When you think of ‘business growth’ you probably don’t turn your thoughts immediately to your IT systems. Generally, growth is something that springs out of your sales, marketing, or business planning areas.
The thing is, growth doesn’t always mean pushing harder or working longer than everyone else – sometimes, growth is about taking what you already have and working with it in a smarter, more considered way.
This is where the use of innovative IT comes in. Had you considered that with different approaches and systems, you could potentially get more out of your current team?
Most people consider their team to be at full capacity – and, with current systems in place, this is often true. However, this is where working with the fresh eyes of an innovative IT managed service provider can come into play.
Here, we’ll look at what a managed service provider (MSP) is – and some of the ways they can help you to squeeze additional growth out of your company.
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What is a managed service provider?
It’s useful to think of a managed service provider as an outsourced IT department.
That said, rather than working with just one company, a managed service provider generally works with a number – spreading their working capacity over a series of different companies.
As a result, you generally get far more ‘bang for your buck’ than taking on the same level of expertise in-house. After all, the services of a 15-person managed service provider could well be within reach for a small business of just 5-6 people – but a business of that size could never hope to take on a 15-person IT team and foot the wage bill exclusively.
As well as the fact that an MSP represents a significant saving over an in-house team, there’s also no ‘lag’ experienced between taking the MSP on and having them roll up their sleeves and work with your systems. An in-house team could potentially take months to get familiar with your work (after the recruitment and training process) but an MSP is usually ready to get moving within a few days of the paperwork being finalised.
Less outlay = more budget elsewhere
By now, you can almost certainly see the first opportunity for growth that an MSP indirectly brings to the business – and that’s in savings that can be reinvested in other parts of the business.
If you had allocated £20,000 to on-board a small IT team, you’re likely to find that your £20,000 will run for a significant period of time paying for an MSP’s service. As such, you can funnel unspent money into areas of the business that represent a greater ROI in the short term such as EMV-compliant terminals that allow for a smooth customer experience, and more options when paying for your services or products. This also protects your customer’s data, while reducing liability that is associated with payment fraud, keeping both you and your business safe.
Experienced best practice
Another major positive for taking on an MSP is the sheer amount of best practice they bring to the table. Sure, every IT professional that joins your company is going to have some serious experience under their belt – but with an MSP, that best practice is ever-evolving and moving – owing to the fact that they work with a handful of other clients at any one time.
Now, this isn’t to say they’re going to share trade secrets – but what they can do is advocate systems and ways of working that they have seen rolled out elsewhere. So, while an in-house IT team relies on case studies about what’s happening elsewhere, an MSP is actually onsite with other customers – and they’re able to add that knowledge to ever-increasing list of experiences that your ‘outsourced IT team’ has access to.
Again, the benefits of this way of working are clear. As a growing business, you need to be agile and able to respond to the market quickly – and there are few areas more crucial to a response that your IT. With a good IT provider on your side, you can be certain that you’ve got the systems you need, when you need them.
Implementing innovative systems
Sometimes, it pays to just be working smarter than the opposition – and when it comes to IT, there are plenty of systems to make sure that’s going to be the case.
For instance, you might work with a provider who has experience relating to the roll-out of SD-WAN systems across your sites – enabling you to remotely configure every device on your network in a fraction of the time it would normally take.
Then again, you might decide that a managed/hosted telephony service is what you need to automate some of your processes – freeing up time that makes your customer service teams more effective.
That latter example is a prime region in which many businesses can work smarter – at the same time as streamlining their customer’s experience.
For instance – if you currently rely on a traditional telephone system, you’ll almost certainly have customer service teams carrying out processes that a computer could do on your behalf. Payments usually the first place a business begins with this kind of tech – setting up automated voice systems allowing your customers to make 24-hour payments to an dedicated phone line tied into your book-keeping and payment process applications.
Then, with a system like that in place, what’s to stop you using the digital recordings of calls to automatically transcribe conversations and upload them to your CRM system – as well as automating follow up calls, service emails, and other customer service enhancing features. Almost all of these features are perfectly possible – from a telephony system that piggy backs on your network and interfaces with your applications using fairly simple APIs.
Do you know what’s possible?
This is, of course, just one idea – and, in the world of automation and service, there are ten thousand other possibilities for streamlining your ways of working and pinpointing inefficiencies in your workflows that a system could patch.
That said – do you know what those possibilities are? Or would it be good to have an experienced IT team take an objective look at what you do and tell you ways you can do even better?
If the answer’s yes – then you might want to explore working with an MSP sooner rather than later.