts suggesting that the market could grow to $356.24 billion by 2025. Depending on your industry and the infrastructure of your organization, managed IT services may or may not be appropriate for your business.
To help determine if managed services would be a good fit for your organization, here are some managed services qualifying questions to ask yourself :
1. Are you having trouble finding and retaining qualified IT professionals?
Talent and retention is one of the biggest challenges for businesses today. It’s not just in IT – it’s across the board. But it’s even more challenging to find IT personnel with the increase in demand and shortage of individuals choosing a technology career path. The average tenure for an IT employee is just one to three years.
As a business executive, you likely did not graduate with a degree in information technology and you probably struggle to understand whether an IT applicant has the skills you need or the proficiency you desire. You may hire someone who is not the right fit for the role or organization, which can result in higher turnover. IT staff turnover has many costs to your business, including the hiring and training process, as well as time lost when the role is not filled.
Rather than trying to hiring an IT individual, managed IT services can provide you with an entire staff of fully-trained and perfectly qualified experts available to you when you need them. The burden of hiring and training costs can be lifted off your shoulders while giving you access to a variety of technology experts.
2. Do you operate outside standard business hours?
Many organizations likely complete some work outside of the normal 9 to 5, and with remote work becoming much more common, you may find employees and yourself working outside of the previously normal work hours. If you run into a technological issue on a Saturday evening, you may not want to interrupt your internal IT team while they are enjoying time away from work with their family.
Work/Life balance is important to many organizations and their employees. A 24x7x365 Managed Services Provider staffs different shifts to cover these types of situations. This means that even if you run into an issue at 9 A.M. on a Sunday, or 11:30 PM on Christmas Eve, you will have an engineer available to assist you.
3. Do you have a forward-thinking IT team that can help you keep up with the technology landscape, or do you feel like your strategy is lacking?
Typically, this is the grumble that kicks off the conversation. Usually when an executive feels unhappy with their current IT situation, it’s because they see the innovation in technology and the changes in business happening so quickly – it’s nearly impossible to keep up. Plus, when you have an IT person on staff, it’s a challenge for them to keep all of their skills up-to-date and up-to-par without sacrificing the time they need to do their job. Not to mention the costs associated to maintain necessary certifications.
Some executives experience a feeling that they are missing out, especially when they look at what their competition is accomplishing. With managed IT services, you gain an IT partner. It’s very similar to working with a financial advisor. They tell you what someone in a position similar to your own should be doing to set yourself up for success based on your goals.
An IT advisor can do the same. They share what trends they’re seeing with technology in your industry and help you create a roadmap to take your business from where it is to where you want it to be. Managed Services Providers gain a deep understanding of your technological environment from the start, allowing them to keep your strategy up-to-date for all aspects of the technology spectrum, from cloud computing to hardware. Best-in-class providers conduct a quarterly business review in order to ensure client’s infrastructures are kept current and plans are reviewed for a long-term strategy.
Instead of worrying about your IT personnel learning skills and working to prevent their focus from becoming myopic and narrow, a managed IT services solution provides you with a large team that is always current with top level certifications and skills across the technology spectrum.
4. Are you having a hard time managing and maintaining current IT infrastructure?
This question is another one that often sparks the managed IT services conversation. A business executive knows that their IT infrastructure is aging, and knows that they need to make changes, but struggle to understand exactly what needs to be changed or how. Then they are concerned the changes they make will just need to be revisited in a year or two, or that they will choose the wrong type of solution and it will not fix the original problem.
By consulting with an IT expert, one that has likely come across the same challenges in your industry, you will gain insight into what is truly necessary and what is standard for your business. They can also help you determine which pieces of equipment need to be replaced, moved to the cloud, or what may be repurposed to save money.
5. What is your company’s growth strategy and how will your technology support it?
Ultimately, your technology has to contribute to your success and should not be the thing that is holding you back. If your company is prepared to grow, but you are unsure of whether your infrastructure can support it, or if you don’t know how you will support your technology from multiple locations, managed IT services can help.
Many of the businesses we work with turn multiple locations into an advantage rather than a challenge. For example, it may be in your organization’s best interest to set up specialized disaster recovery solutions using your multi-location footprint. We also have the expertise to ensure that each branch is connected to facilitate easy communication between employees, using collaboration tools like Microsoft teams.
6. Are you able to focus on core business objectives with confidence that your I.T. management will support them?
Business technology is incredibly time consuming to plan and difficult to keep up-to-date. Managing IT is not what you want to be doing day-to-day for your business. You want to focus and expand on the core purpose of your organization to meet your goals or the goals of your owners or board. Your IT should aid in your business growth, and it should be managed in a way that allows you to get back to the foundation of your business.
This is one of the essential purposes of a Managed Services Provider, and one of the biggest reasons organizations choose to outsource their IT. When you are confident in who is managing your technology, and how it is being managed, you can get back to focusing on your business.
7. Are you confident in your cybersecurity posture?
While no longer overlooked at the same level it was years ago, cybersecurity is an essential part of your technology strategy. This is not a fair burden to put on your internal IT department, as they do not have the bandwidth or qualifications to outline your security posture. Furthermore, having someone inexperienced in cybersecurity leaves your business vulnerable to the many forms of cyber threats that exist today. Using a managed services provider can often mean improving your security posture as well, if the MSP has a team dedicated solely to your cybersecurity, and a virtual chief security officer to create a strong cybersecurity posture for your organization.
A managed IT services partnership can be extremely beneficial for a business that needs to stay on top of their technology in order to foster business growth, but is unable or not interested to maintain that technology with an in-house IT team. The above managed services qualifying questions should help you decide if a Managed Services Provider would be right for your organization.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July of 2013, updated in 2020, and has since been updated for accuracy and relevance.