In typical fashion, many people don’t think about fixing an item until it breaks. After all — as the thought process goes — what is the point of fixing or replacing an item if it is still working correctly? Why not wait until it starts to malfunction or stop working altogether and then replace it? The primary driver behind this mode of thinking is saving money.
When it comes to computer services, though, waiting until something is broken or malfunctioning before replacing it is not likely to save money at all. Instead, taking the wait-and-see approach could very likely cost a business money in more ways than one.
Today, there are two options when it comes to IT services: Break Fix vs Managed service. Exploring both thoroughly can help a business learn more about its choices and make the right decision for their bottom line.
Choosing Managed IT Services Providers
Managed IT services are usually those that are outsourced to a specialised company. This is a model that is gaining in popularity with nearly 60 percent of small businesses opting to outsource their IT services rather than maintain their own internal computer services department. A survey of small business owners found that 59 percent of them had transitioned to the managed service model from break-fix.
In most cases, a company that provides managed IT services functions in much the same way as an on-site department dedicated to fixing and maintaining computer issues. With the capability, experience and knowledge to handle nearly every technical issue that an organization experiences, working with such a company is the route that many forward-thinking organisations that are focused on streamlining their bottom line are taking.
Moving Away from In-House IT Teams
The trend for modern businesses is to streamline their bottom line and outsource those services that are best left up to the professionals. There is no industry that this is more evident than IT services.
In an effort to better focus their budgets, many businesses are slashing departments that are known for being less than profitable. Of course, just because a company no longer has an in-house team of computer specialists does not mean that it does not still need those types of services.
One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing these services is that your company saves a great deal of money without losing any of the services it has come to rely on to function properly. This is especially true if you choose the managed services approach for your business rather than simply relying on the outdated break-fix model.
Learn more about the differences between the managed services approach and the break-fix model to discover which one is best for your business. Before delving more deeply into what sets the two types of services apart from one another, it is important to note that most providers of IT services offer both options.
Once you choose an IT provider, it is simply a matter of deciding if you want a partner in the growth of your business or only a company that you see occasionally when a problem with your computers arises. While money is often the most compelling factor when it comes to making decisions, you might be surprised to discover a number of other vital reasons why a managed services approach is best for the health and future of your company.
Managed IT Services
The primary mindset behind a managed services approach is two-fold. First and foremost, choosing a managed service provider means that your business is gaining a highly-trained partner that specialises in delivering top-notch IT services. The second primary aspect is that your company has access to these services on a regular basis — not just when there is a problem.
Focus is on a Partnership
In the highly-competitive business world of today, a company that is focused on success must also be up-to-date when it comes to technology. Because technology is an ever-changing industry, it is vital to have a partner that is focused solely on keeping up with those changes and ensuring that its clients have access to them.
A managed services provider is comprised of technology teams that have numerous areas of expertise within the broader IT industry. Because of that experience and expertise, an outsourced IT services company is able to build a technology strategy for your business that not only aligns with the current requirements within your industry but also positions your business for its future endeavours.
Many IT issues have their roots in smaller problems that are simply overlooked or not large enough to be noticed as they continue to create havoc in the background. Waiting until there is an obvious issue — as is the case when the break-fix model is used — often means the repair process is long, complex and expensive.
Working with a managed services plan means that your business’ computer network is being continuously monitored by professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. This type of oversight a detect any issues or faults as they are occurring in real-time. The company’s software system then creates a repair ticket and the issue is assigned to the appropriate person immediately. There is no gap in between the error occurring and the process of repairing it that could waste valuable time and bog down your company’s functionality.
Regular Updates and Backups are Built-In
Regardless of which version of the business software that your company relies on and is using, it will need to be updated and patched on a regular basis. Not only does this help address any fixes in the code but it also helps ensure that hackers and other threats cannot breach your company’s computer system and wreak havoc. Along with regular backups of your valuable company — and customer — data, these regular updates and patches are built right into the scope of a managed services plan. Your company will be placed on a regular schedule of patching and updating to ensure that it is always operating with the latest software and protected from any threats.
Well Defined Process
Because a managed services approach is designed to keep your business’ computer systems operating smoothly while also being updated, there is a specific process that is followed. This includes both the project management aspect of the service and support via their help desk. A well-defined process has a number of advantages for your business. This approach ensures that you receive consistent service and that it is delivered on a regular basis. Another reason for following a particular process is that doing so keeps your business’ networks secure and functioning to their highest degree to ensure both short-term and long-term success.
Choosing a managed services provider means that you have an expert on your team who can run interference for your company if something should arise. For example, if your company is having an issue with your phone systems, instead of having to pull one of your own employees off his or her use role and assigning them the task of fixing it, your managed services provider fulfils that role for you.
Another way your managed services provider can give your company vendor support is because they often know about services and specials that could help your business save money while enjoying better benefits. The time and effort that your employees would need to put into finding this type of information could mean that they aren’t able to focus as fully on their own jobs.
