Over the past 20 years at Indusflow Systems, we have come across four common scenarios that compel an organization to shop around for an outsourced managed IT services partner (MSP) relationship:
- Your company is already with another MSP, but it isn’t a good fit
- Your company has a part-time contracted “IT guy,” but you need more robust support
- You have full-time, in-house staff, and you’re looking to supplement
- You have full-time, in-house staff, but you’re looking for an alternative
The aim of this article is to help you overcome the fear of transitioning to Managed IT Services. Let’s have a look at each scenario and the factors involved.
1. Your company is already with another managed IT services partner but is looking to make a change.
There are many reasons we hear from clients as to why they’re searching for a new managed IT service partner. Here are a few of those reasons:
Lack of responsiveness: Their company isn’t getting the attention needed from the existing provider when they call about issues.
Ineffective or inefficient service: It takes a long time to get issues resolved.
Lack of expertise: As your business grows or your technology environment becomes more complex, your MSP is not able to deliver the right set of skills to manage your environment.
Not proactive enough: They’re dealing with issues once they happen, but the IT firm under contract is not doing enough to avoid problems before they arise.
Lack of communication: A disconnect or lack of engagement with the existing IT firm can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction.
Expense: They’re spending too much money, or they think they might be spending too much money, so they’re shopping around to see if they can get a better price.
When you get the feeling your service provider simply doesn’t care anymore and has taken the relationship with you for granted, it may be time to move on.
2. You have a part-time IT consultant, and you’re looking to step it up.
A smaller company starting up is often serviced by a single IT consultant and at the time, that person met their requirements. When the company grows, however, gaps open up between what the company needs and what the IT person can provide.
This can be a difficult situation because there is often loyalty to that person. There’s a relationship. Sometimes it’s a personal relationship—someone’s relative or old friend — which can make things complicated when it’s time for growth.
But staying with a single IT person is a risk. Perhaps they have gotten busy over the years, or they might be doing it as a part-time job while they have a full-time job somewhere else. They may not be available exactly when they’re needed.
It’s also quite often the case that the IT person’s skillset has not kept up. When a start-up runs with 3 to 4 computers, their IT needs are quite basic. Over time, they may have grown to dozens of computer users and they’ve got some sophisticated IT applications. Now they need security, they need remote access, they need all these things that may be beyond the workload or skills of one person.
When your business outgrows your IT support setup, it’s critical to make the necessary changes.
3. You have full-time, in-house IT staff, and you’re looking to supplement.
A company—say a mid-sized organization of 70 to 150 users—may have an in-house, full-time technician on staff. Often, they’re on call 24/7. They can never take vacations, or if they do, their cell phone is always ringing. They have a low quality of life and poor work-life balance. Company management struggles because they have this one critical employee with no backup, and they know they’re relying heavily on that person.
The company now thinks, “Oh, my gosh, if we break this person, then what are we going to do?“
Often, management will bring in a managed services provider like Indusflow Systems to supplement the internal IT resource. In these cases we’ve often offered companies a hybrid support solution: we provide the monitoring system, the monitored antivirus, and the backup solution. Then we might take responsibility for just the servers and the backend infrastructure (the network, Wi-Fi, router, and security), but then let the internal IT person handle all the desktop issues. When individual users have problems, they go to the internal IT person as a first point of contact. That person would typically resolve their end-user issues. If there are more backend issues—for example, something with the servers, or if they needed security changes or other service upgrades—then they would lean on us.
Your in-house IT staff would also get an account on our monitoring system so they would be able to leverage our tools for managing their network.
Suddenly, the on-staff IT person has gone from being on call all the time to having a better work-life balance. Instead of being a flight risk, that person is now providing more value to the company, especially if they can use the slack to upgrade their skills. For example, some of our clients need to be PCI or HIPAA compliant, and the IT person has been able to take that on. Instead of being overworked and underappreciated, they’ve transitioned into a leadership role.
And at the end of the day, if the person does leave, the company has a whole team behind them that not only understands their infrastructure, but is already connected to their systems, has remote access, and can quickly provide support to their end-users. Basically, at a moment’s notice, we can shift from a hybrid support relationship to full-blown managed services.
4. You have full-time, in-house staff, and you’re looking for an alternative.
There are a lot of differences between having an in-house IT team versus using an MSP.
Gatekeeper mentality: One major difference is that in-house IT teams or departments tend to have a gatekeeper mentality. The psychology of the IT department is quite often that they are the gatekeepers to all the technology. They are heavily invested (sometimes even entrenched) in the systems they have put in place, and may be unwilling to consider alternatives. The attitude is often that when somebody needs something IT related, they have to go to the IT department for approval. Since the IT department will often be held responsible for all technology, their mindset is to impose limitations.
As an MSP, Indusflow has more of an enabler mentality. Our focus is on customer service and enabling our customers’ businesses through technology. We’re in the business of supporting our customers’ growth and development, and we have the staff and expertise to do it.
Customer service: From a customer service perspective, there is more pressure on an outsourced MSP to provide excellent customer service because support is contracted and needs to be renewed, often yearly. There’s a whole marketplace of other MSPs that the customer could potentially go to, so there’s a lot of pressure on your partner to deliver great customer service.
Internal IT departments don’t work under this kind of pressure, and they aren’t necessarily motivated to exceed your expectations or provide great customer service.
The breadth of experience: Let’s say a company has 200 users and a three-person full-time IT department. Those IT personnel only know that environment. They don’t have a broad range of expertise or exposure to a variety of setups and scenarios to draw upon.
An MSP is different. Our technical staff is exposed to a wide range of customers who use a wide range of different technologies and different kinds of security systems. From an expertise and knowledge standpoint, people who work at an MSP tend to be at a higher level of expertise than people who work in IT departments, especially for smaller businesses.
Job satisfaction: MSPs rank higher on job satisfaction. People who work at an MSP are generally developing and learning new skills. They’re working on a wide range of customer environments, and there is the pressure within their own employment to keep developing professionally (e.g., do workshops, take courses, and earn certifications) to constantly improve.
Internal IT departments often don’t have that culture of constant improvement and don’t invest heavily in training. They’re in a smaller environment with lots of pressure and responsibility, and it’s common to feel both stressed and isolated.
A lot of businesses view IT departments as a cost center. Marketing, Operations, and Sales are all making money for the business, and so they’re often subject to better treatment. On the other hand, the IT department is seen as costing the business money, so IT departments are sometimes less appreciated and respected. This leads to less happy and motivated staff.
When working with Indusflow, you’re dealing with a happier, more engaged staff.
Staff turnover: Another benefit is that when you hire an MSP, you’re not concerned as much about staff turnover. An MSP has a system where knowledge about that customer’s infrastructure is accessible by many different technical staff. So if the MSP loses a staff person and hires someone new, the company that relies on that MSP doesn’t really notice.
If a company has an internal IT department of three people and somebody leaves, you’ve lost 33% of the entire IT workforce. The impact of staff turnover with internal IT departments is much larger than the impact of staff turnover when you’re using an MSP.
Growth is critical to your business, but with change comes risk. Indusflow Systems can help you navigate the shift to managed IT services, so you can focus on your core business.