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Written By

David VandeWaa

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September 30, 2019

Reduce Your Enterprise IT Costs and Let Your IT Experts Innovate

Graph of Rising Costs and Increasing Ideas

Struggling With Ballooning IT Costs and Missed Deadlines?

As businesses experience growth and undertake new initiatives, in-house IT departments often struggle to address technical debt arising from patches, service requests, and simply making sure your infrastructure operates smoothly and securely. Unfortunately, this often translates to rising IT costs, missed deadlines on innovative projects, and a sluggish technology experience across your organization.

Working with a managed service provider (MSP) for infrastructure support can provide relief, protect your data, and much more. With predictable, scalable costs, managed IT services can take the stress off you and your team so everyone can focus on your most important goal: growing your business.

In this article, our experts discuss how a partner like OST can help eliminate some of the common challenges large and enterprise-level businesses face, how pricing works when you hire an MSP for your IT needs, and what you can do to keep costs down and get the most value out of your IT services provider.

When Should You Consider Managed IT Services for Your Business?

It’s never too soon to start thinking about managed IT services, but most businesses experience common warning signs before they reach out to an MSP for help. In some cases, organizations experience minor IT disruptions and connect with an MSP at the right time to maximize their value. Other times, companies wait far too long and have to invest huge sums just to get back to normal operations—while simultaneously wasting one of their greatest assets for innovation and revenue growth: their in-house IT experts.

So, when is the perfect time to contact an MSP for your IT needs? Watch for the following signs:

  • You’re facing technology issues, but you don’t have enough dedicated IT staff or the budget to hire more.
  • Your in-house IT staff can’t keep up with requests, and you’re experiencing bottlenecks that are slowing down regular operations.
  • Your team members are getting bogged down by critical updates, or they are ignoring security updates altogether.
  • You are struggling to stay organized with all the different tools, software, applications, devices, and other technology your business uses and the licenses you need to maintain.
  • Your team’s devices and your IT infrastructure are starting to age, slow down, experience errors, and cause interruptions to your normal operations.
  • Your in-house IT team is too busy to dedicate meaningful time to new, innovative projects, or they’re missing important deadlines and milestones within those projects.

In short, if you’re noticing challenges related to technology, devices, special projects, and the infrastructure you use every day, it’s a good time to partner with a trusted enterprise MSP like OST. We can listen to your concerns, get to know the unique challenges your business is facing, and walk you through what services make the most sense to get your business running smoothly on a budget that makes sense for your specific needs.

The Benefits of Working With an Enterprise MSP for Your IT Needs

Working with an MSP can help your business in a wide variety of ways. The primary benefits of utilizing an IT services provider are related to workload, scalability, and expertise.

1. Workload Relief for Your Staff

Large and enterprise-level organizations struggle to manage workloads and grow at scale because their IT team gets overloaded with maintenance, technical debt, and other basic requests and can’t focus on more strategic and technical projects. For example, they may spend more than half their day addressing capacity constraints, replacing servers with unsupported operating systems, deploying security patches, correcting system outages, and troubleshooting other issues. With an MSP, your IT team can offload infrastructure support and management tasks that are slowing them down and dedicate their time to more important projects for your company. An MSP can also handle the nuts and bolts of your technology needs at a fixed, predictable cost rather than your team needing to staff up based on highly specific skillsets or unknowns that may arise as your technology needs become more sophisticated.

Another struggle that many large and enterprise businesses face is a lack of qualified IT staff who can handle special projects like connected product development, cloud migrations, mobile app development, or legacy software modernization. A top managed service provider like OST has a vast team with deep technical expertise who can work alongside your IT department to move special projects forward and create new revenue streams.

2. Scalability

If the network is down for several hours, how does that affect your team’s productivity? If a large number of your team members get slammed with a critical security update on the same day, how does that impact operations? If you ramp up a new project requiring complex infrastructure, will your current IT team be able to handle that along with all the other issues they are trying to resolve? Can you afford to hire more full-time dedicated IT staff members when your current team gets overloaded? How long does the hiring process take to find experienced, qualified IT professionals who are going to be a good fit for your team?

And what about on-call? Someone has to be there after-hours, and major emergencies can fully consume that person’s entire schedule for days, if not weeks.

All these issues are inherently related to scale. As your business continues to grow, your IT needs become more complex and require more of your organization’s time and resources. With an MSP, you only pay for what you need, and the costs of working with an MSP are fixed and predictable. Managed IT services allow your organization scale in a cost-effective way without having to hire new staff, get them set up with costly equipment, and incur the associated costs of their salary, benefits, taxes, and more.

