June 26, 2023
Before partnering with an outside organization for outsourced IT services, it’s normal to have a few questions. Outsourced IT — also called managed IT — has come quite a long way in the past 10–15 years, in no small part because systems can now be managed and monitored remotely, which speeds up response times and helps providers do much more for their clients.
Still, no two providers are exactly the same, and while it’s easy to find statistics that illustrate how much business owners can save by outsourcing their IT needs, I thought it would be just as helpful to summarize the questions clients frequently ask me, along with my responses.
What Is Outsourced IT?
When companies outsource IT, they’re handing off many of the day-to-day IT responsibilities within their organization to an outside provider. This allows daily tasks to be completed more efficiently and frees up employee time that would otherwise be wrapped up in handling IT-related issues or waiting for something to be fixed.
What Are Some Challenges Outsourced IT Helps Businesses Overcome?
Managed IT offers a number of benefits for businesses. But the most common reasons my clients are exploring outsourced IT these days include the following:
- Responding to increased cybersecurity threats
- Reducing disruptions and workplace frustration
- Leveling the playing field by gaining enterprise-level skills and resources for less
- Relieving overwhelmed and understaffed internal IT teams
- Complex IT projects, like cloud migrations
- Accommodating remote and hybrid work
- Overcoming the persistent tech talent shortage
What Will My Internal IT Staff Do if I Outsource?
Outsourcing IT doesn’t necessarily mean replacing internal IT departments. If your internal IT staff is too bogged down to effectively manage patches and updates, they’re also probably too busy to recommend technology upgrades that can help you grow. A managed IT provider can remove the tasks that are more of a burden, like cybersecurity or help desk support, so your team can be even more of an asset.
In fact, that’s exactly how many enterprise-level organizations use an IT provider — so that their current IT resources can help them focus on strategic initiatives that’ll help the organization grow.
If you’re curious about where your IT staff’s time is going, have them take this simple quiz and show you the results.
Do I Need to Keep Internal IT Staff?
It’s up to you! There are a few pros and cons you should consider if you’re thinking of outsourcing completely versus using only internal IT staff. For example, these folks already know your business inside and out, and that can be helpful if they have the time to help you prioritize upgrades, give you clarity into your devices and their lifespans, and make it easier for you to think ahead. But that’s a big if for most SMBs.
That’s why at Marco, we’re flexible in our approach to managed IT services. You can get the best of both worlds if you like, and make the most of your staff’s unique knowledge and skills. You can use us for all or just some of your IT needs.
Is My Business Too Small for Managed IT?
I still hear this question quite a bit! But I can’t think of a much better use case for managed IT than a small to midsize business. You can often access the same tools and resources that the big guys get, while typically paying a whole lot less.
Of course, that depends on the provider. At Marco, we price per user, which is why it’s such a home run for smaller organizations. Before you sign anything with a provider, you should understand how their pricing model works, and if you might get a much better deal somewhere else.
Pro tip: Some IT providers appear cheaper on paper, but will charge you a steep fee if and when something goes wrong. That could mean they’re less incentivized to prevent disruptions, and therefore, they might not take a proactive approach to your IT needs.
How Does Outsourcing IT Support Save Me Money?
Here’s a big one. According to a study by CompTIA:
- 46% of managed IT service users cut their annual IT costs by 25% or more.
- 50% of managed IT service users have cut their annual IT costs between 1% – 24%.
It sounds counterintuitive that adding a service can save a business money, let alone that much. But one big reason for this is large managed IT providers like Marco get special discounts on things like software subscriptions, so they can pass the savings on to their clients. And because a managed IT provider can now manage and monitor your system remotely, it’s much more cost-effective for us to provide the basics, so we can help our clients accomplish more in less time.
At Marco, we also offer our Stax Program, so clients can save more with bundled services.
How Do I Find a Good Provider?
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to make this decision relatively easy.
Step 1: Ask Them the Right Questions
Ask them if they have a SOC II report for their managed IT offerings. That basically means an independent auditor has verified that they’re following best practices consistently.
Are you looking for a provider to offer best-in-class support? Then you might also inquire about their certifications and strategic partnerships. Microsoft, Cisco, and a great many manufacturers and software developers offer certifications and more to indicate how qualified their technicians really are.
Step 2: Pay Attention to What They Ask You
Think of a provider as a strategic business partner. Are they curious about your business and its goals? Do they ask questions about how you work, or are they just telling you what they do? Are they able to offer you custom recommendations to help you do what you do, only better? These are good signs that you’ve found a great provider.
Step 3: Read Their Service Level Agreement
In their Service Level Agreement (SLA), it should clearly indicate who’s responsible for what, and what you can expect from a provider. If you see something you don’t like, have a conversation about it. Most SLAs are negotiable, and the time to do it is before you sign!
Step 4: Understand How a Provider Works
Every provider is a bit different, and it’s important to get a feel for how they’ll partner with you. At Marco, we lead with data and analytics, and we provide our solution with a consultative approach. This means that we’re focused on delivering the IT experience that meets your needs and helps you achieve your business goals.
Plus, every six months, you have the opportunity to review your solution with your technology advisor. During this time, all metrics, reports, tickets, and analytics are reviewed, and it’s a great time to have an open and honest discussion about how the service is or isn’t meeting the needs of your organization. You’ll always have a clear picture of how your outsourced IT model is impacting your business.
If you’re interested in what we might do for your business, but you’re not ready to make a commitment, one way to dip your toe in the water is with a Marco Technology Assessment. We start with a thorough investigation of what’s working well and not so well for your business, present our findings, and outline our recommendations for the next five years on what you should upgrade ASAP and what can wait a year or two.
If you’d prefer an old-school approach to IT, where you only see a technician when something breaks — that’s not us!
But if you’d rather have your technology just work as it should, you’d like more information about what’s worked well at other businesses like yours, and you’d like the peace of mind that comes from world-class cybersecurity expertise, that’s where we shine. Better yet, you don’t have to take our word for it: our strategic partnerships and certifications, as well as our SOC II report, are all there, in black and white.
And particularly if you're a small to midsize business, you could get all of this for less than you might think. Click below to get a quick quote.