by Scott Jack
Content Contributor, E-N Computers
7+ years experience in healthcare IT and tech support.
If you’re considering outsourcing IT services for your company, you probably want to know about any downsides. While we find that fully managed IT services are a great fit for many small and medium businesses, it’s also true that our services are not right for every business. To help you decide, we are going to cover a few disadvantages of managed service providers, and why we consider them to be necessary trade-offs.
In our conversations with new and prospective clients, there are three common concerns we hear. First, outsourcing IT means losing some control. Second, it can result in slower response times. Third, there is a higher cost on paper, especially compared to having an unofficial internal IT person or an as-needed vendor. Let’s get started.
Prospective clients often worry about having less control, slower response times, and higher costs. We address these concerns by collaborating with decision makers on a technology roadmap and budget, implementing scalable support processes, and reducing hidden and direct IT-related costs. We offer affordable, straightforward pricing for businesses that want a strategy-focused technology partner.
First, some customers are concerned that they will lose a measure of control over their IT support if they outsource. It is true that you will have to cede some control to your IT vendor. Your current way of running things may not match an experienced MSPs time-tested, standardized procedures. Although our way of operating usually requires some adjustment from our clients, it is designed to provide a holistic, proactive approach that grows with your business. Consider where many small businesses find themselves when it comes to IT.
Many small businesses have what you might call informal, or unstructured, IT services. Some only have an unofficial IT person — maybe the business owner, an employee with other responsibilities, or a relative. They might hire an IT vendor to fix things as needed or for individual projects. Or they might have one overwhelmed IT person to handle support, maintenance, and strategy.
Over time, they build up an inefficient patchwork of tools and processes that result in lost productivity and revenue and can even hamstring company growth. They end up with staff that are frustrated and burned out from supporting and using their computer systems. Rather than planning and executing an IT strategy that contributes to the success of the business, they are stuck in a reactive loop of putting out fires.
In contrast, we take a proactive approach that contributes to your long-term success. We continuously look for opportunities to improve the stability, scalability, and security of your IT infrastructure. This may mean that some tools and processes need to change. Because our industry is constantly changing, your old way of doing things may need brought up-to-date with current best practices. And all of this will mean some growing pains—but with the result that you will be better prepared for unexpected challenges and opportunities. The actions we take are not solely based on our decades of experience; instead, we collaborate with key decision makers to develop an IT strategy and roadmap that aligns with your organization’s long-term goals.
Clients who view us as a strategic partner and are willing to implement more sustainable tools and processes over time tend to benefit the most from out managed services. On the other hand, those who only want someone to come in and fix what they already have will be better off with a different IT service provider.
Longer Response Times
A second concern for potential clients is how quickly they will receive support from an MSP. In many cases, they are worried that we will not provide immediate attention to each issue the way an in-house IT person might. Though we do not provide the same immediacy for routine support issues, we take a systematic approach to handling every issue in a timely manner. How does this compare to in-house IT?
In small and medium businesses, an in-house IT employee can be interrupted frequently with tasks that are characterized as urgent — even if it is a relatively small issue only affecting one person. Managers, executives, and others shout down the hall or make a “quick stop” at the IT desk to request assistance. In many cases, the IT person spends a significant portion of their day dealing with minor problems that affect only a small set of staff. This can mean that long-term, strategic projects are delayed, while lower-priority tasks are lost in the shuffle.
Our standardized support process, on the other hand, allows us to move quickly and properly prioritize issues. Every issue reported to us is triaged within 12 minutes. This means we acknowledge we’ve received the request, we have checked it for a complete and accurate description, and we have assigned a priority level and a resource with the expertise to resolve the issue..
We assign priority based on 1) urgency, meaning the number of people affected, and 2) impact on business operations. Each priority level has a service level attached. Priority 1 issues are critical because everyone is affected and work is stopped; we aim to resolve these within 4 hours. Priority 2 could be one person that can’t do any work or everyone having to use a workaround; our goal is to resolve these within 8 hours. These two priority levels are assigned ahead of other work. Priority 3 issues range from one person using a workaround to everyone being affected by an irritation; we try to resolve these within 3 days. Minor issues that only affect one person are assigned Priority 4 and we aim to resolve them within a month — usually during our next onsite visit.
Our Service Manager and Dispatcher proactively monitor customer requests to ensure that these goals are met, and that any “stuck” tickets are escalated or re-prioritized. Good communication helps us make sure that your requests get the attention they need within the correct time frame.
|Priority 1 – Critical
|Priority 2 – High
|Priority 3 – Medium
|Priority 4 – Low Priority
While some problems may not be handled as quickly as you have become accustomed to, our triage process ensures that every problem is handled in a timely manner. It enables us to identify trends and deal with underlying issues before they become more serious. And it allows us to provide quality support your entire team needs at a reasonable price.
Lastly, some prospective clients are put off by the cost of our services. If you are coming from no official IT support or from basic as-needed repair services, the costs on paper are likely higher than you’re used to. On top of that, additional monthly operating costs are rarely appealing. However, our pricing structure is designed to be affordable while providing great value.
We strive to maintain affordable rates on the managed IT services we provide our customers. Our smaller clients typically spend $105 per user per month, or $2,400 monthly for a 20-user company. That includes onboarding and stabilization, unlimited helpdesk support, remote monitoring and management, and strategic consultation, all with no long-term commitment. With our monthly pricing, you don’t have to be worried about surprise fees and hidden costs. Really, a lack of fully managed IT may be costing you money.
Without comprehensive IT support, businesses contend with hidden costs. Their computer systems are often not performing optimally. They aren’t being regularly monitored and updated. Issues are not fully addressed in a timely manner and cause additional problems, such as cybersecurity risks. Opportunities to align technology with business goals are passed up. As a result, they have hidden costs in the form of lost productivity, lower morale and higher turnover among employees, and missed opportunities to streamline business processes. In addition to remediating the technical causes of such hidden costs, we look for other ways to bring you IT cost savings.
In fact, we include budget planning consultation as part of our standard services. We have saved clients thousands of dollars monthly by modernizing their phone systems, negotiating better internet prices, and trimming the IT budget of other unnecessary spending. By developing a technology roadmap with clients, we help them to plan out their operational costs and reduce unexpected IT expenditures.
We’re confident that we are offering our services at the right price for clients that want a strategic technology partner that brings stability, productivity, and strategy to their IT infrastructure. But we recognize that this isn’t what every organization is looking for. For those looking for the absolute lowest price, or a piecemeal approach, another IT outsourcing company will be a better fit. However, if you see the value in our comprehensive approach, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about how E-N Computers can help you meet your business goals.
Next Steps: Choose the Right IT Approach for You
Not every MSP is the same, which can make choosing one daunting. You want to make sure that they’re going to match the needs and working style of your business. To help you in your search, we’ve put together the article, “7 Steps to Choosing a Managed IT Service Provider“. It explains seven critical elements of managed IT services and how we measure up.
For some organizations, a hybrid approach is more desirable. Find out what co-managed IT is and some situations where it might be useful in our article “What Are Hybrid Managed Services?” E-N Computers offers a discount on our managed IT services for organizations that have an in-house IT person. You can find out more about our pricing here.
Is your business ready to weather changes, including employee turnover? Find out by taking our IT maturity assessment.
You’ll get personalized action items that you can use to make improvements right away. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to book a FREE IT strategy session to get even more insights into your IT needs.