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What Is A Managed Service Provider?

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Managed Service Provider

Managed Service Provider is a strange term. What does it mean and how will it help your business? Well let’s start at the beginning…

OK, so imagine you’re starting a new Pets Online company.  To get your business moving you decide to buy yourself and your employees brand-new laptops to increase the efficiency around the office.  

Suddenly your laptop starts acting up and the keyboard periodically stops working.  What do you do? Do you look for someone for support or do you try to fix it yourself? 

How about we ask a slightly different question.  When you look at the big tech companies around the world who went from the small room (or garage) to the super large offices and a recognised brand, what do you think they did?  That’s right, they didn’t waste time or (more importantly) focus, on fixing small things like a laptop or an email server going down.  

This role is typically done by an IT person but even the largest companies now realise that it is much easier to outsource this role to a MSP (Managed Service Provider).

Let’s talk about the three things that define what exactly an MSP is.  What are the top challenges IT leaders face today and what are the benefits of using an MSP to support your IT. 

So what is an MSP?  Let’s go back to the issue that you were having with your laptop’s keyboard.  How do you go about fixing it, is there someone that you can call, can you email someone for support or can chat live with an agent online?  

If these services sound familiar to you or you have used them in the past, you’ve most likely used services provided by an IT department or an MSP.  Essentially an MSP runs your IT department for you and they provide you with EXPERT QUALIFIED people who process the technology and keep it all running smoothly for you.  A MSP provides you with cost-effective solutions that help you stay within your budget. 

But my laptop isn’t going to break down every day.  Why would I need a MSP all the time.

Good point.  So let’s talk about the top challenges the IT departments face today.  

THE FIRST BIG CHALLENGE – Pace Of IT Change

The first challenge is changing technology. Technology is changing at such a rapid rate and with the advancement of this technology it’s actually changing the way companies are having to operate.  What was the best option last year often is not the best option this year. What your IT guy learned at university was out of date before he even got his degree.  

The change in IT today is so fast that most MSP’s develop methods to monitor the changes and track what are currently the best solutions.  

Where this becomes important is when you are upgrading technologies or introducing new systems.  If you only run a small (or none) IT department, how will they ever get the information they will need to make these types of decisions.  

At Pronet we are constantly in this upgrading game.  With our large group of clients, there are always several of them in the upgrading cycle and so we are always at the forefront of what is needed and what works best.  This also keeps us aware of pricing and whether a deal is a good or a bad one.

THE SECOND BIG CHALLENGE – Work From Home

We are seeing more and more companies adopt a remote and mobile workforce allowing their employees to work from home.  With the Coronavirus this has increased off the chart. What is great about work from home is that there’s a major upside to it.  In fact 66% of managers have claimed that their employees are actually more productive while working from home.  

Now imagine when one of these work from home employees has an issue with their laptop, or the internet won’t connect or their email won’t load or their password stopped working.  How do they fix it if your IT is not prepared to support them in their homes. That will negatively impact the productivity of your employees hence impacting your company’s performance. 

To work from home effectively there needs to be a set of systems put in place.  We monitor all those systems to make sure that you get a smooth integration with the people working from your office.

Work from home definitely has a heap of benefits not the least being the saving of office space which is literal money saved every month.

THE THIRD BIG CHALLENGE – Accessing Data

If you don’t know it yet, we are in the age of data.  Google and Facebook have led the charge to show us what happens if you first collect data, then use technology to farm it.  

Your company will have access to enormous amounts of data and what most people are doing is ignoring it.  They just basically throw it all away.  

What an MSP can do is help you understand what data you have coming in and then most importantly how to collect it, store it and farm it.  All legally of course.

Taking advantage of this level IT is what really separates the allsorans from the winners

SUMMARY

It is unusual for someone to be great at multiple things.  In fact when superstars try to cross into other fields they soon learn that being great at one thing is hard enough.

