If you want to maximise the benefits of outsourced IT support, you should be seeing it as a long-term investment.
With this in mind, the final piece of the puzzle in selecting an outsourced IT provider is all about the long-term benefits you can expect.
Of course, you’ll only experience these benefits if you make the right choice from the start.
Why Outsource in the First Place?
Consider first why you would want to outsource your IT. There are clear benefits to bringing in outside support, especially around maintaining the security of your systems and keeping your fundamental IT infrastructure on track and up-to-date.
There’s also the question of recruitment costs and ongoing staffing commitments, were you to choose to have your own in-house IT provision.
By outsourcing, you keep things flexible but have ready access to the kind of IT expertise and insight you need.
But just because outsourced IT is flexible, shouldn’t mean it’s in any way flimsy or not sufficiently robust to support your business in the longer term.
What we suggest is that you look at outsourced IT as much more of a partnership than a supplier relationship. It’s a relationship that should be built on trust, and on your IT provider’s demonstrable experience, professionalism and proactive support.
What Long-term Value Does an IT Support Package Offer?
According to figures, of organisations that have experienced breaches or cyberattacks, 23% say they will need new measures to prevent future attacks.
This illustrates the long-term value of outsourced IT support:
- It provides a ready, trusted resource to implement new security measures, but
- It is more likely to prevent the original breach from happening in the first place.
You’ll be familiar with the saying, prevention is better than cure. This is highly applicable to IT support and the long-term benefits you get from it.
When you’re checking what a provider can give you with their IT support packages, look carefully at what they offer in terms of security and how proactive and progressive their approach is.
But IT support isn’t only about seeing off potential threats or tightening up your security.
An IT support provider can act as a strategic partner for your business, providing you with the means to grow your capabilities by giving you the technological framework you need.
The starting point is a strategic IT review, preferably every year, to ensure your tech is keeping up with your business ambitions.
Then it’s a case of how you address any issues, and what sort of additional work your provider can offer, such as specialised projects or on-site support.
You won’t necessarily need these things routinely, but they should be available, and they should attract some sort of discount as part of your support package.
Alongside this is the day-to-day stuff and regular check-ups your business needs, and which should come as standard in your IT support package. Even if it seems fairly standard, it’s still important and you should always be clear about what systematic checks and reports your service provider will give you.
Maximising the Benefits of IT Support
Most SMEs use accounting services. Some will simply turn to their accountant when they need to complete their annual accounts and file their tax return. This is a basic need that the accountant fills, addressing any issues or resolving any problems, more or less once a year.
But some SMEs also use a management accountant. This is much more of a strategic role, involving analysis of figures and forecasting. It’s ongoing, periodic and proactive. It enables the business to tap into a valuable reservoir of specialist, up-to-date knowledge and gain a clear picture of its ongoing, and future, financial health.
Why are we talking about accounting in an IT support blog? Because the same applies to your outsourced IT support.
It’s not simply a tech-focused first-aid service, that you access whenever your systems crash or your computers are running too slowly. What it offers is long-term, strategic tech support for your business, including monitoring the health of your IT, and helping you plan for the future.
Selecting Your Outsourced IT Partner
If you’re going to get the most out of your outsourced IT support, you must choose carefully, and choose based on this being a close and crucial business relationship.
We’ve looked at the fundamentals, including what you want from your IT. We’ve looked at the kinds of packages IT support can provide. But you should also consider how outsourcing can bring you long-term benefits.
Get it right, and you enjoy the freedom and flexibility of outsourcing combined with the staunch support of a trusted partner.
What should you be looking to gain and achieve?
- Control your costs – outsourcing gives you flexibility with your IT support budget
- Gain access to expertise – you have a specialised talent pool at your disposal, which you might otherwise not easily access
- Increase your security and reduce your risk – cyber-threats and cyber-criminals aren’t going away, but you’ll be in a much stronger position to protect yourself from them
- Build tech into your strategy – whether it’s managing data or using applications, good IT support is strategic and enabling
- Future-proof your business – whatever technology throws at you, your strategic IT partner will be on-hand to help you meet and overcome these challenges.
Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture
Sure, the devil’s in the details when it comes to understanding what your IT support offers on a day-to-day basis. But the broader perspective and the long-term view are no less important.
When looking for outsourced IT support, don’t lose sight of the big picture, and what you stand to gain from making the right choice.