My Closest Competitor Switched to an MSP. Should I Consider it Too?

8/31/12 12:55 PM Eva Jacob Managed Services

Managed Services ProvidersOutsourcing common and everyday IT responsibilities is one way of improving your operations. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, applications, databases, storage, firewalls, backups, network management, and so on. An external group that provides these IT managed services is known as a Managed Service Provider (MSP). If you know that your competitors have adopted an MSP, maybe you are now considering adopting one as well. But should you?

While it is a good idea to keep note of your competitors’ strategies, you shouldn’t necessarily follow a monkey-see monkey-do tactic. After all, how do you know that what works for your competition will work for you as well as it does for them, if at all. Additionally, if clients respond positively to your competitors having IT managed services, you may be out of luck in attracting those clients.

If you want a Managed Service Provider, then your reasoning should be based on whether it works well within your current business structure now and in the future.

Four benefits of using IT managed services include: 
  1. Outsourcing: Most of the services that an MSP can perform can be relatively easy to outsource. They can also upgrade their software when needed while adhering to a reasonable expectation of continued and seamless service with minimal disruption to employees and clients.
  2. Knowledge: Your MSP will eventually have a good working knowledge of your company so that they can provide the reliable services you expect.
  3. Budgeting: Because there is typically is an upfront cost and a monthly fee, and you know which services are going to be managed, your accounting department will be able to track these costs and incorporate them into department budgets without unexpected expenses.
  4. Revenue generation: Leaving everyday tasks to the control of an MSP, your IT department can focus on tasks that increase your bottom line and indirectly, increase employee satisfaction by allowing them to work on varied and interesting projects.

So far, it sounds good. But consider the other side of the equation: 
  1. The learning curve: An MSP may not have the knowledge needed immediately to provide what you asked for, or if they do have the conceptual knowledge, it will take time to learn the details of your particular business. With every new change and update that your business needs, they will need time - time to investigate, find a solution, implement, and work out the kinks. This can divert your current in-house resources that you wanted to use for revenue generating tasks towards helping the MSP – can you afford to do this? 
  2. Costs: You will have to pay for your MSP instead of using your in-house resources, which can take away from your bottom line.
  3. Delayed response: Because they are not on the premises and have to deal with other clients, you may not get the response times you want all of the time.

If you can find the right fit, using an MSP could make your business structure run more smoothly and efficiently. Make sure that you perform a thorough investigation of dependable IT companies to ensure that they can fulfill their promises and that your business will excel in the future – regardless of what your competitors do.

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