Outsourcing IT to a managed services provider (MSP) is becoming a common practice for small and mid-sized businesses. But for many of those companies, the extent of that “outsourced IT” function is support services. Seeking a help desk, they want to be sure that someone is available to address technical issues as they encounter them.
But if support is all a business outsources, too many questions and vulnerabilities remain. How is your company taking proactive steps to prevent issues before they occur? Will you outgrow your current technology infrastructure? And how do you know if your plans for technology are in alignment with your business goals?
The answers to those questions reside in adopting enterprise-level technology for your business. This means outsourcing all the functions that a large corporation’s IT department would cover to the right MSP. MSPs that work as a fully outsourced IT department deliver tremendous value to businesses looking to grow.
What are the benefits of Enterprise-Level IT?
Enterprise-level IT departments have their own corporate structure, led by a Chief Information Officer (CIO). This executive is typically responsible for overseeing high-level IT strategy for the company and working with the company’s executive leadership to ensure that the technical solutions, strategies, and personnel align with business goals.
Beyond the CIO, the IT professionals within the department play diverse roles in the organization. Many are network administrators tasked with proactive maintenance of systems to prevent downtime and ensure security. Others perform highly specialized roles, such as performing upgrades of critical systems or installing IT infrastructure at new locations. Still others manage critical IT automation tools, and, yes, serve as help desk technicians.
The point is that large corporations excel by having multiple IT specialists integrated into their business from the top down. We believe that, with the right MSP, small and mid-sized businesses can have this same experience.
I’m sold, but what should I look for?
The problem is that not all MSPs provide enterprise-level IT to their clients. Many just offer “break/fix” service or support. Some provide a small level of strategic consulting, but leave out network administration and proactive maintenance.
In our experience as an MSP, there are 5 important business functions that companies should look for in and outsource to an MSP to reap all the benefits that enterprise technology has to offer:
1. CIO Strategy
Just like a large corporation’s CIO is responsible for aligning IT strategy with business needs, an MSP should have individuals on staff who can consult with company decision makers to provide that same level of strategy and planning. CIO strategy is not just proposing projects; it’s diving deep into the state of a company’s IT infrastructure and the goals that the company has for the future, and planning to make sure the company’s IT can help them accomplish those goals, in budget.
2. Network Administration
Enterprise-level IT departments have individuals who are responsible for consistently managing the company’s network according to best practices and industry standards for security. The same should go for your MSP. If they aren’t consistently and periodically reviewing and proactively maintaining your systems—from servers to laptops to backups—in accordance with best practices, you aren’t receiving enterprise-level service.
3. Monitoring and Alerting
Wouldn’t it be great if an IT professional could automatically be alerted if a server, computer workstation, internet connection, or scheduled backup failed? That way, they’d be able to address issues more quickly—sometimes even before users experienced them. In most enterprise environments, RMM tools allow IT departments to do this. And any MSP worth their salt should be providing this level of support to small and mid-sized businesses as well.
4. Reliable Support
Of course, every IT department – including one outsourced to an MSP – must have a support team. The best support teams are highly organized to be efficient, minimizing the downtime your team experiences.
5. Project Design and Implementation
Finally, enterprise IT departments have individuals tasked with designing and implementing changes, upgrades, and additions to the existing IT infrastructure in accordance with the CIO’s strategy. The same should be the case for your MSP. They should have a project team that designs projects to specifically meet your business needs, and manages them efficiently through completion.
Ready to Experience Enterprise-Level IT?
Your business, regardless of its size, deserves to experience enterprise-level IT. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We’ll walk you through what it would look like to outsource your IT to an MSP partner who can provide more than just support.