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When companies start advertising managed IT and data services, they tend to trot out all the same claims: Lower costs! Speed up your business! Find peace of mind! Those are some nice generalities, but they don’t really tell you much about the specific ways your company could benefit from outsourcing data services to an expert. We want to dig deeper into the advantages you may not know about – particularly, the benefits for smaller companies that are ready to start growing or make significant operation decisions. Beyond the fluffy promises, here’s what you can really get help with.
It’s easy to assume that only larger corporations have enough resources to outsource data services to other firms, and several years ago when the industry was much younger, this may have been true. Today, however, more reliable services offer some of the greatest benefits to start-ups and young companies – businesses that are ready to rapidly expand output as needed but need to be very careful about where they place their resources. Managed services provide a way to deftly control costs through transparent fee structures while focusing in-house talent and resources on what matters most to the company. Start-ups risk a lot when spreading themselves too thin through expansion: Outsourcing the right data services (payroll, IT, etc.) can help lower these risks.
The key word here is necessary: Many industries have compliance standards that even small businesses must meet when storing and sharing sensitive data. Fail to meet these requirements, and hefty fines can quickly shut down a growing organization. Even if regulations don’t come with these imposing costs, a data attack (costing an average of around $4 million) and the resulting loss of business is typically enough to permanently shutter any small company. Outsourcing security to experts who know what needs to be done and how services must be secured can remove this problem for organizations that may not know exactly what is necessary. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you aren’t at risk: Hackers are increasingly targeting small and mid-sized companies, expecting that they will have inadequate security. Don’t prove them right.
Compliance isn’t just about security, it’s also about the most recent tax regulations. This isn’t all bad news: One of the advantages of outsourcing services and adopting new automation features is that many companies with less experience end up avoiding tax penalties that they would otherwise incur, and even find new tax incentives that they didn’t know about. If there is any paperwork, especially financial or payroll forms, that your company doesn’t have much experience in, it may be worth at least a consultation with an expert to see if you can benefit from outsourcing some of the projects.
Another issue frequently raised when discussing managed services is “flexibility” which often refers to a workforce that can be deployed in different ways and augmented as necessary. The gig economy, home or remote work situations, more flexible schedules – they are all drivers for adopting more cloud services and outsourcing office work. This is particularly important for growing companies ready to make decisions about how flat they want their organizations to be, and what sort of hiring and scheduling practices to depend on as they expand their workforce. Structural changes are challenging to make later on in development, so having a clear road map and the necessary is an important first step.
Speaking of remote work situations, here’s an aspect that many companies don’t think about until late in the process: How are you going to protect data both at work and at other work locations? Data security in the office is one thing, but you won’t have direct control over what happens to devices or what wireless networks are used when people work on the go or at home. So what happens to collaboration and shared data? It stays protected – if you use the right services that include encryption, threat management, and virtualization where needed. Embracing remote work situations is great, but you need to have a data plan that makes it safe!
One roadblock smaller companies have to offer substantial benefits packages is that it’s just too difficult for them to get started and manage with the current workforce. But outsourcing specific HR and payroll functions, when done correctly, gives these companies better access to health coverage plans, retirement benefits, FSAs, wellness programs, and more (in addition to making it easier for employees to fill out the paperwork). Putting together a strong benefits package is particularly important early on since it allows companies to attract talent at just the right time for growth.
Administrative functions are on the fast track to automation these days – as long as you can get everyone on the same page. From voice assistants and email clients to integrated data centers like SharePoint, it’s important to know your options and set a strategy for scheduling and sharing information. The good news is that when that is completed, administrative costs tend to go down and companies can get rid of a lot of bloat. A data services expert can help you get there if you’re tired of administrative duties being a little too scattered.
Managed services providers do something else, too – they keep track of the latest capabilities, and know about solutions that you may have missed. That includes RMM tools (remote monitoring and management), new features added by Microsoft or Apple, communication innovations like chatbots, and much more. Not sure if you can use any of these services? That’s why going outside the company and asking an expert is a good idea!
Published on 27th October 2017 by Jeanne DeWitt.