5 Misconceptions About Outsourcing to an MSP

5 Misconceptions About Outsourcing to an MSP

By Andy Wolber

Technology blurs the boundaries between physical goods and services. For example, Datto delivers backup both as a product (backup devices) and a service (cloud backup). Michael Schrage referred to the blend of products and services as “Provices and Serducts” in an article that appeared in Fast Company nearly two decades ago.

Boundary lines between organizations have blurred, too. The days of “do-everything” organizations—such Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant, where raw materials came in one end, and finished cars came out the other—are gone.

Each organizational IT leader faces challenges of choice: What must we do ourselves? What do we outsource to others? Today, a savvy leader keeps strategic systems in-house and selects a trusted partner to provide “provices and serducts”.

Don’t let the following misconceptions about IT outsourcing stop you from getting the most out of your IT investments.

1. We need someone on-site

In most locations, help is often just a phone call, chat or email away. Many issues can be resolved from a distance thanks to remote troubleshooting tools. Ask your question, get an answer, then get back to work. If you need more help, share your screen and let someone else troubleshoot while you work on something else.

If downtime or delays incur significant costs, then you’ll want to pay for support on-site. Most managed service providers will work with you to provide the support you need. In some cases, remote help won’t work: if you work at the South Pole, you want people with tech skills on-site.

2. We have unique needs

If you explore deep space or the deep sea—in other words, if you work for NASA or James Cameron—then, yes, your organization clearly has unique needs.

The core technology required for many organizations, though, looks similar. You need a stable network, reliable devices, and secure applications and storage. If these don’t work, your employees can’t work.

Your IT team could try, buy, and test various combinations of hardware and software. Or you could hire a managed service provider to deploy a standard, well-tested solution.

3. We will lose control

Definitely not. If you’re the buyer, you still have control. But this also doesn’t mean things will be 100% problem-free. The world doesn’t work like that.

Your company probably already relies on outside providers for services. Consider air travel: you probably rely on airlines and airports. Very few companies have their own air fleet, airplanes, and airports. Most of us rely on providers for transportation.

If a travel provider fails to deliver once too often, you switch providers. That’s exactly the same control you have when you rely on a managed service provider: you switch when the service no longer fits your needs or delivery expectations.

4. We can do it for less

Yes, you likely can:

  • Build your own desktop for less
  • Build your own Wi-Fi network for less
  • Copy your files to large drive for less

But all of those solutions give you exactly that: less.

With a managed service provider—and their solutions—you buy the benefit of experience and knowledge. You also get monitoring, help, and access to expertise when you need it.

Keep the strategic skills you need inside your organization, and outsource all the tasks that don’t differentiate your organization for others.

5. Our current setup works

Excellent! Honestly, that’s unusual. Stick with it.

Often, a managed service provider will make the greatest impact in an organization when things need to be fixed. MSPs are great at moving an organization’s tech setup from chaotic to stable.

A really good MSP, though, will also make sure your IT changes as quickly as the world around you does—and with a well-tested solution. Need offsite access to your files? No problem. Worried whether your systems and processes comply with HIPAA? Ask your MSP.

So, how strategic is your IT investment? Are you paying for products and services separately? Or does your spending give you the benefit of blended provices and serducts to deliver the solutions you need?


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