According to Google Trends, last year saw a marked increase in the interest surrounding managed IT services. Demand from businesses worldwide is rising year on year as enterprise-level companies seek to improve how they manage and develop their IT performance, spurred on by an ever-increasing awareness of the value IT has for businesses.
Forbes, and a number of other leading publications and sources, have concluded that digital data is now the most resource asset in the world, beyond that of gold and oil. Proper management, and thus leverage of this data, requires the best possible IT systems, and many are starting to see managed IT as the way forward when it comes to developing an edge over their competition.
But why is that? — is it actually realistic to replace more traditional in-house IT support with managed IT services?
In a Nutshell: What Is Managed IT?
Instead of having your own in-house department complete IT work, you hire an IT service provider to carry out tasks within your business.
How managed IT is deployed can range from having an IT service provider offer a single solution as a one-off project — for example, helping your business handle a merger — all the way up to hiring the service to do all of your IT jobs — from monitoring cyber security to managing support tickets.
As a managed service, the idea is that you can take a hands-off approach. The managed IT service will have all the expertise required to complete your objectives and advise you on best practice for IT implementation, management and development.
A good managed IT service works in much the same way as an IT department. You’ll have a Head of IT (project manager) that leadership can work with to make decisions, with a range of other support team members carrying out different tasks beneath the individual/s at management level.
You agree on the tasks they need to work on. They work on them.
Why Would You Want to Replace In-House With Managed?
Let’s start with the obvious.
For the same reason businesses opt to outsource any resource, the cost is usually the primary factor in the decision-making process when it comes to enlisting a managed IT service.
The cost of hiring, managing and building an IT department is very high. The kind of skills required for the work involved demands experienced and therefore expensive staff. Add that to the resources and technology needed to develop a fully-functional IT department, and then throw in the cost of training and fees associated with an ever-increasing need to update and evolve your IT systems, and the appeal of eliminating some of those costs becomes quite apparent.
Managed IT services cut costs for businesses by making it easier for businesses to avoid financial waste. There’s no cost of onboarding, no cost of staff training, no costs associated with employee perks and so on. The entire process makes IT spend ruthlessly efficient, allowing businesses to leverage their budget to make the greatest possible impact.
Yet while budget-friendly opportunities for IT might be a driving factor behind the rise in demand for managed IT, it’s far from the only reason.
Added Benefits of Managed IT
In the modern age of business, being scalable is essential. An adaptive company can take advantage of opportunities while also safeguarding against leaner times. In-house IT departments are static, with the only scalable option being to hire or fire. That means rapid response to opportunities for new development is difficult, while a need to reduce IT spend can lead to difficult and life-changing decisions.
Managed IT is different. By working with an IT service provider, businesses can increase and decrease their service spend as needed, allowing them to expand and contract IT resources as their circumstances change. The managed IT company will offer flexible solutions that enable you to scale both in proactive and reactive ways.
- Got a big new client coming on board and need increased IT output? Up your managed IT investment to handle it.
- Just been told you need to rapidly roll out new cyber security systems to defend against a digital threat? Managed IT has what you need right away.
And so, managed IT helps businesses become more agile and responsive.
Another way managed IT can help businesses is by filling skill gaps. Being an IT expert can mean many different things, including understanding cyber security, data management, hardware maintenance, application development, network monitoring and much more.
This list goes on.
If your business lacks skills in certain areas, managed IT can help you fill those holes, gaining access to practical skills and advice without hiring or training staff to plug the same gap.
The Reality: Does It Work?
The short answer is yes.
Managed IT is a tried-and-tested formula used by many large and small businesses worldwide to cut costs, drive up efficiency and develop an agile strategy.
The longer answer is that managed IT is only as good as the company that provides it. There is value in IT — there is no question — but poorly managed IT can actually hamper your efforts to succeed.
It’s important to remember at this point that not every managed IT service is the same. While service providers may offer similar products and opportunities, it’s the team behind them that makes the difference. Before you make your choice, make sure you delve into a managed IT service provider’s background, get to know them as best you can, read reviews, testimonials and case studies, and be confident in their ability to help you achieve your goals and ambitions.
Managed IT Doesn’t Have to Replace Your Current Department
Here’s a quick closing thought:
Managed IT does not have to replace your current IT department or team. Instead, the two can work together to develop your business. If you have existing IT support infrastructure, managed IT services can be acquired as an extension of your current system.
Take this as an example.
You currently have an IT team that covers the day-to-day management of your computer systems, including work activity, upgrades and cyber security. As part of your business goals, you need to move to a new system of cloud technology. Your current IT team cannot deliver this objective. Instead of replacing them, you can integrate managed IT into the department. Your new service provider can both rollout cloud services for your business and train your department to manage them once implemented.
Managed IT can work in harmony with your active business model. This is not about tearing down your IT and starting again; it’s about leveraging an adaptive and powerful resource to fit with your business needs.