Organizations across multiple industries have been outsourcing business tasks for decades. Although many decision-makers are well-versed in the value of hiring third-party contractors for administrative support, customer service, and recruiting talent, far fewer take advantage of the benefits of managed IT services. But the tides are turning.
With today’s global embrace of multi-channel communication solutions, many business leaders also turn to managed service providers (MSPs) to ease (or eliminate) the additional burden of monitoring, managing, and maintaining multiple technologies and providers. Once you know what managed services are and how your company can benefit, it’s easy to see why market analysts predict the growing popularity of managed services will result in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6% through 2028.
What Are Managed IT Services?
A managed IT service provider assumes responsibility for specific aspects of information technology. Some offer a small number of one-size-fits-most IT solutions. In contrast, others invest time to work with their clients, evaluate their individual needs, and determine which services (and service levels) in their areas of expertise would be most beneficial.
In either case, the managed service provider is responsible for the technical aspects of their services based on the criteria determined by a service level agreement (SLA). Most companies investing in managed service arrangements pay a monthly subscription fee for IT services intended to help improve network performance, enhance system security, and more. Some of the most sought-after third-party solutions include managed connectivity, managed security, network monitoring, predictive maintenance, and technology expense management.
How Do Business Owners Benefit from Managed IT Services?
Many organizations funding expansive IT departments invest considerable resources to keep up with rapidly evolving technology. As business owners modernize their infrastructure to meet the needs of their remote and hybrid workforce, many find their IT departments are understaffed and their technicians overwhelmed. Even with a skilled, knowledgeable team on-premises, many companies still have to contact third-party providers to solve complex issues. Spread across multiple locations, and those expenses add up.
In response, companies of all sizes are investing in managed IT services to compensate for knowledge gaps and reduce the risk of human error or oversight. It’s natural for decision-makers to initially assume that delegating the responsibilities of monitoring, maintaining, and troubleshooting to their in-house team ensures they use their resources best. Yet the many benefits of managed IT services are compelling enough to prompt many organizations to shift their approach.
Reducing Overhead Costs
Managed IT services provide multiple opportunities to reduce overhead costs. For example, outsourcing the management of a cloud-sourced communication network ensures you’ll always have a plan that meets your current and future requirements. Your company pays only for the features you need as your business evolves. Similarly, an organization investing considerable resources validating hundreds of invoices will likely find IT expense management a cost-effective alternative.
In contrast, a company struggling with internet lag or security concerns might find managed SD-WAN the best way to enhance its existing network. With the right managed service provider, you’ll get an expert assessment of your needs, the ideal solutions for your business, and the ability to add additional features as your company expands.
Improving Workplace Efficiency
As the demand for cloud-hosted resources increases, so does the need for qualified people to keep virtual and hybrid networks in working order. Whether you employ a team of experienced IT professionals or outsource the essentials, solving complex issues often involves contacting multiple service providers to identify the cause, a situation that’s neither efficient nor cost-effective. Investing in managed IT solutions can help improve workplace efficiency in several ways.
First and foremost, you’ll devote fewer resources to managing and monitoring your IT systems, meaning more time (and money) to devote to other pursuits. You can also access numerous applications depending on the nature of the managed services you select. The tools you need may be used to enhance communication, improve collaboration, and streamline your processes or the type of around-the-clock monitoring your business needs to reduce the risk of tech-related downtime.
Choosing managed IT services not only helps reduce overhead costs, minimize tech-related downtime, and boost overall efficiency, but managed solutions can also help increase business productivity (and profitability). With the right combination of services, your entire team could benefit from having everything they need for effective collaboration from a single, user-friendly platform. Depending on the services you select, that accessibility could mean anything from video collaboration and team chat to remote file sharing.
The best managed service providers offer comprehensive training, ongoing technical support, and customizable applications. But before outsourcing your business communication solutions, take a few minutes to confirm the vendor’s platform supports third-party application integration. Losing access to familiar applications can negatively impact workplace satisfaction and overall productivity.
Effective business communication requires IT solutions that ensure authorized team members have the tools to exchange information. Although numerous sources suggest most businesses choose cloud-sourced services to help support their remote and hybrid teams, cloud-sourced connectivity benefits your entire organization. Managed communication solutions simplify navigating even the most complex internal and external communication networks.
Plus, many managed IT service providers take the time to ensure the businesses they serve have access to a wide range of cost-effective, user-friendly tools, so many of today’s managers need to schedule appointments on the go, track KPIs, share calendars, manage multiple timetables, connect with other departments, and collaborate with personnel in other locations. When your connectivity is maintained by a reliable and reputable managed IT service provider, everyone you authorize can access corporate resources anywhere from their smartphone, PC, or tablet.
Does Your Business Need Managed IT Services?
