VOL. 132 | NO. 250 | Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Put Managed IT Services on Your Holiday Wish List
By Patrick Tamburrino
Business owners of all sizes have to tackle technology systems and infrastructure at some level. This can be daunting, time consuming and expensive if you’re not an IT expert. In fact, a recent survey by Alinean Inc., an ROI consultancy, found that the average small business spends 6.9 percent of its annual revenue on IT compared with larger companies, which only spend 3.2 percent of revenue on the same services.
On its face, that survey doesn’t make a lot of sense. A bigger company means more employees, hardware, software, servers and so on. But larger companies also tend to be more strategic and proactive in IT planning, resulting in smarter spending and overall savings.
Small companies can act like larger companies by outsourcing IT management services. An IT consulting company can help run your business more efficiently, saving you money and time.
Partner with an IT Santa. When working with an IT management company, that company should be a partner, not just a vendor. When evaluating potential companies, ensure that they understand your business, mission and vision. You want someone that will visit your office, evaluate your current systems and work with you to develop an IT strategic plan that is customized for your business needs.
An overall plan will help you meet your business goals in an efficient manner. A good partner should also re-evaluate this plan on a yearly basis and anytime your business goes through a growth or transition period.
Checking your systems, checking them twice. A common mistake that small-business owners make when managing their own technology resources is updating and purchasing hardware and software options that won’t work for their long-term business needs. For instance, a standard PC operating system won’t work properly with the servers and backup systems that most businesses require.
A managed services firm will ensure that the systems you purchase are built for your needs and don’t come with any excess software that will slow down your system. Savings will also be seen by creating a proper hardware upgrade and warranty program for your full operation.
The gift of time. While no one can make the day longer, enlisting a consultant to manage your technology resources will allow you to use your time more strategically.
A standard managed services agreement should include tech support during business hours, 24/7 monitoring of your services and core infrastructure, and online backup services. This provides you with faster and more personalized service than any automated help line can provide. You’ll never find yourself on hold with a recording when dealing with an IT emergency. And, with constant monitoring most problems will be fixed before you even realize one exists!
Bottom line: When thinking about your office wish lists and 2018 business goals, consider reviewing your IT infrastructure and researching how a partner could help make life just a tad bit easier.
Patrick Tamburrino, the president of I.T. strategy, support and management firm tamburrino, inc. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.