Responsive and Thorough Help Desk Support
Because a managed services provider uses sophisticated tools and places a premium focus on quick connectivity, there are a number of support calls that can be addressed remotely. This ensures that your business has a quicker resolution to any minor issues. For problems that are more involved, it is simply a matter of an engineer travelling to your business in a fully-equipped van or car and taking care of the issue on-site.
More Cost-Effective Than an In-House IT Team
Though this benefit has already been mentioned briefly, it bears talking about again because its importance cannot be overlooked. In general, keeping a complete IT services team within the company is an expensive process. This is especially true when you consider all the specialisations and the range of talent that is available when these services are outsourced.
Of course, you’ll need to pay the wages for the team which will be a sizable portion of your company’s budget. You also need to figure in for annual leave, pensions, sick leave and the like as these costs will soon mount. Another aspect of keeping an in-house IT team is arranging for cover when someone goes out on leave, is sick or is on holiday. None of these staffing issues are problems when you use a managed services provider.
Proactive Management is the Key to Success
Just like regular maintenance is required to keep your vehicles running smoothly and to ensure that small problems do not become larger ones, proactive management is vital to the success of your business. With the heavy reliance on computers and technology to do everything from fulfilling orders and communicating with customers to paying vendors and ordering more supplies, the effects of having your networking system go down in the middle of a busy day could be difficult to overcome.
The reality is that today’s customers expect companies to be responsive to their needs, to deliver as promised and to address any issues in a satisfactory manner. Taking care of these aspects of customer service are nearly impossible without relying on your network of computer systems. Choosing a managed services plan helps ensure that any potential issues are spotted and addressed long before they can create problems.
Set it and Forget It
There are few other things that are as convenient as finding a good service and then knowing it is working in the background for you and your business. With a managed services plan, you can rest assured that your IT services partner is working competently and expertly in the background to keep your business updated and functioning smoothly. Your monthly contract with this professional team ensures that your business has the continuity in functionality that it needs to succeed.
Unlike the break-fix model that waits until there is a problem before alerting the professionals, this proactive approach keeps you in the loop about any issues before they reach that harmful breaking point. You are better able to plan for equipment upgrades, for example, or network expansions. Instead of being at the mercy of your IT equipment when it decides to stop working, your managed services provider is partnering with you to keep you informed about these services that must be addressed in order for your business to stay viable. This approach allows you to schedule these services on days that you are less busy. Sometimes they can even be taken care of at night or during those hours when your business is not normally operating.
Less Costly Than Break-Fix
Managed services are less costly than relying on the break-fix model. Even though you are paying a monthly fee for managed services, it is less expensive than the ad hoc method that is often used when it comes to break-fix. When you wait and use the break-fix model, it is more likely that you will pay premium prices for every aspect of the repair and that each one will be charged separately. You will need to pay for the initial consultation to determine the issue as well as any parts and labour. If upgrades, patching and updating are also required, your company will also pay premium prices for these services as well. Working with the unforeseen costs of the break-fix model makes budgeting for the inevitable computer issues almost impossible. In fact, there are many cases when a business did not allocate enough funds to address the issue, so it caused issues with their budget or they simply went without the repairs for a period of time.
Making the Decision
Deciding between managed IT services and the break-fix model can have long-term consequences for your business. Before making your final decision, consider the following points:
Envision your technological future
While there are some businesses that manage to achieve their goals for growth without investing in technology, this is phenomena is becoming increasingly rare. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology and the innovations within the field, businesses that don’t stay updated risk being left behind as the industry advances. Partnering with a technology company that brings a solid strategy for growth and maintenance to the table ensures that a business stays ahead of the game.
Do the numbers
For many businesses, their bottom line costs are powerful drivers when it comes to making decisions. While this factor shouldn’t be the sole focus, its importance cannot be understated. Engaging an IT services provider that offers a managed services option gives your business the assurance that any potential issues will be addressed prior to them causing problems. This proactive approach can save you time and money during both the short and long term that more than offsets the costs of the service.
Waiting until a crisis arises before calling a professional not only means paying premium prices for the service, but you’ll likely also experience lost revenue and the possibility of dissatisfied customers taking their business elsewhere.
Verify their reputation
Finding the right provider of computer services is a process that is likely to take some dedicated time and effort. The payoffs, though, are that you have a high-quality partner that you can count on during those times that you need maintenance and repairs equally. Inquire about any awards, certifications and/or accreditations the firm might have.
Delve into its background and ask about the length of time both the business itself and its team members have been focused on providing the type of IT services you need. Contact the business and inquire about its pricing structure for both managed services and break-fix incidents.
Reach Out to Others
If you belong to a local business group, reach out to its members to learn who they use for their computer services. Most forward-thinking companies are now eliminating their in-house IT departments in favour of using a company that focuses solely on providing those types of services. Because of this, it’s likely that you’ll get a number of suggestions regarding favoured businesses.
IT Leaders is Australia’s leading outsourcing company within the business computing space. The elite team behind IT Leaders upholds itself to the exacting standards the industry demands. Employing state-of-the-art technology and concepts, IT Leaders is your business partner for today — and well into the future.
Contact us today to learn more about our managed services and how we can help your business reach its goals more quickly.