09 Aug Everyone’s doing it- with good reason!
You’d think there would be at least a little slow-down in our new client installs and on-boarding in the horrid heat and humidity of Alabama in the weeks prior to “school’s in”. Getaways to the gulf, or river rafting, or lake lounging, right?
Nope. It seems like every business in the area wants managed IT right now. To find out why (instead of indulging in a wallow of self-congratulation), we turned to some serious research.
CompTIA (Computer Technology Industry Association) has been around since 1982 and is really the voice of our industry. They are entirely neutral, and they are a very respected provider of the training and testing required for certifications in the skills IT requires. Fortunately, they have also released detailed industry trend reports for the last several years. So, we got the answers we were looking for, and the bonus was information that may help you. Kind of like the insight you get from Amazon product reviews, it helps to know what “the crowd” thinks.
In this case, we’re talking about the quickly growing crowd of small and medium sized businesses who have become managed IT solutions clients.
We were happy to see the results broken out by region, but the Southeast follows the national trends in all significant areas. Those results also match our own experience very well, so we think we are safe to extend “the Southeast” to our own area.
There are a couple of general trends we think you’ll find interesting, and maybe helpful. After that, we’ll get down to why: what are the top needs of companies going with managed IT?
Fewer Large Enterprise size, more Small Business
Ten years ago, relatively few businesses could tell you what an MSP was. “Managed Services Provider? What services?” MSPs are often called Managed Business IT Providers, or just Business Tech providers today, but the service is essentially the same. Any aspect of your business that falls under the IT umbrella can be entirely managed by an outside (vs. in-house) partner company which is focused on business IT only. You, the business owner, and everyone else in your organization, can then focus on your actual core business! The difference is, business IT is so advanced and changes so quickly that this service is essential now.
Also, back then, a successful business IT company was very likely to have several very large clients, for whom they handled only certain IT needs. What CompTIA saw, and what we are seeing now, too, is that smaller businesses are demanding managed IT much more quickly in their growth process than in the past. In the last few years, there are many more instances of much smaller businesses that are far more dependent on tech. Add to that the fact that, although there is a very wide range among competitors, fees for IT services can be lower than in the past (due to improved processes and efficiencies, and lower costs for some types of equipment). So you can see how the stage might be set for smaller businesses as managed IT clients.
Now- here’s the current list of needs that managed IT answers.
What does business love most/need most from managed IT?
- No surprise here: Cybersecurity is greatly improved when a company goes with managed IT. Business owners and any IT team they employ have been justifiably jarred by attacks of cybercriminals on so many. The instances of data theft, extortion, and all that flows from them demand reduction of those risks. Compliance falls into this area, too, and any business with e-commerce is subject to PCI security standards. HIPAA regulations which must be followed by any healthcare or healthcare-related business, too.
- Second is the Proactive Approach of any competent managed IT company. This must be a large part of everything outsourced IT covers for a business, baked into RMM (remote monitoring and management of your networks), predictive security, backups, ready recovery, business continuity, and more. Even the 24x7x365 support coverage most MSPs offer speaks to “proactive”. For example, picture the instance when a problem is resolved before your business hours, rather than after you come in the office and discover it yourself.
- We hear it all the time, and Maximum Availability is the big demand all over the country, too. Think about it: how long has it been since, “we’re having computer problems” was a serious statement you’d make to a consumer? If you hear it yourself, it sounds like a joke. With savvy managed IT, there’s very little that can stop you at all. And you can even arrange for only a few moments downtime, no matter what, if necessary.
- Access to Newer Technologies is next on the list. Isn’t that what all this is about, anyway? In a way, sure, but put the emphasis on “access”. Businesses, even those who still have substantial in-house IT departments, rarely have the time/staff/expertise to sort through the barrage of new solutions- from telephone systems to backup appliances- appearing every day, much less the ability to test and compare them before installation. But that’s a large part of managed IT’s responsibility, so that when your tech partner recommends a system or process, you can be confident of installing the best solution. Access can also mean cost considerations. More on that under #5, but think how much help HaaS and SaaS (leasing hardware and software) solutions can be.
- ROI/Cost Savings is next on the list. Surprising it wasn’t a bump or two above! Consider that businesses with as many as 200 employees may have an in-house IT staff of only three to five. That’s often a break/fix scenario (nothing gets attention until it breaks), meaning efficiency and productivity really suffer. And, hiring sufficient staff (and staff with the specific areas of expertise needed) can rarely be justified. Working with a managed IT solutions company eliminates these problems. Typically, this doesn’t mean the elimination of your IT department, because they are usually needed for tasks way beyond IT infrastructure and or phones. It does mean you get exponential improvement in the value of your IT dollar, in your efficiency and productivity, in your ability to continue to serve your consumers under challenging circumstances… and I could keep going. But I think you see that all of this contributes to profit.
We offer our clients the best of 1 through 5 above, and much more. In business, the term “tailwinds” describes a situation or condition that will move growth, revenues, and profits higher. That’s exactly what TailWinds can create for you.
Tell us about your business IT. (205) 332-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org