You’re well aware that your organization needs to modernize its use of technology. Many small and midsized businesses are still trying to grow without also evolving their IT. Even if your internal IT staff is telling you it’s time, there’s a degree of uncertainty that remains around whether kicking off an IT project designed to improve how the business runs will be a success.
Mature Managed IT Service Providers (MSPs) bring with them a wealth of experience that extends well beyond any internal IT staff. It’s this experience that can help IT projects that will have a positive impact on the business, it’s productivity, competitiveness, and profitability.
But exactly, how does the experience held by an MSP help your IT projects succeed?
There are three common ways that you can leverage an MSP’s experience with planning and implementing your internal IT projects:
- Creating the Right Strategy – Let’s say one of your projects involves the need to update your email servers and you’re running an older version of Microsoft Exchange in-house. You have a few options that will have impacts on long-term total cost of ownership. You can upgrade the hardware and keep the old Exchange (assuming it’s still supported); you can upgrade the server hardware, the Windows Server OS, and Exchange; or you could make the move to Exchange Online within the Microsoft 365 platform. There are pros and cons to each which makes this a complex decision, and there are two distinct strategies here: stay on-premises or move to the cloud. A seasoned MSP has already done all three of these projects dozens (if not hundreds) of times before and can outline the short- and long-term business impacts of each, helping you to make the right choice.
- Selecting the Right Technology – Even when the strategy is clear, there are still a wide range of technology options. For example, in the case of a need to refresh your datacenter storage, there are choices around what kind of drives to use, whether to incorporate them into a SAN or NAS, what kind of redundancy should be in place, and – to extend the conversation a bit – whether you should be thinking about data resilience via replication to another location. Get the tech wrong and you may be limited in how much you can scale in the future, integrate with other solutions, automate management, and more. A good MSP will want to understand what your needs are, what you’d like to be able to do as the business grows, where your limitations are, and offer up a technology solution that meets your overall needs both today and tomorrow.
- Choosing the Right Timing – Most IT projects involve some degree of change that has the potential to impact operations. Whether we’re talking about a slight disruption or a material outage, if not implemented correctly, any IT project can have a negative effect on the business. Timing matters – from the simple which day(s) and at what time, to implementing the needed changes in phases to reduce the potential impact of any issues, to planning out timings for different parts of a project (e.g., upgrading a client application before updating the server-side). Having an MSP that has experience with your specific project allows you to bypass all the timing mistakes, allowing you to plan and execute the needed steps optimally to avoid any disruptions.
Major IT projects are nothing to trifle with; they represent material change to the organization. And even when internal IT staff have a grasp on what needs to be done, there are still pitfalls that exist that are only clearly visible to those that have gone down the path countless times before. By engaging with a seasoned MSP, you’ll find that the scope and execution of a project goes far more smoothly – on time and within budget.