Managed IT Services Houston
Should Small Businesses Consider Managed IT Services? 6 Guideposts
Getting your small business out of the IT Support business just makes good business sense in most cases. The cost and skillsets needed to maintain a solid IT infrastructure are often an unnecessary burden to the business and simply a risk not worth taking.
While most of the small business owners I talk to agree that being in the IT business makes no sense for their medical practice, bank, law firm, or other business, the best way to unwind an existing IT investment is a topic for much discussion.
What is the best way to move from having IT infrastructure and support internally to an outsourced model involving managed IT services?
There is no one right answer, but based on the age and level of investment you have already made in your IT infrastructure and the necessary IT support to keep it running, there are guideposts that can help shape the decision and determine if managed IT services make sense for your buiness.
Guidepost 1: What is the cost of downtime for your business?
How much does an hour of downtime cost your business? How much revenue is lost if your IT infrastructure is lost for a day?
Answer these questions and you will be off to a good start in determining what and how to virtualize your business. As a general rule, the smaller the downtime window, the greater the investment in IT infrastructure needs to be to reasonably be able to provide that level of stability.
Guidepost 2: IT Staff
Do you have IT staff today? Does your IT staff have all of the specializations you need to run your business? What skill sets are being augmented by technology partners, application developers or vendors?
Measure the skills of your IT consulting partners, IT staff and payroll against the technology requirements of your business. Are there gaps in your coverage? Are your technical resources able to meet the demands of your business? Where are your internal strengths? Where are you weak?
Evaluate the talent pool of your region. Is there an available pool of technical talent you can draw from to expand or fill vacant positions? Do you require any special skill sets that are difficult to find in your market?
Guidepost 3: Senior IT Management
Do you have a Director or CIO that is helping your management team bridge the gap between typical IT jargon and the vision for the business? Is there a strategic plan for projects and changes to the environment, or are new pieces bought and bolted on only when something breaks with little thought to the grand scheme of things?
Guidepost 4: Cost of Infrastructure
Do you own all of the IT infrastructure you need to maintain your IT systems and your business? Do you have any servers or old equipment in need of replacement?
If the existing infrastructure in place is solid, you might look at having your existing infrastructure managed for you. As your IT infrastructure ages, or if you need to reclaim the space, colocations and/or managed services hosting may become a viable option.
If your infrastructure is a little long in the tooth it may make sense to look at outsourcing all of your technology needs and have your applications and hardware hosted offsite.
Guidepost 5: Key Data Considerations
Securely housing and hosting production IT operations in the cloud is being done everyday. Where does your data need to reside for your business? What happens if your data is not available because of a cut line between you and your hosting partner? How would that impact your business?
How many applications do you own? Are there any custom specifications or specialized skill sets needed to maintain your applications?
Does it make sense to maintain some DR capability locally, managed or maintained internally in the event of an outage? What are your vendor’s solutions?
Guidepost 6: What are you Best at?
Where are your core competencies as a company? Are you better at running your business or running the IT infrastructure and IT support needs of your business? This basic question is at the root of the outsourcing question.
Outsourcing the management or the hosting and management of your IT infrastructure should free up internal resources, reduce IT cost related to tickets and resolution. Outsourcing should put you in a position to be able to budget for your IT projects and IT support costs on an annual basis.
Managed IT services or outsourced IT should be simpler, more predictable, and less expensive than running your own small IT organization. The math has to work.
In many instances, when factoring the hard and soft costs, managed IT services or hosting your IT infrastructure will make sense for small businesses.
The wider the range of talents needed to run your environment the more likely it is that managed IT services or outsourcing will make sense for your business.