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Making sense of Managed IT Services for SMBs-The cost effective approach

By: Goldie Slobodskoy (@CompITSolution.com)

A business ran with two or more interconnected computers, means it has a network, as well as the inherent expenses and responsibilities that come with managing it. Networks are complex, living systems, with many moving parts, that require someone to maintain them. Industry experts, countless studies and common sense tells us that failure to do so proactively, rather than reactively will always cost us more. Being proactive yields less downtime, more predictability, flatter spending patterns, better ability to plan and budget for IT needs, and allows companies to focus on their business, not their network.

Proactive Small Business Solutions

Under the ‘break/fix model”, which reactively deals with IT problems, a company can’t help but incur downtime and with it significant financial loss. In an inherent desire to save, owners and their employees will attempt to solve technical problems themselves. In this pursuit, they will unconsciously incorporate as many people as possible to attain the much desired resolve, yet in the end bring little to no results. Experience has it that, after much blood, sweat and tears, those very same people end up calling on IT professionals to eventually resolve issues. At which point, and with utter desperation, they are ready to pay anything for the problem to go away and have their system up and running again. Utilizing this type of approach creates a loss for companies on many fronts: After much trial and error by in-house users minor problems can very quickly escalate to bigger ones, costing the company more not only in repair hours, but also higher cost of service on one time calls. Yet, these expenses can pale in comparison to the overlooked cost of idle time by both employers and their employees, not including the potential loss of revenues from un-served customers during this unpredictable freeze. The alternative for small businesses is enrolling in managed IT services, which allows companies to call right when the problem arises, speak to an IT professional, who can quickly diagnose the problem and either solve it remotely or in a short period of time tackle the system on-site. Having them up and running in no time.

Proactive Medium Sized Business solutions

Whether a company is employing an IT technician on-site or is considering to hire one, let us review the process. Providing this level of experienced support requires capable, experienced talent.  Hiring even one capable, entry-level network support tech will cost most companies at least $30K annually.  And most entry-level network consultants (or techs) lack the depth, real experience and training to properly oversee a computer network, not including the lack of support derived from a team of experts and vendors specializing in that very same field. Cheapest isn’t usually best! Yet, the cost of a more experienced, talented and professionally certified network engineer will run a company $45-80K annually, plus 15-25% more in benefits. It’s no wonder that many companies can’t afford a dedicated IT on staff or can only hire techs with limited skill sets and experience. Suppose a company can afford to hire a more experienced technician, that person can very quickly become a single point of failure for that company. What do one do when they’re on vacation, if they unexpectedly leave, or worse, if they don’t work out and in some way damage the network? Yet, there is still have a business to run and a network that needs servicing. They need someone they can call if data is lost, things break, or even if there is experience power outage. Calling someone reactively, or as issues arise, is not an ideal scenario for a company with many employees and a more complex network infrastructures. In order for networks to run efficiently they need to be maintained and the approach needs to be preventative. Managed Network/IT services is the cost-effective solution to meet a business’s IT and support needs, whether as an extended IT department or a secondary source of support for their existing in-house tech. For a flat monthly investment, IT providers will take responsibility to supply a skilled, experienced and dedicated engineers to conduct scheduled routine visits to their clients and perform a prescribed series of maintenance tasks on server(s), workstations, printers and network devices – all designed with the company’s unique network in mind.  Under the Managed IT/Network agreement, providers will take ownership of these problems, maximize “uptime” and minimize downtime. Professional, certified and skilled providers have the right systems, procedures and training methodologies in place, designed to proactively approach customer’s computing needs, while giving them predictable IT support costs.