If you are starting your new Online Pet Store then hopefully you are the best there is on ONline Pet things.  Hopefully you have a new angle of looking at things or a new way of buying or delivery.

What would be unusual is if you were also an expert in all things tech.  IT is changing at a super speed at present and it looks to be getting faster and faster.

Things are moving towards work from home, which also brings with it a set of problems that become magnified quickly if not treated early.

Capturing data and then optimising that data for use is the latest part of IT.  The companies that are doing it are finding themselves at the forefront of the winning players.

Finally, as you achieve what you have always wanted for your company, a solid growth, having a MSP looking after all your tech lets you focus on what you’re best at.

We have the ability to hire experts specifically for each project we are working on.  If your company needs a rare expert to run a system then we are in the position to hire that person and manage them for you.  This again lets you focus on the money side of the business and let us make sure everything turns on and works each time you need it.

Using a MSP saves you money and hassles.  We stop things from going wrong BEFORE they go wrong.  This is probably our biggest compliment we receive each month from different clients.  When we get early warning that a system is at capacity or going to break we can head it off before it breaks.  If we miss the breakage then we are onsite within an hour or so to get everything back to order.

Looking forward to the future.  I hope you get all the systems you want.  If you have any questions, give me a call at Pronet.

Cheers,

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Nick Cheung
Director
Pronet Technology

10 Reasons Why You Need An External IT Department

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An external IT department

Here are 10 reasons why you should be considering an external IT department over a single IT person looking after your companies essential systems and IT.

1. Because Time Really Does Matter

When it comes down to it, downtime on your IT systems will equal a loss of control and possibly money for you.  Research has found that internal IT people often don’t have the necessary experience to be able to contend with every question, let alone, problem they have to deal with on a day to day basis.

This equals downtime, and downtime is going to equal losses for you.

Using an external IT department allows you the flexibility to grow slowly or quickly and know that whatever the problem, someone on their team will know about it.

2. Enhance Overall Security With An External IT Department

Relying on a single tech person to be totally up to date with all that happens in the tech world is going to leave you exposed.  The tech world is changing so quickly, with both new technology and software coming out daily.

When you use an external IT department you have access to the hive mind.  A mastermind group of technicians who all have differing interests in tech.  When they come together in a team the result is multitudes better than what a single person can do.  It is much easier for a team to be up to date with the latest upgrades to both software and hardware.

Secondly, having experts in separate fields help an IT team be across a larger section of the whole industry.  They are dealing with different clients with different problems which often shines light on your problems.

3. Get The Service You Deserve

Our experience with most internal IT departments is that the IT guy or gal becomes friends with everyone.  Although this is a lovely scenario in the workplace, it often does not pan out well for giving you the best service.

An external IT department is always working on being the best.  The whole concept of being external takes away the “friend” element and only leaves the work.  All of an external department’s work is only measured by the data of what they do.  This almost always gives a much better service than an internal IT person.

Ask the questions that get you the right answers.  Are you IT problems addressed within 30 minutes?  Are they normally solved within a few hours? If not, why not? Don’t let friendliness stop your business being efficient.

4. Business Growth Isn’t Possible Without The Best Technology

By using an external IT department you have access to the latest technology.  Since they have to run multiple clients to make their business profitable, they need to use the latest technology to be able to keep costs down and efficiency up.

This of course passes on to you as a client.  Where as a single client could not justify several of the advanced systems needed to protect your company, when you use an external IT department they have all those systems up and running so they can be as efficient as possible.  Since they need to use those those systems on your company to make it manageable, you get the results without incurring the overall cost.

5. Spend Your Valuable Time Working On What Makes You Money

When it’s 3am and you get a call from your tech person that the system is down and they don’t know how long it will be to fix, you won’t be going back to sleep.  The problems with this will multiply for every hour that the system stays down.  Are the back ups ready?  Are they safe?  Will they work?  Where will you be restoring to?  How much data have you lost?  And worst of all, will everything work properly today?

