This is only a guide to help you make the decision on why choosing an outsourced IT Department is the best fit for your organization. There are many options for choosing the right type of support for your computer network. Ie. outsourcing it to a local computer repair company, having an internal staff, and using a contracted company that puts someone onsite for a normal work week.
We will begin with your onsite staff and onsite personnel through a contracted agency. Some of the benefits that go with onsite personnel are always having someone on hand to handle day to day issues and them becoming familiar with your network. But there are also some draw backs to this, one of them being in many cases they spend more time putting out fires of day to day issues vs. tackling some of the larger projects like moving your network to a new office, upgrading the network, and keeping up on different trends affecting the network. This doesn’t include getting sick or going on vacations leaving no one to attend to your network in case of an outage and time lost operating your business. Other factors to think about are what are they proficient in, is it just computer networks, computer repair, software applications or in some cases your telecommunications network depending on the size of your organization. Another factor to think about is compensation, healthcare benefits, retirement and them leaving for another position.
Choosing to outsource computer network support opens up many options for you as there are many types of computer repair companies out there for example break fix also known as hourly support, block of hours are a prepaid set of hours to be used to support you then you pay again when that block of time is up and, managed services normally a monthly fee with a defined contract as to what they will support.
The break fix model can be inexpensive at first but cost more in the long run due to lack of productivity during outages and scheduling issues. Generally this type of support is never called until there is a problem then a scheduled time frame is set to come in to start working the issue. However, because of their experience with so many different organizations and their networks, they may be able to resolve the problem faster than someone who works for you and has limited experience on trouble shooting problems with in a network. In addition, they can also schedule the right expert for a specific issue to be on site instead of relying on someone who may have never dealt with the issue at hand. You can and will lose countless hours of productivity during a major outage waiting for them to get there. In my experience with new clients that is their number one complaint is waiting for someone to get onsite to tackle the issue. But if you don’t experience many issues then this would be a good way to go.
Blocks of hours scenarios tend to get you a quicker response time because you have already paid them so you should take precedence over the companies non prepay clients. In your block of hours you may also have negotiated in a certain amount of times they should be coming in to do some routine maintenance or work on projects. In most cases if you call them you are getting dinged for support hours. There benefits here are the same when it comes to scheduling the right expert for the job as long as it is more than a one person company.
Going to a Managed services contract can be one of the most beneficial things you do and get you the fastest response times. You get an entire staff of people working on your network 24/7 with many different experiences so that you always have the best fit for whatever the situation is. In addition, you now have a person who can aid in the management of bigger projects for you allowing you to focus on your business. The managed service provider should have many tools to assist your organizations network stay healthy like monitoring tools to maximize network up time, standard software updates for windows products and antivirus software and remote access to all users. In addition, while one person on their team is rebuilding a workstation another could be out shopping for a new server for you instead of one person trying to handle this on their own in some cases. Many things you may want, need or don’t want can be negotiated in the contract. Your provider should be able to provide reports for all that is happening in your network on a month to month basis. They can help you develop a plan for life cycle management of your equipment. Many of them will sell equipment therefore you can work with them to get you your equipment when you need it without having to do tons of research. Due to them having multiple people working on your network you never have to worry about them being gone on vacation, getting sick, military leave or family emergencies. Using a Managed services provider is like having your own enterprise IT department at a fraction of the cost and in some of our experiences less than the cost of a one person IT department.
On a dollars and cents basis we have seen a $30,000/year savings on going managed services Vs. having one onsite person to manage a 130 user network. With the transition the client was able to get many projects completed that were being put off because of day to day problems for example getting their new server installed that had been purchased 5 months prior to switching. They also completed the transition of upgrading their internet bandwidth and telephone service within the first month of switching after having made the decision to upgrade 6 months prior normally a 30 day turn around.
From a quality managed services firm it is always going to be in their best interest to ensure your network is always running at optimal conditions. So they may also be able to help in other areas by making recommendations or creating standard procedures for you to ensure human error has as little effect on your network as possible. And as long as they have the right tools they will be able to save you thousands if not millions of dollars and countless hours of productivity for any major outages they prevent before they happen or get alerted on as they happen when no one is in the office.
Author Michael St. John
VP of Sales and Marketing