As your business grows, your reliance on IT will almost certainly grow at the same pace.
Today, around 95% of new businesses could not operate without IT. The trouble is, IT doesn’t look after itself – so, as your IT needs grow, your staffing costs can spiral out of control.
Increasingly, small businesses and startups are looking for a solution that won’t cost the Earth. For a huge number of companies, managed service providers (MSPs) are that solution. Here, we’ll look at what they do, and how they might help you to grow.
What Is An MSP?
A managed service provider is a bit like an instant IT team.
Okay, it’s not completely accurate – since your chosen MSP won’t sit in your office be on your payroll, but when it comes to covering the basic IT needs most companies have, an MSP and an IT team are fairly interchangeable.
The key difference is the simplicity that comes with outsourcing your IT requirements to an MSP. If, even as a thriving and busy company, you looking for an MSP today, you could probably have them fully supporting your systems by next week.
MSPs generally come staffed with experienced and dynamic staff. They’re likely to be providing IT support for a huge number of companies at the moment – so when you reach out and connect, they’ll be able to bring you under that same umbrella quickly.
Generally speaking, an MSP will provide a maintenance and support package – in exchange for a monthly cost. It would be fair to assume that such versatility and experience comes at an elevated cost – and if you employed their team directly, this might be the case. The thing is, MSPs work with the economy of scale – so, they can provide an exceptional service at a reasonable rate, simply because of the number of companies they support – spreading their often-hefty staffing costs.
But, what does this mean to small businesses? And how can a slightly different approach to IT support help a business to grow?
If you’re someone who has any responsibility for the finances of a company, you’re probably well aware that costs add up incredibly quickly. If you’ve even been involved with a recruitment drive – you’ll see those costs add up quicker than ever before.
It’s estimated that each IT role costs around £3,000 to fill – a cost that’s split between staffing, lost resources, fees, on-boarding, and much more. If you’re planning on keeping a team of 2-3 people, that’s a big chunk of money out of your account before you’ve even paid your first month’s wage or enrolled your new starters on to any training.
As such, there’s an instant added value that comes from working with an external company to provide your IT support. There are no on-boarding fees, in fact, there’s often a large amount of work shouldered by an MSP in an effort to fit seamlessly into your business.
So, what does this mean for your business growth? The message is quite simple. You’ve got £10,000 sitting on a table in front of you; do you decide to spend it on an in-house IT team? Or do you outsource your IT and spend the money on marketing, product development, marketplace research, sales recruitment, or one of the other areas that will directly drive your business forward?
The answer is often a ‘no-brainer’ – and bringing an MSP onboard means you get to have your cake, and eat it.
What About When IT Drives Growth?
So, you outsource the support and maintenance element of your IT to a managed service provider – and spend your month on driving growth with marketing, sales, and development – but who’s to say IT can’t drive growth?
Does opting for an external team mean you simply get IT care-takers who aren’t invested in your business as a whole?
The truth is, it could do – but this is why you need to do your homework.
There are thousands of managed service providers out there – and yes, some of them will only really be capable of making sure your server lights stay on. But not all of them.
Don’t forget, the company you work with has probably witnessed growth in hundreds of partner companies – and they’re likely to have a cutting edge understanding of what tech can offer your business. Is now the time to roll-out SD WAN across your business locations? Would your account managers benefit from a hosted telephone solution? Would MPLS boost your use of cloud-based applications?
These are questions that might not make sense to someone with limited IT knowledge – but they could represent the next step toward explosive growth for your business. The only way you’ll know is if you’ve got someone with this level of expert knowledge sitting at the table when you’re planning your next steps.
The great news is, a managed service provider can offer this kind of consultancy too. Okay, it might not be part of their standard package – but it’s not going to cost a fortune and it’s the kind of best practice insight that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.
MSPs Encouraging Growth
It’s worth considering exactly what’s needed to grow your company. Generally, the answer will be money – and knowledge. With a managed service provider, you’re going to keep a lot of money in your pocket – and bring outstanding knowledge on board.
Of course though, it’s not just as simple as picking a name from Google and hoping for the best – you’re going to want to know if the company you’re talking to can provide the service you’re looking for.
It’s worth asking if an MSP has worked with companies like yours before. It’s also worth getting an understanding of the provider’s own growth plans – after all, you’re going to want a company that can keep up when you’re hitting new heights.
Ultimately, a managed service provider needs to understand you, your goals, and your business. If they do, they can be the difference between struggling and thriving.