5 min read

Managed IT Service Problems

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Sometimes, a managed IT service (MITS) provider isn’t the right choice for your company. We’re in the business of MITS, so it might be a bit strange to see this coming from us, but; if you’re the decision-maker for a SMB, be wary — partnering with a MITS provider might end up causing more problems than those it fixes.

Throughout this blog, we’ll highlight some of the most common problems SMBs face when partnering with a MITS provider, our suggestions on how to mitigate these risks, and even some alternative options to bringing on a MITS provider. Let’s start from the beginning of a relationship with a MITS program:

ON-BOARDING — SET EXPECTATIONS, EXPECT DISRUPTIONS

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: trust is key to any successful relationship. Both you and your MITS provider need to share a bond of trust: this gives you the ability to set expectations.

If expectations are not set, it’s impossible to meet them. The first expectation your MITS provider should set is that there will be disruptions at some point in your daily operations. There are many reasons for these disruptions, but the most common are:

- Setting up firewalls
- Installing software onto individual PCs
- Email client conversions

There are a few actions you can take in order to help mitigate this problem of disruption: plan ahead, let your employees know about the interruptions beforehand, or (if your MITS provider is amicable to this) schedule these disruptions for the weekend, or out-of-office hours — such as lunch time or at the end of the day.

During this on-boarding process, it is of paramount importance to set a timeline — this allows you to set expectations, meet deadlines, and foster a relationship built on accountability. If your MITS provider isn’t giving you a timeline of events, as well as a breakdown of what to expect throughout that timeline of events, that’s a problem.

If your company isn’t giving your MITS provider enough time to complete their on-boarding analyses and tasks, that’s a problem too. That’s why trust is so important with a MITS partnership — you and your service provider must both be held accountable, and trust that you both have each other’s best interests in mind.

EMPLOYEE EDUCATION — IT COSTS YOU NOTHING

Many SMBs are familiar with the old model of paying their service provider per ticket — this is not the case with a managed service provider. You can think of it like this; a service provider is like Blockbuster — you pay for each individual movie you rent. A managed service provider is like Netflix — you pay a monthly fee, and can watch as many movies as there are hours in the day with no affect to your monthly bill.

And because many SMBs are accustomed to being charged for each time they pick up the phone to get help with an IT issue, they’ve formed the habit of creating a single point of contact for that service provider — often, this person being the office manager.

This literal game of telephone can cause issues, however; an employee experiences a problem, fields this to the office manager, who then calls the service provider, who then gives an answer, which is translated from the office manager back to the employee — the person who was experiencing the problem in the first place. It’s then up to the employee to apply this second-hand information to the problem in front of them. And all too often, the solution they’re given isn’t the fix they need.

A managed service provider negates this need of creating one point of contact — you pay the same amount regardless if your office places eighty calls to the Helpdesk in one month, versus just two.

This back-and-forth tech translation can cause many problems — the most potent being loss of productivity. The most important step your company can take to ensure you utilize your MITS provider to their fullest extent is to train your employees on the new services offered to them.

Explain that they can now pick up a phone whenever they need to call their Helpdesk, and not have to worry about being charged for the individual phone call, and bring up any other service your MITS provider might offer.

Also, while you are educating your employees on the new services available to them, your MITS provider should take the time to learn your entire suite of software and hardware, as well as each individual employee’s tech stack. This will help speed up the process of solving issues as (or before) they arise — helping to keep productivity up, and wasted resources down.

PRICE

We’ve gone over this topic in our “What Will a MITS Partnership Cost Me?” blog, but it’s definitely worth mentioning here — for many SMBs, the associated costs of bringing on a MITS provider can quickly become an unsustainable burden. It’s not unreasonable to be quoted $100-$150 per month per user for a fully managed IT contract MITS partnership — and due to this price tag, sticker shock can cause some SMB’s to look for options elsewhere.

This option usually being partially managed IT services — the a la carte option. While this will save your company money during months when there is little need for IT services and solutions, there are an abundance of hidden fees waiting for you during those time periods when you do.

So if a fully managed IT service provider quotes you $6000 a month, and a partially managed IT service provider quotes you $4000 per month, the partially managed option will seem like the avenue to take in regards to cost savings. This, however, is only true during those months where your network and environment worked perfectly — while a partially managed IT service provider may not charge you for each individual ticket, they will have additional fees associated with tasks such as network audits, software upgrades, and security risk assessments.

That $4000 per month could easily see an extra $3000 tacked on for additional tasks. With a fully managed IT service provider, all tasks are included in your original quote.

This isn’t to say that a MITS provider is the best option for a SMB that leans towards the smaller size — the cost can still be majorly prohibitive. But don’t let that cost force your business’ hand into choosing a less effective and more expensive (in the long run) option.

OPTIONS OTHER THAN MITS

Depending on the size of your business, hiring a MITS provider may very well not be worth the investment. If this is your situation, you have three options available to you:

  1. Hire a partially managed IT services provider
  2. Hire a contractual IT service provider
  3. Hire your own network administrator

We’ve already covered the reasons as to why a partially managed service provider will end up costing more than a fully managed IT service provider, so we’ll move on to the next option — contractual IT service providers.

A contractual IT service provider is perfect for a small business that only has use of their services every once in a while. With a contractual IT service provider, you can pay a one time fee for each ticket — so if your IT needs are minimal, this is the best option for you. It’s important to be careful with this option — you can soon find yourself spending a lot more than you expected as your IT solutions grow in scope. As your business grows, it’s important to revisit this option, and weigh the costs against a MITS provider.

Hiring your own network administrator is actually the worst in terms of cost for a SMB — this option will almost always end up costing more than partnering with a MITS provider. This is due to three things: salary, training, and time spent on solutions. A single network administrator will cost your company more outright than a MITS partnership, your network administrator will need continual training in order to stay up to date on all the latest IT solutions, and a single person will always take more time to find those solutions than compared to an entire team.

DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU

We hope this blog has brought to your attention the problems a MITS partnership can cause for your SMB. While a MITS provider can bring a lot of value to any organization, it’s not without its own associated costs and roadblocks. Before beginning any MITS partnership, make sure to set clear expectations, create a concise timeline, and most importantly — ask questions.

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