How outsourcing IT services frees up time for innovation and growth in SMEs
IT is essential for every business, big or small. However, being able to manage IT effectively, and making sure it supports your plans for business growth, depends on your size. For SMEs with limited or no full-time IT staff, IT management is a difficult balancing act. Enthusiastic and committed staff often step in to fill the gap, but routine system maintenance eats into time that could be spent developing the business. If something goes wrong, they have to drop whatever they are working on and get it fixed urgently because if your IT isn’t working, your staff can’t work, orders can’t be processed and customer service suffers.
Just coping with the IT systems you currently have can leave little time to think about how to use IT to grow your business and get ahead of your competitors.
It’s not surprising then that 71% of SMBs surveyed in 2015 were looking to outsource the management of their IT infrastructure, up from just 12% in 2011. Outsourcing IT services means that you hand over specific IT monitoring and management functions to a Managed Service Provider or MSP.
Here are five ways that outsourcing IT services can help you save time and money:
1) Reduce downtime with faster response times
The longer your systems are unavailable, the greater the risk to your business of lost productivity or reputation. Outsourcing IT services will give you instant access to a fully-staffed IT helpdesk to resolve issues faster. There’s no need to wait for the right person to finish a meeting or get back from annual leave. With access to appropriate skills and experience, MSPs can identify root causes quicker, and service level agreements will ensure problems are resolved within agreed timescales.
2) Improve IT for business efficiency
As your business develops and grows, there is more IT to look after and the relationships between all the different elements become increasingly complex. Managed Service Providers can suggest enhancements to IT infrastructure that will make systems run faster or set them up for maximum efficiency.
3) Protect your business from cyber attack
Two-thirds of SMEs have suffered from a cyber attack over the last two years, the most common being phishing emails (49%), spear phishing emails (37%), and malware attacks (29%). The damage costs SMEs disproportionately more than big businesses when the figures are adjusted for organisational size. MSPs can help advise on policies and procedures to prepare for attacks, as well as implement security systems to protect your business.
4) Free up time to focus on core business activities
Even SMEs have a range of devices, servers and software solutions to manage. Keeping up with all backups, security patches and upgrades is time-consuming, especially if you only have limited knowledge. This impacts the time available to work on business priorities or innovate to meet the needs of your customers. By outsourcing routine IT maintenance, you’ll get back all that time to focus on what your business needs most.
5) Use IT as a strategic asset
Outsourcing IT services means that you can move from a reactive approach to IT to a more strategic one that identifies how you can reduce costs and respond faster to business change. With the right advice and expertise to hand, you’ll be able to identify what technology to introduce, and crucially when, to help you achieve your business goals.
SMEs that have embraced digital technology show faster growth than companies that have not, according to new research and 39% of respondents said "active participation in the digital economy will be essential to their company’s survival over the next three to five years". For a fixed monthly fee, managed service providers can act as an outsourced IT departments with the full complement of skills, qualifications and experience required to help SMEs make the most of their IT and develop it to meet their future needs.
- IT is essential for every business but SMEs face particular challenges when it comes to keeping up with the pace of technology change.
- Don't underestimate how much time your staff are spending on IT maintenance and resolving issues. This takes valuable focus away from core business activities.
- No business can afford downtime. Outsourcing IT services means you'll get IT systems back up and running faster to minimise any risks to your business.
- Protect your business-critical systems and make sure they're working as efficiently as possible. With the right expertise, you'll reduce the risks to your IT systems and customer data.
- Outsourcing IT services frees up time to for innovation to meet your customer needs. An effective IT partner will support you by delivering the technology for you.