Now that you better understand some of the many reasons business owners and corporate decision-makers choose to invest in managed IT services, it’s only natural to wonder which managed solutions might be best suited to your business. At this point, it’s essential to understand that every situation is unique. A managed service that serves one business’s needs might not be best for yours.
Ideally, you’ll want to partner with a service provider willing to assess your current needs and scale their solutions accordingly. The provider you select should also have enough experience with rapidly evolving technology to ensure you’ll still have access to reliable managed IT services. You’ll choose from a range of cost-effective managed services with the right managed IT service provider. Whether you’re open to investing in a single managed business solution or several, you may find it helpful to browse the following examples of some of today’s most in-demand options:
Managed SIP Trunking
As businesses across numerous industries navigate the high cost of maintaining their analog phone systems while providing their remote and hybrid workforce with the tools they need for optimal connectivity, SIP trunking is more popular than ever. SIP trunking platforms help business owners reduce communication costs by converting analog voice signals to digital packets transmitted over the internet.
Maintaining physical infrastructure is unnecessary; most companies can continue using their in-house phones. While standard services are a viable solution for many organizations, business owners seeking specific service guarantees prefer managed SIP (mSIP). When you choose managed SIP trunking, your company benefits from traffic prioritization, quality analytics, multi-site trunk-sharing capabilities, and multiple connectivity options.
Managing a diverse communication network across multiple locations can significantly strain corporate IT departments. Security and reliability risks can escalate quickly if your business relies on numerous carriers to ensure connectivity across an expansive network. Investing in managed connectivity is the easiest way to navigate the complexities of a broad network while also reducing overhead costs.
With the right provider managing your connectivity, your business is protected with customized service levels, proactive monitoring, multi-vendor support, and a single point of contact for all monitored devices, carrier contracts, and invoices. To ensure 24/7 reliability, look for a managed service provider with an expert team of engineers to resolve connectivity issues before they negatively impact your business.
The technology supporting today’s work-from-anywhere business model often requires access to a company’s private network through multiple channels. Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology helps ensure every connection is fast, secure, and reliable by analyzing circuit performance and prioritizing transmissions based on service level agreements (SLAs), QoS settings, and priority policies. Investing in managed SD-WAN ensures optimal broadband performance and the ability to support all applications and devices, the latest encryption technologies, and the option of enhanced firewall functions.
Managed Secure Access Service Edge
SD-WAN is a cost-effective way to maximize bandwidth and ensure system security. However, many business professionals also add secure access service edge (SASE) to their list of managed services to ensure their remote workers have secure access to company computer systems. That additional layer of protection keeps connections secure from any location or device, whether that business location has an SD-WAN box or not.
Related: Complete Guide to SD-WAN
With the right managed service provider, business owners and corporate decision-makers can layer SASE over SD-WAN or use SASE with SD-WAN built-in. Either way, you’ll know you can apply enhanced security across your entire organization or provide access to a limited number of users without tasking your IT team with complex system integrations or configurations.
Network Monitoring & Management
Today’s business networks merge thousands of unique technologies. With the correct network monitoring service, your tech teams can access real-time reports and actionable data on a customizable dashboard. The graphs and charts generated present crucial information in a way that’s easy to understand. It’s a service that helps ensure the optimal functionality of everything from your corporate routers, switches, and business phones to third-party circuits, cloud applications, and websites.
Many companies providing network monitoring and management services allow end-users to select from several options – including fully-managed service complete with notification features, service remediation, and proactive on-site field services – eliminating the need to assign labor-intensive issue identification and resolution to your staff.
Technology and Expense Management
Technology expense management is an optimization solution designed to automate billing verification, identify potential issues, manage payments, and save money. At its best, technology and expense management services can reconstruct historical spending, prepare an in-depth analysis of your current commitments, and compare your business expenses to market averages.
Discrepancy alerts help identify where you are paying too much. That crucial bit of information could give your company a distinct advantage when negotiating contracts or identifying alternate service providers. While a limited number of managed service providers currently offer this option, many organizations spend up to 20% less on technology by paying only what is legitimately owed, staying on top of supplier contracts, and making informed purchasing decisions.
Are You Ready to Discover What Managed IT Services Could Do for Your Business?
Many companies are slashing the increasingly high cost of keeping remote and hybrid teams connected by investing in cloud-sourced business solutions. While most business owners and corporate decision-makers understand the benefits of updating their legacy phone systems, far fewer recognize the value of investing in fully managed IT services. If bandwidth disparities, network security, or “workaround” connectivity solutions are overwhelming your IT department, maybe it’s time to consider investing in some of the many managed IT services you’ll find at BCM One.
At BCM One, we bring a lot more than information technology to the table. We’re committed to working with mid-sized, multi-site organizations to help plan and implement cost-effective IT solutions. A one-size-fits-most approach should not apply to business technology. Instead, you can count on us to deliver a customized bundle of services, the ideal stack for your organization. To learn more about our managed IT services, contact us.