A Look Into Managed IT Services

January 27, 2012

Who is Minding Your Store?

The definition of Managed IT Services can vary greatly from provider to provider but in general, it is defined as an outside firm or servce provider who handles your IT needs including support, system monitoring, backups, patches and spam filtering. Some companies are even providing the option to rent hardware from them along with a managed network service. The main idea is that someone else is minding the store when it comes to IT infrastructure.

Are you settling for the same old same old?

One common approach to IT services and support has been the time and materials model. You have a computer problem and you call your provider . You then wait until they come and fix it. Then you get a bill. You don’t see them again until you have another problem. Then you call them, and wait for them to come and fix things. Then you get another bill. Maybe then you decide this has to stop so the next time you have a problem you spend an hour trying to fix it yourself because you don’t want to get another bill. Now you have spent an hour doing something that has nothing to do with what you are supposed to be accomplishing and chances are your computer is still not working exactly the way you want it to. When it comes right down to it, the time and materials approach means that your provider has no true responsibility for your network.

Is it time for a change?

It is very common for businesses to have what we like to call “current provider preference”. There is a sense of security around a known entity. But, could it be that you are just more comfortable with the devil you know? Do you find yourself saying things like “if only they ….” or “I just wish I was sure that they had….” When it comes to actually changing providers, you are skeptical. Perhaps they make promises to do better or to lower their costs. Ultimately though, it is a matter of trust and if you are spending time second guessing whether or not they are doing their job properly or fairly, you aren’t able to focus on your business and you aren’t getting a good return on your IT investment dollars. Your IT support is only a good value if you are getting the service you need in a timely manner allowing you to focus on doing your job. Don’t settle for anything less.

Why consider Managed IT Services?

There are lots of reasons to consider outsourcing your IT services. Some of the main considerations that drive businesses to consider a managed services provider are:
• limited IT staff or no IT staff at all
• frustration with current IT provider
• a need to update outdated technology
• outgrowing current IT resources
• a budget that doesn’t allow for year round full time coverage of IT needs
Perhaps the most compelling reason to consider outsourcing your IT is, the more time you spend trying to get your technology to work, the less time you have to focus on growing your business.

A good managed IT services provider will align your goals with theirs and help you move away from the trap of only addressing problems when it is too late. They will take a proactive versus reactive approach to your network. By doing this, it takes the distraction of computer issues out of your job and allows you to finally focus on what you were hired to do. Your days will no longer be filled with delays due to computer problems. With computers running smoothly and virus free, you can accomplish your work with greater efficiency.

What’s my first step?

If you are ready for a change and want to stop second guessing whether your infrastructure is secure and well cared for, the first step is to find a good managed services provider. How do you do this? It is important to know what your company’s IT needs are. It is also important to understand what is included in the managed services you are looking to purchase. You will want to evaluate what the true cost of your downtime is. You also need to know that all managed services providers are not created equally. It is important to get recent references and to research the type of services they provide in detail. Some managed services companies provide a fixed cost option which would allow you to contain your IT costs and still benefit from the expertise that you want and need. Doing this research will help ensure that you truly understand what you are purchasing and that it matches your needs. You have no doubt grown to rely on your technology. If it is not working and the person or company you hired is not responding, your business is going to be affected.

Why not just hire someone?

So you may be asking yourself, “why not just hire my own employee?” You may think that if someone works for your company directly that will give you better control over things and an accountability that may not exist when you outsource your IT services. That may be true on some levels however, what do you give up in order to achieve that accountability?

• Access to a resource pool with a broad range of expertise
• Coverage regardless of vacation schedules/sick days
• Freedom from the impact of staff turnover
• Freedom from the cost of benefits/fully burdened salaries

If any of these items are things you currently struggle with, it may be time to consider managed IT services. Managed IT service is no longer a “nice to have”. It affords you greater advantages and fewer drawbacks regarding your IT network. Quite simply, it is the right way to handle your IT needs.

About UNAPEN and ITCOMPLETE™
UNAPEN, founded in 1991, has been providing IT support and services for a wide variety of companies throughout the country. In 2001, UNAPEN began to move toward a more managed service model of providing IT support. ITCOMPLETE, with automated processes and remotely managed support, was first released in 2006. UNAPEN’s technology experts specialize in streamlining operations and workflow across organizations to help your business grow, minimize overhead and provide you a strategic competitive edge over other firms. UNAPEN also offers client relationship management and automated client reporting software tailored for firms in the financial services industry. For more information, visit www.myitcomplete.com or call (203) 269-6111.

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