For many small to medium size businesses, IT represents a problem when it’s time to think about how you can grow.
Should your business grow first – then scale IT requirements second? Will you be able to deliver your service without the necessary IT in place? Or, is it better to grow your IT before you think about how business growth could follow? Making sure you’ve got the right foundations in place?
One thing’s certain, trying to tackle growth and IT at the same time is likely to leave you exhausted – and unlikely to be able to apply your full focus to building your business. So, is employing the services of a managed service provider a good step?
Here, we’ll look at what a managed service provider(MSP) can offer and the kind of growth problems they can help you solve.
1. Don’t let IT stand in the way of growth
Growing your IT very rarely simply involves plugging a new device in and getting on with your business. Instead, you can expect your new applications or devices to need a lot of attention. Whether that relates to the software needed to bring systems together, or the physical layout of your business and the logistics needed to place the device where it’s needed.
When you work with an experienced managed IT service provider, you don’t have to wrap yourself up in the practicalities of making your IT network function – they’ll do it for you – and quickly.
For you, this means you can focus on the service you want to deliver – and you’ve got a team behind you who can make sure you’ve got the infrastructure in place to actually deliver it.
2. Make sure you’re delivering – all the time
When you work with an MSP, you’ll find they’re keen to talk about a service level agreement’ or ‘SLA’. An SLA is a working document that maps out what your MSP will deliver for you. And the agreement should be tailored to your business.
For some companies, having IT support at the end of the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a week is vital. For others, just knowing that there’s a team keeping an eye on your network’s performance is adequate.
A large part of an SLA relates to the ‘uptime’ of your business network – the time that your end-users or customers can be using the network to its full potential. Again, for some companies, office-hours will suffice – but for other companies, especially those in the e-commerce field, downtime can mean missed revenue.
If you need to make sure you’re delivering to your full potential to drive your business growth, it can be extremely helpful to know you’ve got a team of people who are making sure your IT is up to the challenge.
3. Spot problems – before they’re problems
If growth is the name of the game, then anything but forward movement is a missed opportunity. So, getting to work to find your systems have run into a catastrophic problem is going to mean putting the brakes on building the business.
Many MSPs can keep a proactive eye on your IT network around the clock – and, assuming it falls within your SLA, will work to remedy the problem as quickly as possible.
If your company’s growth will be bolstered by the fact your MSP is more likely to present solutions instead of problems, then it makes sense to bring one onboard in a preventative capacity – so they’re there should issues arise.
4. Have a roadmap to success
So far, we’ve outlined a series of benefits that could, in theory, be equally delivered by a very well-equipped in-house IT team – so it’s worth considered ways in which MSPs are unique – and can bring unique skill sets to your growth plans.
One of those areas is ‘best practice’ – and the fact that they’re likely to be working with companies similar to yours every day.
But shouldn’t all IT professionals be well versed in IT? The answer, of course, is yes – but often, IT teams just aren’t exposed to the breadth of issues and problems that an MSP will encounter. The more problems your IT support experiences, the more solutions are found. So, if you want a team that knows what’s likely to happen when you grow and expand, an MSP is likely to offer a lot more experience for your money.
5. Understand your costs
Growth should always take place with one eye on finances – and often, IT represents the biggest outlay when your company expands.
Should you invest money in an in-house team before you drive forward? Do you have the time to wait before they’re fully versed in the tech you need to win the new clients and extend your services? Can you afford to recruit to build your experience base?
MSPs bring an almost unlimited amount of knowledge and experience to the table – and it’s usually at a fraction of the price of an in-house team. What’s more, those costs are predictable – a monthly charge that relates to the depth of your SLA.
If you want to grow without IT costs running away with you – bringing an MSP on board can save a lot of financial headaches.
6. Focus your energy
Again, it’s important to recognize that there can be a time and place to have an in-house IT team in place – but when you’ve got a roadmap that’s based around business growth – it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to fit ‘IT recruitment’ on your list of things to do.
An MSP is like working with an IT team in a box. Sure, they’re not on your location – but they’re only ever a call away – and usually, they’ll be able to get a person on to your site quickly if it’s needed.
When you strike ‘in-house IT team recruitment’ off your to-do list, you’re able to focus your energy purely on delivering business growth – and you won’t have to worry about maintaining another staff team moving forward either…