The ever-growing volume of data, technological advancements, work-from-anywhere culture, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic have made it more challenging than ever to run a business. These aspects have enhanced the complexity of business operations so much that managing everything under a single umbrella becomes highly tedious and resource-intensive. This is where managed service providers (MSPs) step in as they handle one or more of the company’s operations to ease this pressure off the company and, at the same time, improve efficiency and accountability.
So, let’s take a detailed look at what these MSPs offer and how it can benefit your business.
What is a managed service provider?
Managed service providers provide many services for businesses, ranging from security to hiring and everything in between. Some of the services offered by MSPs include:
- Payroll management
- Human resources management
- Finding the right candidates
- Systems operations
- Network monitoring
- Vendor management
- Procurement and sourcing
- IT services
- Cloud computing, mobility, and IoT
- Predictive analysis
- Disaster management, recovery, and more
The above list is sure to give you an idea of what an MSP offers. Essentially, any task that is time-consuming or resource-centric for you can be outsourced to the right MSP, and they can handle it for you.
Business benefits from managed service providers
Now comes the pertinent question of this article. Why should you outsource to an MSP, and what will your business gain from it?
Handling business complexity
For starters, it merits to know that the growing complexity of business operations makes it difficult for an organization to handle every aspect of running a business by itself. This is all the more true in large businesses that have different divisions spread across many geographies.
A managed service provider can handle one or more aspects, especially the supporting areas, so that the business can focus on its core competencies.
On the face of it, hiring an MSP can look like a drain on your resources. After all, the conventional theory states that doing anything in-house is always cheaper and more efficient than outsourcing it to a third-party company.
Well, think again!
Setting up an IT infrastructure and maintaining it can be extremely expensive, especially if you are a small business with limited resources. Further, you may have to keep investing in upgrading these systems to meet your business's needs, which will quickly add up the costs.
In this sense, you are building tools and expertise that are not the core function of your business, and all this expertise may become obsolete in a few years when technology changes. So, it is essentially a waste of investment.
On the other hand, when you outsource to an MSP, you simply pay the monthly or yearly fees, and the provider takes care of the rest for you. When it is time to upgrade systems to meet your growing business needs, it is up to the provider to make the necessary investments and hire the right people.
Above everything, you pay only for what you use. This is a critical cost-saving factor. For example, you have a storage space of 100TB but use only 10TB, you have wasted money for the unused 90TB. But with a managed service provider, you only pay for the 10TB you use.
When you calculate all these costs, you will eventually save more by outsourcing to an MSP rather than handling everything in-house.
Another key advantage of outsourcing to an MSP is disaster management. If you have an on-premises system, even the smallest of issues can impede everyday activities, not to mention the constant risk of losing data. At the same time, managing this infrastructure, especially during natural and manmade disasters, is another problem that can consume the company’s resources.
This is probably why 77 percent of MSPs provide data backup and disaster management services, according to a study by BSMInfo.
Also, there will be little to no loss to your operations as MSPs have everything in place to protect your data and systems. This can be a huge relief as a study by Infrarail shows that one hour of downtime can cost up to $700,000 for large businesses.
Further, MSPs can set you up quickly in disasters like COVID-19 and can even help employees get used to online collaboration tools.
One of the most resource-intensive and recurring tasks for any organization is payroll management as you have to make the right calculations, ensure compliance, deduct taxes, and with all this, pay employees on time. When you add the contingent workforce/contractors, it can quickly become overwhelming.
Since it is such a complex and mundane job, many companies prefer to outsource it to MSPs who have the right employees, systems, and processes to manage payroll.
An important advantage to expect from managed service providers is proactive support for all issues and performance drops in your organization. They have the right systems and employees to monitor your system 24/7, so they can notice even the smallest alert and can make the necessary changes or inform your technical team.
Such proactive support greatly protects your organization’s network, systems, and operations and ensures little to no downtime.
Scalability is essential but comes with a big price tag.
Essentially, you want your infrastructure to scale up as you expand in some markets and scale down as you pull out of some markets. But that’s not easy to implement when you have an in-house infrastructure simply because it is inflexible.
Imagine your business grows greatly around the holiday season, and that’s when you want more powerful IT systems and storage space. But then, your business shrinks in late winter/early spring, and you don’t want to spend so much money maintaining the expensive infrastructure you built for the busy season.
The best way to handle these variations is to partner with an MSP simply because you pay for what you use and don’t have to bother about any more investments. As for the MSP, it invests in systems that are utilized by its other clients when you don’t need it. A win-win situation for everyone!
So far, we have seen the benefits of MSPs, and before we conclude, it’s equally important you understand the downsides or risks that come with hiring these companies.
Drawbacks of managed service providers
Some of the notable drawbacks of MSPs are:
Most times, the MSPs may not be in the same physical location as that of your organization. This means they have to fix everything remotely, which may not always give you what you want.
However, some MSPs give the option of having people on-site, though this may entail additional cost.
Lack of control
You can control only the services offered by the MSP to your company and not have a say in the overall operations of the MSP itself. This means you have no control over how and where they hire their workers, the background checking process, quality of infrastructure, or any other aspect unless it impacts you directly.
Scope of work
If you’ve encountered a problem that’s not within the scope of the agreement signed with the MSP, you can’t get help. This is one of the big limiting factors with MSPs.
Managed service providers: A good choice for many businesses
Managed service providers take a lot of stress and effort from you, so you can focus on the core aspects of your organization’s work. Since they are specialized to handle a specific part of operations such as payroll management, disaster recovery, or network security, they tend to be highly efficient as well. In turn, this improved efficiency and operations are sure to save a ton of time, effort, and money for you.
So, both from an efficiency and cost perspective, MSPs are a good choice. And given this current work-from-anywhere culture, it makes sense to leverage what these companies can offer as they have the infrastructure in place to support your organization’s operations.
What’s your take on the benefits of MSPs?
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