Are IT Support Services Worth It?
Recently many businesses of all types, sectors and sizes have had to look even more closely at their costs and outgoings, their charges, fees and financial commitments.
Budgets are being squeezed from every direction and for many enhanced cost efficiencies are the order of the day, to ensure business continuity and greater stability.
For many organisations the thought of employing an external IT services provider and incurring higher outgoings might seem unnecessary. However, for those in the know, who have benefitted from the knowledge and expertise provided by a managed services provider (MSP), it’s potentially a pathway to increasing output and business growth.
So what are IT support services? Could your company benefit from them? Are they worth the investment and how can you as a business owner find the right IT support services company for you?
In this article we’ll explore some of the essential questions around the topic of IT services and their value and examine the ways in which your organisation could reap positive outcomes from employing an IT support services provider.
Initially, it might be helpful to outline what IT support services are.
IT support services provide assistance with and the management of every aspect of your company’s IT, including all your technology, software/hardware, physical or cloud-based network, data back-ups, cyber security and digital infrastructure.
Some organisations employ fully staffed, permanent IT departments in-house who support the day-to-day running of the business internally. Other organisations use the services of specialist, external IT support providers to meet all their IT needs and respond to issues as they arise. There is also the option of a hybrid of both, where an in-house team is supported in larger, more complex projects by an outside IT firm.
External managed service providers are staffed by expert IT professionals often with extensive, specialist knowledge across many business sectors who can provide support remotely by phone, email and instant messaging or in-person.
Obviously, the benefits and drawbacks for in-house IT support vs an external provider vary greatly depending on the type and size of the business in question.
Other factors that can impact value for money and ROI include:
- Location – Is your team in one geographical location or spread across the world?
- Budget – How much can you realistically spend on IT staff costs each year?
- Future Plans – What is your five-year plan for the company and what challenges are you likely to face?
- Current Set-Up – What is the state of your existing IT infrastructure?
All of these need careful consideration before you embark on hiring more staff to meet your escalating IT needs or decide to employ an external IT support services company.
In-house teams are full or part-time permanent members of staff and come with all the regular benefits and costs associated with being an employee. Often they will be based in the company’s headquarters and will be on-hand in person or remotely to deal with daily queries and ongoing issues.
One key drawback of in-house IT staff is coverage and scalability. There will naturally be a level of work at which the IT department reaches capacity, whether due to physical capability, absences/illness or annual leave. At this point your choice will be to hire more staff to cover the workload, which can be costly, or delay potentially essential IT maintenance. It’s important to recognise that delaying important IT work, upgrades or support will almost certainly lead to a loss in productivity and a rise in unplanned digital downtime, losing you both time and money.
In contrast to this, managed IT support providers offer a range of products, services and packages that can be billed monthly or yearly so you can budget efficiently. They can also be scaled up and down in accordance with your requirements and needs. They are essentially a fully staffed IT department, on hand 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist you and your team with everything from small glitches to network-wide issues. The most established and reliable MSPs will also offer you a dedicated account manager to liaise with directly, someone who understands your business and will guide you towards the right solutions.
If you have clear, long-term goals and growth plans, articulating these to your IT support services provider will enable them to advise you on the next best steps as well as products and alterations to make to your digital infrastructure. Ultimately providing you with an up-to-date, modern network that will help your business to increase productivity and output.
Alongside day-to-day troubleshooting, external IT support services also provide:
- Expertise and Up-To-Date Knowledge – Professional IT specialists can advise on all the latest software/hardware and network advances for your business sector.
- Proactive Monitoring – Regular maintenance and monitoring of all your systems to avoid issues escalating.
- Cyber Security – Keeping your data and intellectual property safe and backed-up to avoid interruptions or costly downtime.
- 24/7 Access – Many MSPs will offer round-the clock support for companies operating shifts or working across time zones.
- Legal Compliance – An IT services support provider can make sure your systems and data management conform to all relevant legal requirements.
As well as a comprehensive ROI in terms of output, productivity, staff and customer satisfaction, having your IT managed by an external IT services support provider will give you complete peace of mind that everything is operating as it should, leaving you free to focus on growing your business.
Although having an in-house IT department might feel like the traditional approach, employing an external IT support services provider will actually offer you more for your money.
They will be able to provide you with a wider range of services, products and solutions and their staff will be keeping up with all the latest developments and innovations so that you don’t have to.
Finding and employing a company to provide comprehensive IT support might feel like a big, costly step, but ultimately the return on your investment will be improved productivity, greater staff morale, streamlined systems and functionality, greater data security and business continuity.
We would always advise that you do your own research before deciding. Firstly you should look for companies whose business values match yours. Look at all the services they offer and whether they can provide what you need. Can they offer flexibility and scalability and can their teams provide remote and in-house support?
Use a keyword search via your preferred search engine with your primary business location e.g. IT support Exeter or IT support Bristol, to find recommended IT companies that are local to you.
IT support services are absolutely worth the investment and the benefits they offer your company will bring your future aspirations within reach.