3. Cross-Functional Expertise

A top managed service provider like OST brings exponentially more experience and specialization to your business than any single IT professional can. We have dealt with and overcome the same challenges you’re facing hundreds of times. We have a dedicated team of IT experts and digital consultants with diverse skillsets who can quickly troubleshoot and resolve new issues that arise. We can quickly and effectively spot the warning signs of larger problems before they escalate and interrupt your operations. And we can provide an objective expert opinion to help you balance the demands of your IT team with the reality of your organization’s needs and budget.

The experience and expertise an MSP brings into your professional relationship can be invaluable, especially if your business is experiencing rapid growth. You and your team may not know what IT challenges are ahead, but you can bet your managed IT services provider has seen a similar situation and can help you plan for the future and address your needs in a scalable, cost-effective way.

Ultimately, every business has unique needs when it comes to technology. A good managed services partner will work closely with you and other stakeholders at your organization to provide a tailored managed IT solution rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. That will allow you to get exactly the help you need at exactly the right price.

So, How Much Do Managed IT Services Cost?

At OST, we have a simple pricing model that is comparable to cloud services: we charge a flat subscription fee per item per month. Your subscription is calculated based on your business’ specific needs and the complexity of your overall IT environment, which our experts assess during discovery and onboarding with your organization.

For example, transitioning support for 100 servers to the team at OST would simply include a fixed fee per server per month. That would translate to the cost of your subscription, and you would pay that amount for the duration of the time that you utilize OST for managed services. If you added more servers and wanted OST to manage them, your total cost would go up due to additional items in your subscription, but the fee per item would remain the same. Similarly, if you wanted to reduce the number of servers OST is managing, your total cost would go down, and the fee per server would remain the same.

In more complex managed services agreements, OST can take on support of your entire infrastructure, including your servers, storage, network, platforms, and other technology. In these cases, we would conduct a discovery session to map out your IT environment and then lay out a per-item subscription based on exactly what is included. In these high-volume cases, savings can sometimes be found that will bring your per-item fee down when IT services are purchased at scale.

Another important factor that can affect the cost of working with an MSP is the comprehensiveness of your IT infrastructure documentation. Having clear documentation surrounding your current policies, processes, users, devices, licenses, login information, and other IT operations can significantly speed up the transition to managed services with your provider and cut down on costs.

A final issue that affects the price of MSP is the current status of your environment. A lot of managed services vendors will perform an IT health check or infrastructure audit and price out a large up-front project to get your business up to their operating standards.

At OST, we take a different approach.

With years of managed infrastructure service experience, we’ve discovered that the health check model isn’t particularly effective. It’s rare to uncover major data center issues at the outset of a partnership, and the reality of infrastructure support is that issues are just as likely to arise three months (or three years) after the outset of a business relationship.

We certainly take into account the technical debt that needs to be addressed at your organization. However, instead of front-loading projects and costs, we use an ongoing process to reduce technical debt with an understanding that not all critical risks will be found until after fully onboarding and owning support of the environment. Our process allows us to discover the types of undocumented critical components that may pose a risk and understand what’s critical to your everyday business. At a high level, our process involves the following:

  1. We regularly monitor what is happening in your environment in order to assess service levels and risks.
  2. We identify existing or potential problems and address them (when they are in the scope of work) or make a detailed recommendation to help your team address them (when they are out of the scope of work).

This methodology helps keep your costs predictable and provides granular insights into where your budget is being applied rather than lumping numerous issues into one large IT audit or health check project. From day one, you can expect transparency, clarity, and collaboration from the OST team.

We are more than an MSP vendor. We are truly a managed services partner.

Need Affordable, Tailored Managed IT Services? Contact OST Today!

If you’re ready to reduce IT costs, leverage your staff to their maximum potential, and get the help you need from a trusted MSP, contact OST today. One of our experts will collaborate with you to understand the challenges you’re facing, determine your business’ unique needs, and walk you through a solution that’s right for you and your budget.

All you need to do to get started is complete a simple contact form or call (616) 574-3500. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can get you and your team the help you need. We look forward to hearing from you!

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About the Author

With a master’s in English, certifications in search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing automation, and nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing, Dave brings a deeply nuanced understanding to everything from high-level digital strategy to the nitty-gritty details of implementation.