6 Ways to leverage managed IT services

     

Managed IT services offer a plethora of benefits to drive business growth. As digitaldescribe the image demands rise, companies large and small increasingly find themselves with rapidly escalating IT demands. If the company elects to tackle its IT challenges in house, something will have to give. This could mean slowing down overall productivity while the company implements new operations practices and acclimates new staff. Companies may try to expand  on the fly to avoid a slowdown, but this can lead to a variety of short- and long-term productivity and financial complications. If an organization decides not to upgrade at all, it risks sacrificing its competitive advantage.

With managed IT services, companies can get the best of both worlds. With a single investment they can acquire the hardware and application infrastructure capable of supporting their ballooning environment, as well as an IT staff that knows how to manage it extremely effectively. Not only do managed IT services pay for themselves quickly, companies can invest the energy and resources that would have otherwise been devoted to years-long expansion strategies to initiatives that have a more direct impact on the bottom line.  

Beyond the benefits of having a knowledgeable staff manage technology for you, here are six ways managed IT services can be leveraged to improve—and protect--various aspects of your business.

  1. Adopt a cloud: Cloud services often go hand in hand with managed IT. As a comprehensive, scalable framework for storage and management, the cloud can amplify the benefits of outsourced IT support. According to the Aberdeen Group, many companies, particularly those classified as midsize organizations, struggle with heightened IT demands. More than 60 percent are able to reduce their operational budgets by using the cloud and more than 50 percent are able to reduce storage, power and management-related costs in the cloud. Paring down infrastructure enables them to better respond to spikes in demand, creating a long-lasting driver of ROI growth.
  2. Develop robust disaster recovery plans: So much depends on a company's ability to revive its critical IT systems and have a contingency plan ready in case of an unexpected outage, but many organizations simply aren't adequately prepared. Those with thin margins or in the middle of a massive expansion phase are particular candidates for having an insufficient continuity plan in their time of need. Managed IT services can help take the weight off. Outsourced data center facilities usually have better redundancy and failover mechanisms that keep infrastructure available, as well as service-level agreements that penalize them if they fail to meet their advertised capacity. Additionally, hosted IT providers will update, patch and backup systems as they upgrade, so the organization isn't at risk if something goes awry.
  3. Really manage the supply chain: Decentralized supply chain management exists in nearly every organization to some extent. This may slow the development of new business opportunities, particularly in the high speed digital arena. However, deploying software tools and increasing management acumen can be a long and wearying process. Managed IT services can support companies in their effort to develop more holistic operational oversight, particularly in the installation and upgrade of high performance management software and the secure monitoring of network connections.
  4. Meet compliance and regulatory standards: As more high profile data breaches and cybercrime make headlines, industry and federal leaders look toward the creation and enforcement of more stringent information security and compliance standards, according to MSPmentor. Companies could be at risk because of an error or breach anywhere in their supply chain. Paying a dedicated amount each month to managed IT services for compliant archival, storage and data transfers can stand to save a company millions, by avoiding the hammer of non-compliance or getting victimized by a data breach.
  5. Gain 24/7 security in all forms: Unique security risks continue to escalate, with networks and endpoints adding virtual vulnerabilities and physical infrastructure growth adding physical ones. The rise of technological developments such as the Internet of Things further blur the distinction between the physical and the virtual, but if a company uses legacy security methods in the face of new challenges, this innovation could come at a price. Managed IT services, hardware and data centers provide safeguards and support critical to eliminating the kinds of zero day attacks that can fell entire enterprise networks and supply chains.

Invest in new technology: Without innovation, a company isn't likely to go far. It needs to be able to throw adequate support and resources behind exciting experimentation and cutting-edge technological investments. A company weighed down by the costs of a bloated in-house IT department may miss out on the growth that innovation investment provides. Managed IT services help businesses keep costs down, and they can save that money for a rainy day. Or even today. 

If you liked this article, check out some more from Lightwell:

4 ways to make supply chain management more efficient

CFOs: Get involved in supply chain management

The top pressures impacting supply chain management in 2014

Learn more about how mangaged services can fit into tomorrow's supply chain: