No business today can operate efficiently without a right, modern IT infrastructure. Again, it has to be agile, flexible and scalable to manage growth and gain competitive advantage with changing industry standards and regulations. At the same time, it should be cost-effective, improve reliability and free up your staff to focus more on business over technology.
One smart way is to adopt Managed IT Services – which is an emerging global trend. Here, businesses outsource their IT infrastructure and management to a third party IT company, referred to as a Managed Service Provider (MSP). It’s getting popular and widely accepted by small businesses today.
According to Statistica, The global managed services market is forecast to reach more than 200 billion U.S. dollars in size in 2020. Over the next few years revenue from the managed services market is set to grow to more than 300 billion U.S. dollars.
Another report from MarketsandMarkets says that, the market size of Managed IT Services is expected to grow from USD 152.45 Billion in 2017 to USD 257.84 Billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.1% during the forecast period.
So, what exactly is managed IT services and why it is becoming a buzzword these days.
What are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT Services or simply Managed Services are delivered by a third party IT company known as Managed Service Providers (MSP). They are specialised IT consultants that help to set up, manage, scale, monitor and maintain your entire IT infrastructure depending upon your business requirement.
It includes a wide range of services such as IT consulting, cloud services, bespoke software solutions, VoIP services, backup and disaster recovery services, cyber security, IT assessments, remote monitoring etc.
With Managed IT Services, you get a single point of service from MSP giving you a complete peace of mind.
Key Benefits of Managed IT Services
Here are the 10 key benefits that businesses can leverage by outsourcing IT to a trusted MSP.
- Effective IT strategy and planning
- Access to a certified, experienced team to manage your IT infrastructure
- Faster adoption & implementation of new technologies and trends
- Significant savings on IT costs
- No headache of hiring and training of IT staff
- Better service levels or SLAs
- Stay focused on your business
- Robust IT security and risk management
- Increase in business efficiency and growth
- Proactive remote monitoring and management
Why is Managed IT Services very important for Small Businesses?
Firstly, small businesses have limited funds to manage their IT infrastructure. Dealing with emerging technologies, implementing them in the right way and ensuring that there is no or minimal downtime can all be very challenging.
Plus, upfront capital investment, having a dedicated in-house IT team, investing in technical skills upgradation etc can greatly impact the bottom line. This makes it non viable for any small business.
With managed IT services, a small business can instantly enjoy the known benefits with higher ROI.
What's included in Managed IT Services?
Almost everything. Services include all that is typically carried out by any in-house IT team such as
- IT Infrastructure & Networking Management
- SaaS/IaaS solutions
- Backups & Disaster Recovery
- Security & Compliance
- System Monitoring & Maintenance
- Assets & Account Management
- Remote IT Support
- Documentation & Reporting.
In-house IT Services vs Managed IT Services
Well both options have their pros and cons. Looking from a small business standpoint, it will be difficult for them to hire a dedicated in-house IT team with varied skills, experience and expertise. Instead, they recruit a few IT specialists asking them to manage a bit of everything regardless of their core expertise. There are high chances of making a mess of the situation (which otherwise can be avoided) in the process of self-experimentation with limited knowledge on best practises and compliances. Sometimes, this can turn into a costly affair with severe impact on business continuity.
Hence, it’s highly recommended for small businesses to choose Managed IT Services over In-house IT Services. A strategic partnership with MSP not only gives a competitive edge, but also helps to stay focused on your business, grow faster and scale as required.
How to choose a Right Managed IT Service Provider?
It’s your MSP’s responsibility to keep your IT infrastructure fully functional, safe and secure. Also, ensure to keep it up and running all the time inline to agreed SLAs. So, picking a right managed IT service provider becomes very critical for any business.
So the question is what exactly should you look for while choosing a MSP?
- Check if the MSP understands your industry, your business, your client’s expectations, industry level compliances etc.
- Get details about their staff skill sets, past experiences, client references
- Know about their service offerings, technology, innovation, standard SLAs, hidden costs etc.
- Know if the services delivered are agile and transparent. Do you get real-time and full visibility for the IT systems dashboard?
- What’s the USP of their services? Learn how their services deliver value to your business (or say help in saving time and money)?
- Learn more on how they deliver all services and established procedures to mitigate issues related to services.
So, don’t be in a rush and pick the MSP based on lower costs. Evaluate your shortlisted MSPs, get answers to the above Qs, do your own research and finally select the best managed service provider (MSP) for your company – that can truly partner in growing your business.