While information technology is an important part of the modern business and its processes, it isn’t always the easiest topic for the average business user to figure out. In this series, we’ve been exploring how a managed service provider can add value to your business and its IT. Here, we’re focusing on how the managed service provider can serve as a knowledgeable consultant.
Be honest with yourself: who do you think is going to have a better handle on what your business needs for optimal success… you, after a few hours of Googling, or a service provider whose business is built upon their ability to deliver this optimization?
This consulting can take many shapes, and provides different benefits to your business. As we have in other parts of this series, let’s compare two hypothetical businesses to outline the benefits of a managed service provider’s assistance.
Shirley manages a business that is experiencing promising growth - promising enough, that enhanced IT solutions are needed to support her operations. Another business owner, Laverne, is also experiencing similar success and growth, and therefore has similar IT needs.
However, when it comes to selecting these enhanced, improved solutions, the two business owners take very different paths. Shirley decides to try and design her IT upgrades herself, thinking, “How hard could it be?” Alternatively, Laverne realizes that her expertise lies in her business, and not in IT, so she calls in a managed service provider to assist her in developing a technology strategy that allows her to scale her solutions to match demand.
As a result, Laverne will have the technology solutions that suit her business and allow it to accomplish more. While Shirley may make some lucky guesses and pick the right solutions independently, this is far less likely than if a dedicated professional was advising her.
A managed service provider can also provide a business with a Chief Information Officer, commonly known as a virtual CIO (as compared to an in-house CIO, which large businesses commonly hire). Since Laverne is leveraging managed services, she is able to access the virtual CIO services that are offered, opening her up to increased efficiency in her IT spending, greater productivity and data management, with a resourceful and responsive representative from the managed service provider working for her.
Shirley, on the other hand, does not have access to such a resource, and is therefore not provided with these business advantages.
Let’s take our hypothetical situation one step further and assume that both Laverne and Shirley have some inefficiencies in their business processes. After all, even if they’re hypothetical, they’re still only human.
Shirley can do her best to identify and resolve these inefficiencies as they become apparent, but remember: she’s a business owner, not an IT expert, so there are a lot of signals that she frankly doesn’t know to look for.
As Laverne has SouthBridge Consulting on her side, she has a resource that will actively seek out and identify any shortcomings and otherwise optimize her business’ network for her. This leaves Laverne more time to run her business, with better tools to use and a better method of doing do.
Of course, there is no such thing as a store that sells all of a business’ needs - at least, not in a reasonable scale for a business to use. This is why businesses rely on vendors to procure the materials and technology needed for their operations.
Let’s say that Shirley really does have a good idea of what her business needs, and she has found vendors to serve these needs. However, she also needs to commit time to working with these vendors, making sure orders are placed, invoices are paid, and all the rest.
Laverne, on the other hand, can entrust her managed service provider to handle her vendors, and be confident that everything that needs to be handled will be. Furthermore, there’s a good chance that the managed service provider will be able to get Laverne a better deal, as they have likely built up a working relationship with their vendors.
One of the most useful resources in any business is expertise, and that’s something that a managed service provider can deliver. When you’re in need of an IT solution, you can trust a managed service provider like SouthBridge Consulting to be your advocate when dealing with vendors. As a result, you get what you need, without paying more than you need to.
We still aren’t finished exploring the benefits of managed services, so don’t miss the rest of this series. If you’d like to learn more about what SouthBridge Consulting has to offer, reach out to us at (281) 816-6430!