There are a lot of local companies offering managed IT services today. The sheer volume of options can make it feel overwhelming on where to start. When evaluating managed IT providers, a good place to start is what percent of their business is focused on providing fully managed IT services. Sounds simple enough but let me expand to further clarify what it is not.
Today there are several companies whose primary revenue stream is something other than managed IT services, and in fact, something other than IT services altogether. There are office equipment dealers who viewed managed IT services as another monthly service they could train their sales teams to sell, as print diminished. There are business application resellers who viewed managed IT services as a way they could make up for the revenue lost as the software applications they sold went to the cloud. There are accounting firms who are astute at providing financial guidance to their clients, and since IT often reports to the head of finance, why not create another revenue stream of managed IT service.
Ok, so we are looking for a pure IT provider. Not so fast, the other thing to consider is that there are a lot of IT providers whose primary revenue stream is something other than managed IT services. They are maybe an IT product resale business, who focuses their effort on selling new or used technology. Their primary business could be in implementing large one-time IT projects. Perhaps they are a break-fix company that gets to bill more hours the more issues you have. They could even be a staff augmentation company whose focus is on placing IT people at your company.
So, what if these companies primary business focus is in other areas, they got a handful of customers they are providing managed IT services to. That is better than us doing IT on our own, right? Well, here is the thing, companies choose a managed IT services provider when they are looking to outsource the IT function of their business to an organization that has greater expertise than they could otherwise develop with the fraction of time they have internally. Well if only a fraction of the outsourced companies' revenue comes from managed IT services, aren't they really in the same boat? Your company ends up really missing out on the value of outsourcing to an expert managed IT services provider.
So, why can all these companies offer managed IT services? Because offering managed IT services is as easy as buying a widget on Amazon. Anyone with a couple of bucks can do it. The company pays a monthly fee to a white label helpdesk or hires some techs, buys some tools to patch computers and servers, and informs their salespeople they now get a commission for selling IT contracts and products. Not exactly the expertise you were hoping for.
Fast forward and you have narrowed the field down to only those companies whose business is 100% focused on providing managed IT services. What is important to know is there are a lot of managed IT providers who offer multiple monthly plans. Be sure to understand the percentage of their clients on the plan you are considering. Each plan was designed to create its own unique set of results in your business. It is made up of its own deliverables and the managed IT service provider has invested considerable time, money and business focus into delivering the one plan, that drives the majority of their revenue.
When your IT group is not laser-focused on delivering the right end results, your business suffers:
- Issues solved after they are reported and affect your people: costing you time and money.
- Risk is unknown: leaving you surprised by unexpected problems.
- No guidance, leaving it up to you to figure out the most important and expensive parts.
- Not cybersecure: leaving your network and information vulnerable to attack.
By working with a firm whose primary focus is providing a truly proactive IT service they will bring you into alignment to best practices and guide your entire technology spend, eliminating issues before they start and enable your business to do more with less.