ZAG has been talking about the need for organizations to move past the simple MSP IT support model for years. Why? Technology advances provide greater opportunities but require more planning and proper design to ensure proper business value and impact.
It’s long overdue for organizations to venture “beyond” simple MSP IT.
While traditional managed IT service providers play a role to proactively prevent unexpected incidents and assist people with service issues, they are stuck maintaining the status quo of fixed costs and fixed value. Yes, it's important to ensure systems have the latest software patch updates, antivirus is installed, and employees’ technical questions are answered. But if organizations only deliver on that basic IT “preventative maintenance”, there is so much missing.
Managed IT service agreements usually focus on prevention and response.
· Prevention through network monitoring and system maintenance
· Response through help desk and onsite support.
Keeping the lights on is important, but business requirements today demand a higher-level perspective about understanding the impact and value of enabling your business to achieve more.
Any business today is an IT organization at the core. When IT systems are unavailable for any length of time the hit to the company’s bottom line is dramatic. Adopting a traditional MSP IT model limits the value of technology as a catalyst for exponential progress. IT has become a critical business unit, securing client and employee data, while enabling the company to compete in new and innovative ways. To accomplish this, a different, innovative approach is required, beyond just a managed IT service plan.
An IT Strategy Assessment and Roadmap provides that new perspective.
One focused on measureable outcomes that deliver significant business impact and value. When you are investigating the need for an IT MSP, look for a team that has a reputation as an IT business partner to help you increase margins, ensure quality, gain insight, and mitigate increased risks.
How does IT increase margins?
Think Starbucks mobile orders. Without hiring more staff or expanding store sizes, Starbucks sold more product more quickly every day because they enabled customers to place orders before walking in the door. In the same way, IT can increase margins in your business by helping you discover ways to reduce costs through automating best practice processes, such as creating workflows to accelerate new hire onboarding, new client credit applications, and so much more.
How does IT ensure quality?
Sensors can automate the separation of lettuce from dirt, on a conveyor belt in the field, or a packaging facility. Automated alerts can notify department managers when service calls are left idle too long or product orders are delayed. Quality assurance is a system of checks and balances, based on monitoring a series of critical variables against standard values or acceptable ranges. Manual spot checks miss negative trends until an audit is performed. Automated monitoring and alerting catches issues before they affect the business for any length of time. IT can be leveraged to automate the collection, analysis, and reporting of any and all variables that affect quality.
How does IT enable greater insight?
Data is everywhere, it consumes our time and teases us with the perception of greater understanding. But most people struggle to manage information overload and some organizations end up hiring extra administrative staff to collect and report on the information they need, because the systems they have are not designed for integration and analysis. An IT business partner recognizes this and realizes there is a better way. Instead of spending hours collecting multiple spreadsheets and other reports for executives to spend extra time analyzing, organizations should now expect “executive dashboards” for every department, and for the senior executives to gain insight for better business planning.
How does IT mitigate increased risks?
Cyber Security breaches affect more than 50% of all organizations, because most companies and managed IT service providers struggle to even ensure the “basics” are in place. Most managed IT service providers struggle to add value to an existing fixed-fee MSP IT support agreement since they see IT as a cost center. An IT business partner understands that mitigating risks requires taking more ownership and responsibility. Examples include training employees, monitoring company domains, and filtering web browsing activity. Going beyond simple MSP IT, with security-focused solutions and services such as Security Awareness training, Dark Web monitoring, and Cisco Umbrella web filtering protection.
Without a comprehensive IT strategy that integrates all these operational requirements with IT security infrastructure and policies, these outcomes would never even be considered, let alone measured.
Beyond Managed Service Contracts. Real impact and value.
Does your Managed IT Service Provider actually understand your business and work every day as a business partner to enable you to achieve the outcomes that really matter?
Many organizations are stuck in automatically renewing tethered MSP contracts with evergreen clauses, because the terms are buried in the fine print. A business partner using a value-based approach doesn’t handcuff clients at all. Instead, they earn your trust every day, and give you the ability to change your mind easily. No long-term MSP contracts that chain you for years, even when your business needs change. No automatic annual renewals. Just pure value, earned on a daily basis.
IT should be more than a cost center for you. IT should be your unfair advantage, enabling you to compete.