Your business relies on a productive workforce and technology that needs to meet the demands of your business. Information technology systems play a major role in your workforce and the significance it has will only continue to increase. When looking at the state of the current marketplace we see four common IT concerns among our customers:
• Keeping a lid on costs
• Improve security and protect their data
• Address problems before they occur
• provide skilled IT technicians
In this article we’ll look to explore all four concerns, and how outsourcing your IT department to an IT consulting service may benefit your business.
Keeping a lid on costs
This is one of the main concerns across management teams. How do we keep costs down? Is there a return on my investment? Of course, these questions pop up when discussing your IT department as well. The truth is that an in-house IT department is expensive tax on the bottom line and does not provide a return on investment. The cost of maintaining a department includes the annual cost of their salaries and benefits, plus the cost of management to oversee them. You must continually train employees as new technology emerges, you’ll have to refresh equipment so that your IT assets are up-to-date and meet your business demands, and then you must support those assets. Assets cover everything from front-end client equipment (laptops, desktops, monitors, etc.) to back end infrastructure (Storage, Servers, Networking). Additionally, your inhouse IT staff is often underutilized and may have idle time, thus wasting your valuable resources. It is no wonder that CIOs and managers are overwhelmed, where do you even start?
By leveraging IT Consulting Services or Outsourcing IT, you have real professionals working alongside you to ensure your costs are mitigated, and that the money you’re spending is being allocated to what will enhance your work experience the most. We talked about continually training employees and how that can get expensive, the good news is that outsourced IT companies are required to constantly train their employees as well, so you have the option to leverage an IT Consultant that can use their training (not paid for by you!) to recommend solutions.
Refreshing your assets so that you’re not running on old hardware is also a challenge, IT Consultants can recommend a Value Added Reseller to purchase your hardware from. How does that help you? Value Added Resellers (VARs) typically partner with industry leading IT manufacturers and are provided steep discounts to resell their hardware. The discounts that the VARs receive are passed along directly to the customer so you’ll often receive much better pricing on hardware/software than you would by purchasing through the Original Endpoint Manufacturer.
How many times have you called IT support to get help only to find out that your equipment’s support expired? Outsourced IT Companies track all of your assets and notify you in advance of expiration so that you can ensure all your support is current. Again, a VAR will pass the support renewal discounts along to you so that you can save money with renewals and allocate the savings to something else to grow your business.
Improve Security and Protect Data
IT Managers are responsible for ensuring that their data is effectively managed, and fully protected. That task has become much more challenging with industry trends toward working remotely and bring your own devices (BYOD) which introduces the threat of data breaches and increased liability for companies. This can be an absolute disaster for IT Managers to have to worry about. By leveraging a Outsourced IT Consulting Services, you can work to identify security threats and take the appropriate recommended measures to mitigate your risk.
Consultants will understand your industry and any compliance requirements that pertain to your field. As an example, financial and legal information is incredibly sensitive and the last thing you want is this information exposed. Let’s look at two industry trends that are comprising security, and briefly discuss measures that you can take to address them.
• Bring your own device (BYOD) – this has become common practice amongst enterprises and 1/3 of employees now use their own device for company practices. This has enabled employees to feel comfortable with devices that they’re familiar with which ultimately increases employee productivity, and additionally saves the company money as they no longer must purchase new equipment. The first way you can protect against this is by leveraging data backup. It is important to set data backup protocols so that you know how often your data should be backed up and ensure it can be recovered in the event of a lost or stolen devise. The second measure you can take is leveraging a Mobile Device Management Software. This will enable you to add devices and provision apps to meet company policies. Again, leveraging an IT Consultant is crucial here so that you can ensure the solution is exactly what your business needs.
• Users are now working remotely – employees are no longer required in the company’s physical headquarters to remain productive and the number of employees working remotely is a trend that continues to increase. This greatly benefits the company and employees as it allows a flexible work environment that can be productive from anywhere. One of the challenges is ensuring the security of the network that your employees are working off. Training should be provided to all remote workers ensuring they understand the risks of sending data over public Wi-Fi. Another protocol is ensuring they’re always connected to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that internet traffic is encrypted, especially if using a public network. If this isn’t something you want to handle in-house, consider using an outsourced IT company to take care of it for you.
Address Problems Before They Occur
This may seem like a ‘no brainer’ out of the three topics discussed, but is your company aware of all the challenges and complexities that they should be searching for? Chances are that you have several responsibilities and understanding absolutely everything about the technology your company is using isn’t one of them. You can work with an Outsourced IT Company or Consultant to help you get there. They’ll first pull information on your environment so they can get a full scope of your infrastructure, and then work directly with you to formulate a plan to implement an effective solution.
• Understanding your environment – there are several tools that your IT consultant can recommend such as Dell EMC Live Optics. Tools such as these pull data to get a better understanding of your infrastructure, workloads, & performance. What does this have to do with addressing problems? An effective solution provider will seek to understand your environment before deciding what gaps need to be addressed. The IT assessment will show you where there are vulnerabilities. If you’re one of the few companies that don’t have any, then you now at the very least have a better understanding of your infrastructure.
• Implement a solution that fits your needs ¬– the reason that you’re hiring a consultant or outsourced IT company in the first place is because you realize you need a little help and want to improve the technology that runs your entire business. Too often customers end up leaving the engagement more confused than they were when they initially sought help in the first place. A good IT consultant will break down the complexities that overwhelmed you in the first place and make your job a lot easier. The best part is, they’ll make you look like a rock-star to your managers and colleagues while taking the pressure off your team. Below is a step by step guideline of what an effective engagement will look like.
Provide Skilled Technicians
Technicians are the boots on the ground in any IT organization and any good outsourcing program. The challenge is to recruit and retain well trained, skilled and motivated individuals to service your IT assets. Many companies who run their own IT departments often fail at this challenge, and will recruit untrained or unskilled people for the job. On the other hand, many IT consulting/outsourcing companies fail as well, and will use gig economy resources such as OnForce or FieldNation to hire techs for one-off jobs. These are what we call trunk slammers.
Ultimately, technology and the way we work is rapidly changing. Organizations that are agile and embrace these changes will gain a competitive advantage in their industry. By leveraging Outsourced IT Consulting Services, you can take the next step in ensuring that your business is ready to adapt to a competitive environment and that your businesses’ most important asset, your data, is protected.