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Karen Hayward, CenterBeam EVP & CMO
Karen Hayward

Does Outsourcing IT Make Sense?

By Karen Hayward, CenterBeam Executive VP & CMO

As today's IT environment continues to evolve in capabilities and complexity, this complexity often calls for deep subject matter experts to maintain and trouble-shoot issues. But the reality is small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) often rely on one or two IT generalists to manage a diverse set of IT disciplines – email, security, patching, network and server management and monitoring. Not to mention the applications that actually run your business.

A need for 24x7 support

Adding to this complexity, there's often a need to support several small, geographically dispersed offices or remote staff with requirements for "real time" IT help and support, including nights and weekends. When you need to be available to your customers 24x7, you need 24x7 IT support so technology issues don't get in the way of doing business.

The options

Until recently, SMBs only had one option: self provision with limited internal IT staff and occasionally bring in consultants to help manage through crisis and upgrades. But this cumbersome and pricey option is no longer feasible. In a sluggish and uncertain economy, companies are reluctant to make big investments in their IT infrastructures or increase IT headcount.

Utility pricing

Easily scales up / down to sync with your business cycles

As a result, companies are beginning to outsource their IT infrastructures and helpdesk support to managed services providers (MSPs), also known as software as a service (SaaS) or cloud solution providers. MSPs offer fractional ownership of a best-in-breed IT infrastructure. By deploying one robust infrastructure to many "shared" customers, each customer pays a fraction of the cost required to host the same IT services in house. And, some MSPs offer fixed pricing so there are no surprises to your IT budget.

Reduced IT "fire-fighting"

There are many factors that could drive a decision to outsource your IT to an MSP. For example, the demands for support around the clock can be taxing on a small staff; they feel they are "always on" and always "on call."

Having an outsourced team that "has the back" of and collaborates with your internal IT staff allows your inhouse person(s) to focus on business driving applications rather than routine helpdesk problems or fire-fighting infrastructure issues.

10 reasons to consider outsourcing:

  1. You need a low risk way to get access to incremental IT resources without a long term commitment
  2. Your users need 24x7 support
  3. You have a mobile workforce that requires remote support across multiple time zones and in different technology environments (hotel, regional office, home office, Blackberry®, Treo™, iPhone®, iPad®, etc.)
  4. You would rather access support expertise on an as needed basis versus staff full time
  5. You're experiencing too much downtime on mission critical applications like email
  6. You want proactive management and round-the-clock monitoring of key systems
  7. You want to ensure all your key databases are backed up and quickly accessible
  8. You want to mitigate the capital expenditures to buy, implement and upgrade your own technology
  9. You want your internal IT staff to focus on business driving applications, not routine issues
  10. Your organization is highly dispersed geographically and has to support several different locations

The good news is the MSP market has matured to the point where small to mid-size businesses have more options than ever. Hybrid combinations of support are beginning to emerge, providing you more flexibility. Even with a shared infrastructure model, you have the ability to customize your IT solution to meet your unique business needs.

Finding the right IT partner

If you decide to outsource IT, the MSP you select should "feel" like the right fit for your company. The MSP should perform like an extension of your team and integrate easily into your business environment. For a successful partnership, it's important to choose a partner that communicates well throughout the implementation process for a smooth transition onto managed services.

Main points to look for in an outsourced IT provider:

  • Fixed cost, regardless of call volume
  • 24x7 helpdesk
  • Calls answered by desktop engineers, not a dispatch service
  • National/international support (if needed)
  • Multiple site support (if needed)
  • Access to subject matter experts
  • Clear contract with an easy out clause
  • Collaborative "extension of your team" approach

Is CenterBeam for you?

Outsourcing to a company that specializes in IT network management and support services allows you to offload the headaches of day-to-day IT operations and spend time on growing your business. Several business applications where time to market, implementation and support used to drain an organization's resources are now available as web services. And, with CenterBeam's utility pricing model, you have the opportunity to get an enterprise-class IT infrastructure -- without suprises to your budget and without adding headcount.

CenterBeam supports SMBs across many industries. While the service offering is consistent, we recognize our customers in different markets have unique needs and circumstances. CenterBeam can provide complete IT management or complement and extend existing resources. We hope for the opportunity to explore your IT needs.

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