Managed IT Services – A Cost-Effective Alternative to “Break-Fix”
It’s natural when something breaks down to want it fixed fast and for as little money as possible. That’s how car repair works right?
But when it comes to an organization’s information technology (IT), companies that stay only in reactive “break-fix” mode miss out on a huge IT return on investment opportunity, not to mention potential competitive advantage.
On the surface, it may at first look more economical to wait until your systems stops working before calling in an expensive IT repair technician. Especially when you may have already spent a bundle installing those systems in the first place. But whenever a technician has to make a service visit, are they just addressing symptoms, and overlooking possible underlying causes? What if they have to keep coming back because things continue to go wrong? All those site visit repair bills can add up very quickly.
Are they really fixing the right things for your business? No two organizations are the same. No technician can ever get a full understanding of what your business really needs if the mandate is to fix only what’s broken. Especially when it’s a different technician arriving each time, you consistently have to re-introduce your staff, which makes you feel like you always have to repeat the same things to bring them up to speed on your issues. Companies in a reactive mode stay stuck at this level where they are just patching the existing environment, basically just keeping the lights on.
Managed IT Services Opens Up a Whole New World of Possibilities
The escalation of IT issues or problems is analogous to the developmental stages of a fire. Initially, an IT problem may develop slowly and may not be noticeable or visible. Soon, smoldering leads to several small brush fires. This is akin to the majority of companies who live in a “perpetual reactive” mode and ignore or are unaware of the small fires. Left unchecked, these fires burn until they become raging fires that cause down time and lost productivity and revenue.
For a fixed monthly fee, a Managed Services agreement includes real-time 24-7 monitoring of a customer’s systems. This allows problems to be identified and proactively corrected long before they affect the any of the users on the network. Most users happily can go about focusing on starting new projects and competing deadlines without worrying about the system going down or performing very slowly.
Managed Services like those provided by Manawa Networks go further than just ensuring there are no outages. There comes a point when an organization’s IT systems are working so well that there is nothing to fix. IT becomes like a utility that the business can count on. That doesn’t mean there’s no work to do. With the rich understanding they have gained about how the business works, it is now possible for an IT service provider to get strategic with IT. The dedicated IT support team is in a position to probe questions like:
- How can the organization’s business processes be improved?
- How could information technology be adjusted and aligned to make business processes work better, become more efficient, and provide better ROI?
- How can the organization make better business decisions about how to spend or reduce its IT budget?
- How can the organization’s IT investment be leveraged for greater competitive advantage?
A Source of Valuable Business Advice
Focusing on just putting out fires and keeping the lights on prevents an IT services provider from ever being able to provide this kind strategic consultative business advice. That only becomes possible when the Managed IT Services provider has a fundamental understanding of a customer’s business.
Just as an Accountant might be expected to provide insight into changes that could affect any one of his customers, a Managed IT Services Provider is in a similar position to make relevant recommendations that can improve business success from an IT perspective. And just like with an Accountant, you expect a trusted advisor to be telling you about these matters long before you have to ask them about them. If you have to ask your IT service provider about a new product or service that is right for your business, they have failed.
But Don’t Managed IT Services Cost More?
Crossing your fingers and hoping there is nothing to fix could possibly cost you less, but there is no way of knowing for sure. Problems unexpectedly do pop up, and it is impossible to know in advance when and how much repair might be required. Depending on how much unanticipated “break-fix” has to be done in a year, an annual Managed Services agreement might actually end up costing less. Also in your favor, it is in a Managed IT Services provider’s best interest to ensure clients’ IT systems are always working optimally to minimize the amount of repair time they might need to provide under their blanket coverage.
But an even more meaningful way of thinking about an investment in Managed IT Services is to consider the larger business ROI possibilities. For most small businesses, payroll is its single largest on-going expense. What would the 12-month dollar-value be of a hypothetical 5% staff productivity gain – a gain brought on by making their computers run as fast as the day you bought them, allowing them to get more done, and by leveraging recommended IT process improvements? What about having happier people that feel like their technology is empowering them instead of holding them back? What is a more productive, pleasant and piece of mind computing experience worth to you? Could that be worth a $500-$1000 per month investment?
It may be very well worth your while to speak with a Managed IT Services provider to find out more about what Managed Services has much to offer over and above just keeping the lights on.
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