Written by Rene Mallari
Suppose your in-house information technology (IT) team is overburdened and finding it difficult to complete tasks. In that case, you might want to look into managed IT services.
Many businesses use this type of IT support outsourcing to achieve their goals of higher productivity, efficiency, and revenue.
This article discusses managed IT services—their types, how they differ from in-house technical support, and costs.
Read on to also get valuable tips on partnering with talented IT experts.
What Companies Get From Managed IT Services
In managed IT services, an outsourced IT provider offers companies technical assistance.
But what is an outsourced IT provider? It is a third-party vendor, such as a business process outsourcing (BPO) company, that focuses on technical support processes. An outsourced IT service provider can work offshore, nearshore, onshore, or in some combination of the three.
The provider’s managed IT services can include the following:
- Help desk. The provider addresses technical issues, from safeguarding computer systems and troubleshooting to installing programs and repairing hardware malfunctions.
- Security operations. The managed service provider integrates your in-house information security measures with its IT operations to decrease cyber intrusions. The service protects your systems from hackers and helps you comply with government laws and industry regulations. The outsourcing provider delivers this service in the security operations center.
- Client business. The provider meets with you and your team to discuss the objectives, processes, and support involved in the outsourcing engagement. You choose whether to hold periodic meetings virtually or in person. Such meetings aim to foster understanding and strengthen the service partnership.
- Remote network. The vendor accesses your IT systems from another location using wide area networks (WANs), local area networks (LANs), or virtual private networks (VPNs). Through this connection, it examines and fixes defective resources. These resources include physical devices (servers, desktops, laptops), applications, and files.
- Network operations. The outsourcing partner handles, tracks, and addresses alerts on your network’s performance and availability. It runs one or more network operations (or management) centers to accomplish its activities.
- On-site escalation support. The vendor sends skilled and experienced contractors to your physical office to replace or support employees who lack the knowledge or authorization to address specific IT issues.
Managed IT services are back-office outsourcing processes that improve business efficiency and productivity. By maximizing the use of digital technologies within the company, managed IT services help increase competitiveness and satisfy customers.
Managed IT Services vs. In-house Technical Support
In-house and outsourced IT support differ in three ways: cost, control, and recruitment. Let us break them down.
- In-house: You shoulder salary, benefits, taxes, and other operating costs while running a full-time IT department. Depending on the company’s size, your technical support team can have five or 100 employees comprising IT managers, technical supervisors, network administrators, systems engineers, and technical assistants.
- Managed IT services: The BPO provider scales your staffing per your requirements or business condition. So your costs might vary per month. In addition, this team is not part of your payroll and already has workspace and equipment. As a result, you pay for the services provided by the BPO company and nothing else.
- In-house: You directly manage and monitor the technical support team. Collaboration is immediate because employees are at the same location. When a problem arises, you can go to the IT office and investigate immediately. When there is a required training or meeting, you can assemble the IT team in no time.
- Managed IT services: Service providers take charge of most processes, from tracking employee performance and staff training to standard implementation and policy enforcement.
- In-house: Hiring technical talent is hard these days. You must review the candidates’ dependability, skills, and industry knowledge. Without a solid technical background, assessing their qualifications is challenging.
- Managed IT services: When you outsource managed IT services, you no longer have to post job openings or interview, test, hire, onboard, and train new employees. The outsourcing company provides you with technical personnel who have completed its tried-and-tested recruitment procedures.
Costs Involved When Hiring a Managed IT Service Provider
When you outsource tech solutions or other back-end tasks, your operating costs go down in the long run. You will also benefit from high-quality service that enhances efficiency and productivity.
BPO providers have different prices for their services. Their rates depend on factors such as:
- Location. BPO companies have offshore, nearshore, or onshore operations. Many offshore providers offer better rates due to lower labor costs.
- Reputation. Established companies charge more than competitors due to their broad experience and proven expertise.
- Workload. The volume of tasks affects fees. The greater the workload, the more expensive the rates.
Examine the types of fees that service providers charge:
- Ad hoc costs. The BPO firm charges you per project or service. The fees are not continuous. You contact the firm only when you urgently require support and pay afterward.
- Transaction-based. The service provider bills you based on the number of transactions in a particular period.
- Cost-plus. The third-party vendor sets fixed rates regardless of the work volume or time frame.
- Maintenance expense. The BPO provider regularly charges you for network or system support and care. Prices are either fixed or flexible, depending on your agreement.
- One-off expense. The third-party provider invoices you only once, but this one-time cost is hefty. You typically make this arrangement for a primary project such as organization-wide IT infrastructure deployment.
- A per-device flat cost. The service provider’s fees depend on the number of devices used or serviced.
- Per-user flat expenses. The BPO company bills an amount determined by the number of users it services at a given time.
When To Use Managed IT Services
Here are some indications that it is time to go into IT support outsourcing.
- Failing customer experience. Consumers are leaving your brand because your in-house team struggles. The last thing you want is to have customers switch to competitors after a poor experience with you. A BPO provider specializes in consistently delivering excellent customer experience.
- Tapping into new markets as your next growth plan. When setting up offices abroad, outsourcing data entry services and back-office activities is better than building new in-house departments. Outsourcing reduces language barrier issues and operating costs.
- Struggling to find the right talent. Stiff competition in the job market makes it difficult to find the right people. Recruitment is a tedious, lengthy, and costly process. For one, you must match or exceed the salary offers of your competitors to acquire the best talent. Without a proper workforce, achieving your desired goals is a challenge.
- Overwhelming customer calls. Your communication channels are constantly swamped with calls. Keeping pace with increasing call volumes is demanding when you have a short-staffed IT team. Adding to this difficulty is a team that lacks the knowledge and experience to address customer concerns.
- Preparing for a holiday or major business event. Holidays, including Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and Christmas, are revenue boosters, and so are sales events such as Black Friday. High transactions translate to more consumer inquiries, issues, and support requests.
Find the Right Managed IT Service Provider
Consider the following ideal qualities to help pick a BPO partner.
- Industry-specific knowledge. Hire a service provider with extensive experience in your niche market. It must have a broad knowledge of your sector to provide more suitable solutions and better services. Ensure that it monitors outsourced IT trends so that you can keep up with or outpace the market standard.
- Multiple technical credentials. Choose a third-party vendor with certifications or accreditations from government agencies, trade groups, and reputable organizations. Microsoft IT Support, ITIL Foundation, and HDI Customer Service Representative are some examples.
- Similar scale. Look for a prospective partner with personnel and revenue sizes similar to yours. If you are a new business, work with a small or medium-sized service partner to ensure your needs are taken care of first. If you are a big market player, ally with a large-scale BPO company able to meet your demand.
- Above-average track record. Your potential partner must have at least one known regular client, indicating capability and reliability. Verify its credentials by checking online impartial reviews about its services and reputation.
- Diverse technical services. Search for a BPO partner with expertise in a variety of technical support services. A well-rounded provider not only accomplishes common tasks such as installing and troubleshooting, but it can also handle complex cybersecurity and network deployment.
The Bottom Line
Managed IT service providers, such as companies offering back-office outsourcing services, offer more advantages than possible risks to your business. By following the suggestions above, you can make the most of working with a BPO provider.
Looking for a BPO provider that can help meet your business needs will take effort, time, and money. You must exercise patience and diligence. Meanwhile, conduct thorough research before making an outsourcing decision.
You can use this material to supplement decision-making. BPO companies, such as Unity Communications, can assist you with everything you need to move further.