Managed IT services in 2016 = Profitability, problem solving and innovation

Managed IT Services = Profitability

There are countless small and medium-sized business owners in Australia, and each have unique goals for their company. This is only natural. A flower shop in Canberra city centre is going to have completely different customers, marketing strategies and needs than a factory in Newcastle. Of course, there are a few things that both have in common.

In all industries, business owners look for ways to increase profitability, reduce daily problems and improve business processes. This is the only way to thrive in a crowded, ultra-competitive marketplace. However, unless you happen to be a visionary or marketing whiz, you might not know how to accomplish these goals.

Technology tends to be the solution for most SMBs. But, it is not as simple as buying new tablets for your employees and telling them to be more efficient. In fact, purchasing a bunch of new gadgets might actually make things worse, as gadgets need to be installed, monitored and maintained. Failing to do so would create security vulnerabilities and result in little to no return on investment.

There are two ways to outsource IT to a managed service provider. It can function as your company’s entire setup, or supplement your current IT staff.

Outsourcing has the benefit of assisting SMBs to harness the power of technology. It’s also why, more small businesses are turning to MSPs than ever before. A study by Techaisle looked at SMBs using MSPs in Australia, USA, UK and four other countries. The study showed that in companies that have between 20 and 499 employees, 40 percent use some form of managed services.

If you own a small or mid-sized business and don’t yet use managed services, here are three reasons why you should.

1. Increase profitability

Every business owner wants to increase profits. However, this can be done only by making smart investments. Some business owners opt to ramp up marketing efforts or hire more staff to do this.  However, if these changes aren’t implemented correctly, the return on investment will be minimal. Remember, an increase in profits isn’t really useful if you have to spend a dollar to make a dollar.

When outsourcing IT to an MSP, there is almost always a significant return on investment. That’s because they will help eliminate the little things that can eat at your profits over the course of a year. Downtime, for instance, can be something that turns a profitable quarter into a break-even one. It’s estimated that downtime can cost an SMB in Australia upwards of $20,000 per hour. It’s safe to say your company cannot afford to sit and wait around for someone to come and fix the problem.

Yet that is what businesses that have little to no IT staff tend to do. They call in a break/fix IT repair person when an emergency arises and end up losing money as they wait for the help to arrive. Additionally, fees can be outlandishly high and often the repair agent simply does the bare minimum to get your IT systems operational. Sure, you may need them only three or four times each year if you’re lucky, but for the money you end up losing due to downtime and labour costs, you could have someone looking after your company’s systems 24/7/365.

Think about it like this: hiring an MSP means you have to spend a dollar today but can save ten tomorrow. That’s sure to improve the bottom line.

2. Reduce problems

If your SMB uses the services of an MSP, this means someone is looking after your IT at all times. Around-the-clock monitoring is far superior to having an in-house staff member working 9 to 5.  The MSP will be able to identify and correct issues before they cause systems to stop functioning, regardless of whether it happens at noon or midnight.

And this is just the start. Many SMBs consider buying new equipment only when the old technology breaks. This creates headaches for business owners as they are forced to replace whatever is no longer functional. Not only does your business shutdown, but purchasing equipment in a rush leads to the wrong technology being acquired.

An MSP will ensure that investing in the wrong technology is a thing of the past. They will work with you to create a technology road map that upgrades ageing technology with new equipment, before it breaks.

Security also needs to be considered since a data breach can create a number of problems that can derail a business. SMBs can be seen as soft targets for cybercriminals, since they will have less security protections in place.  They are then more vulnerable to something like ransomware. An MSP will install the right defences to avoid any embarrassing security incident that can damage a company’s reputation.

3. Improve innovation

Never assume that your business is too boring or one-dimensional to embrace technology in any meaningful way. As an example, let’s take that flower shop in the Canberra city centre we mentioned at the start of this article. Its owners likely have a store, website and a few delivery drivers, and they’re probably fairly successful. While they might want to improve the way they do business, they might not see how it’s possible for them to incorporate new technology.

When an MSP also acts as your chief information officer (CIO), as well as your maintenance staff, they are most beneficial. Many SMBs fail to understand just how important having a CIO can be, but the experience and knowledge an MSP has is invaluable. An MSP knows how similar companies have leveraged technology to reach their goals and can share this information with you.

A flower shop owner can use IT in any number of ways to innovate how they do business.  An MSP will explain the options and implement them accordingly. For example, using the cloud to store files and information.  This allows delivery drivers to access order information from anywhere and ensures order accuracy.

Director of Empower IT Salim Sukari says, “SMBs may not see the full potential of IT. Yes, it is important to keep computers running, but there is more to hiring an MSP than that. Not only do you receive 24/7 service, but you are getting a technology partner who can ensure fewer headaches and more profits.”

Don’t feel as if you need to struggle with managing your IT infrastructure alone. Empower IT specialise in helping SMBs get the most out of their IT systems. We make sure everything runs as it should and advise on what can be done to innovate your business processes. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by hiring Empower IT Solutions. Give us a call today.