This is not your job.  You job is to stay focused on the things that make your company money.  When you use an external IT department these problems listed above become their problems to solve.  More importantly, to a good external team, it is a challenge and interesting.  They will apply themselves like a sportsman trying to beat their personal best.  To them, there is honour involved.  Their whole business works and relies on them being able to solve these problems without any major disruption to you.

So you get to keep on track.  Continue with the plan you had yesterday, knowing that the team will solve the problems as fast as humanly (and technologically) as possible.

6. Tech Is Changing Faster And Faster

No matter which way you look at it, tech is growing at an almost unfathomable pace. According to Hostingtribunal this is how fast Tech is growing in 2020.

Telling Stats:

  • By 2020, 50 billion smart devices will be collecting, analyzing and sharing data.
  • The web hosting services market is to reach $77.8 billion in 2025.
  • 70% of all tech spending is expected to go for cloud solutions.
  • There are 1.35 million tech startups.
  • Global AI market is expected to reach $89.8 billion.
  • There are 4,383 million internet users.
  • Solar energy adoption has grown with around 50%.

This unprecedented growth is now actually outstripping Moores Law. See this Intel article for a brief explanation about Moore’s law.

And here is the problem. With all this exponential growth, a single tech guy or gal is not physically capable of keeping up. There is just not enough time in the day for them to stay current on the developing tech and how to implement it. So what normally happens is that they fall further and further behind and slowly settle into a bubble of what they know and understand. As time goes by they become less and less relevant to the point that they fall out of the loop and your business is now at risk.

When you contract an external IT department, they will often have a designated employee who monitors full time the changes happening in the real world and how to apply them to all their clients. This system works much more efficiently and allows you the business owner to keep your eye on the things that make you money.

7. Be On The Tech Cutting Edge

Most small to medium companies are way behind on their tech. Almost always when an external IT department comes into a medium business the first order of the day is to update several of the systems. These can range from Data Storage to Security to Communications. Even simple things like using the latest Chat systems can make huge differences to companies that have not been using them before.

Imagine coming to work in the new week and looking around and seeing everything in your office being run on the latest, most efficient systems. What would that do for your bottom line?

In the business world where every 1% adds up, this is a super way to move your company into the future and outstrip your competitors.

8. Get Customised Service

Every company has a different set of needs. They can be a little different or sometimes they are extremely different. Using an external IT department allows you access to the complete set of systems and knowledge available and they will help you shop for exactly what you want and need.

It is similar to going to a Hospital as opposed to a small corner Medical Centre. The Hospital has everything that you could ever need. It has the qualified staff, doctors and nurses, the latest technology, medicines and room to apply everything in perfect systems that always deliver reliable results.

Get the customised solution your business deserves for less money than a single Tech person.

9. Increase Company Efficiency

Let me ask you a question here. Why do you use technology? It is a simple answer isn’t it? Because it makes certain tasks more efficient.

So why would you limit that efficiency? Why would you take a race horse and then put shackles on it, stopping it from running at its full pace?

When you have a single Tech person in house, you run the risk of severely shackeling your companies IT. By using an external IT department you allow all the goodness into your company that comes with technology.

10. Agility defines competitiveness

No business can afford to adjust slowly, or they risk losing their market share to more nimble competitors. With shortened product lifecycles and accelerated digital advances, being able to update methods and technology quickly is crucial to success. Business.com reports that “Technology systems will need to be more lean and flexible to fully take advantage of new opportunities.

This means being able to rapidly develop solutions and infrastructure to explore a problem space, then rapidly ramp up if the opportunity turns out to be significant.” Gone are the days where product testing and development took years instead of months. The swift pace of today’s market requires agility at all levels.

Summary

Technology is changing at an ever increasing rate.

A single person running an IT department can’t physically keep up.

An external IT department is like shopping at a Hospital rather than a Medical Centre.

Better tech makes you more efficient.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop us a line at Pronet.

Have a great day.

Cheers,

Jonathan.

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