BY DENNY FISHER, Chief Client Experience Officer, ACS
Technology is interwoven into every fiber of business. Each device, each platform requires careful management to maintain and leverage. In the past few years, the number of devices the average IT team is tasked with managing has grown exponentially, and therefore so has the strain on technical employees. Hiring and retaining qualified talent to manage the technology your business runs on has become increasingly difficult and expensive. To mitigate the risk and expense of handling IT matters internally, many organizations turn to a third-party provider to both work alongside their internal IT teams and to augment staff when filling vacancies is difficult.
What should you look for in a provider?
There is a vast array of technologies in the world for your organization to choose from. In order to leverage these technologies and concepts to their fullest potential, you need an expert to navigate the nuances. A good managed services provider will have engineers who are certified in various technologies and concepts. This enables your organization to tap into those areas of expertise on an ad hoc basis rather than paying to hire, retain or train an employee to reach the same level of expertise. With the speed at which technology changes, this can save a lot of money in both training and mistakes.
It’s important to know that when you need help, your provider is there when you need them most. Reliability shows itself in many forms, such as:
- Accessibility: They should have clearly posted hours of service, whether that be 24×7 or 8×5, etc.
- Responsiveness: They should be quick to respond and be able to provide status updates.
- Communication channels: They should be able to receive requests via email, phone or online form. They should also provide visibility into the remediation status.
A Managed Services provider should have solid relationships with vendors and be able to manage the relationship for you. Sometimes remediating issues with vendors like Microsoft, IBM or Cisco, for example, can be difficult if you don’t have a strong direct relationship. A Managed Services provider can remove the stress of these relationships and get you back on track faster.
Most importantly, a Managed Services provider should be looking ahead and trying to help address current issues and foresee future obstacles. Real-time monitoring and capacity planning will go a long way to keeping your business running smoothly.
If your organization already has a full-time IT staff, you may think you don’t need outside help. Here are a few signs your IT team is overwhelmed and needs assistance.
- The same people are consistently working weekends and overnights to accomplish tasks and projects.
- There is not a routine schedule for patches and updates, or schedules are beginning to slip.
- They answer requests while on vacation because there’s no one to back them up if they leave.
Engaging a Managed Services provider will help reduce the strain on your internal staff, which may also help with employee retention. In addition, a Managed Services provider will provide continuity should there be employee churn among your IT staff.
|Denny Fisher, Chief Client Experience Officer, ACS