How would you feel if you knew, without question, that you’d have to spend tens of thousands of pounds on IT systems, software and support before your startup really took off?
If the answer is ‘demoralised’, ‘frustrated’ or similar – you’re not alone.
Until recently, this was the stark reality for a great number of new businesses. If you want to grow in this modern digital world, you had to have the systems – and, if you had the systems, you had to have the staff on your payroll to support them.
Fortunately, this idea has been blown out of the water by an increasing number of Managed IT Service Providers. In essence, working with a managed service provider (MSP) is very much like working with an in-house team – except they’re at the end of the phone – rather than the end of your office space.
There’s never been a better time to launch a startup and find people who specialise in supporting your efforts. Here, we’ll look at how working with an MSP looks – and the distinct ways that outsourcing your IT will help you boost your startup growth…
Let’s Talk Money
There’s no getting around it, working with an MSP is substantially cheaper than having an in-house time – but why?
Well, there’s a variety of reasons – but the biggest one relates to the cost of finding and keeping an in-house team.
Start by thinking about recruiting the right people. Although you’ll have no problem attracting applications, there’s been a significant time investment to even bring your first resume or CV in – let alone repeat the recruitment process 5, 10 or 20 times, until you’ve found the right person. In fact, it’s estimated that going from the initial thought stages of recruitment – to your new person’s start date is likely to cost you between £10k-£30k…
That might seem excessive – but when you start factoring in director time, missed sales/relationship opportunities, advertising, HR tasks – etc. It starts to look like a hefty investment. Of course, it’s unlikely that your chosen person will be able to sit down at their desk and immediately find their feet with your systems and workplace too – so there’s not only recruitment to consider…
Training and Development
With an IT team, there’s an enormous amount of time that needs to be invested to make sure they’re at the required standard to maintain your systems. That will often mean Microsoft Accreditation, Cisco certifications, and so forth.
What’s more – that training doesn’t happen magically – so, while your IT support is away getting the relevant certificates – your IT is sadly lacking the support it needs!
It’s not just training that takes your staff members away from their computers and servers – there’s a host of non-work-related issues that can crop up – such as sickness, maternity/paternity, vacations – and even resignations.
These things have to happen of course – it’s an employee’s right to work around their life to some degree – but, from an entirely mercenary point of view – they’re all things that are either going to grind your IT to a halt – or leave it exposed.
What About an MSP?
So, can an MSP magically do away with all of these issues?
Well, to some degree they can. Part of the joy that comes with outsourcing your IT is tied into the passing of responsibility to someone else. Do you want to worry about staff attendance, sickness, training, people getting new jobs or trying to book people onto the right training courses? Probably not – and with an MSP, you won’t have to.
See, when you work with an MSP that’s backed up by an experienced team, you’ll sit down together an create a working agreement between both companies. Generally, this is referred to as an SLA – or ‘Service Level Agreement’. This SLA outlines what service you’ll get from the MSP – and, in return, what you’ll give – usually a monthly payment.
When this contract is signed, you don’t have to worry about how the support end is fulfilled – you’ll just have to make sure you pay your monthly retainer. Staffing issues? Training requirements? You won’t even have to think about these or any other logistical issues – instead, you can focus your efforts on your own business, happy in the knowledge that IT is looked after.
How Much Does an MSP Cost?
When a service promises to make your business life so much easier, it’s natural to assume it’s a luxury that’s going to come with an enormous price-tag – after all, isn’t all convenience costly?
The answer – you’ll be delighted to hear – is a very definite ‘no’. In fact, the monthly cost of keeping an MSP (even with a deeply involved SLA) is often just a fraction of the cost that an in-house team would represent. Your exact requirement level will vary of course – but in that same regard, so would your requirement from an in-house team.
Constant Access to Best Practice
Being able to channel an increased amount of money into developing and growing your business is one fantastic side-effect of bringing a managed service provider on board – but it’s not the only one.
Growth often requires an ‘outside the box’ set of eyes or thinking processes to work – and there’s an argument that says you’re far more likely to get this from an MSP than you are from an in-house team – especially an established one.
At any one time, an MSP is likely to be working with a host of different clients. Different clients require different systems, strategies, products, software – and so on. If you’re part of an in-house team, you’re likely to be working with the same systems day-in, day-out.
Familiarity isn’t a bad thing – but if you want a dynamic team that has a huge catalogue of best-practice knowledge to fall back on – having an MSP onboard that’s got a constantly updating knowledge of best practice within your industry could be worth its weight in gold if you’re looking for the best way to drive your business forward…