The Big Picture: How MSPs Can Help Kingston Businesses Focus on Strategic Growth
Reading business and tech periodicals filled with terms like “distributed cloud,” “everything as a service,” and “extended reality” can sometimes leave you thinking that you’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible.
Your relatively small business only employs a few staff who keep the Wi-Fi on and the computers working. You’d like to see if they might be able to spruce up the website and perhaps build a community forum because you think that might help you attract and retain more customers. You’d actually like them to start looking at how your business can improve its online user experience and maybe even offer a digital version of your product for sale in one or more virtual worlds. And it would be great if your IT staff could start digging into some of those terms and figuring out whether any of them could be applied to your business.
But you know they’re busy troubleshooting network issues and responding to helpdesk tickets all day. You see them flying around the office all day, and you’re hesitant to even discuss the idea with them, given how much is on their plates. You’re not alone. Many small businesses struggle to balance the daily demands of IT administration with short-term and long-term IT strategic planning and activities that drive revenue and business growth.
Working with a Managed Service Provider
What you need is a managed IT service provider (or MSP). An MSP is a third-party firm that specializes in IT administration and oversight of most if not all of a business’s core IT functions, including:
- Cloud computing solutions and cloud transformation
- Communications services (such as VoIP and videoconferencing)
- Data backup and recovery
- Helpdesk management
- Network management, monitoring, and security
- Software production and maintenance
- Strategic IT planning
- Systems management
A reputable MSP will take over certain core functions and work with your team to provide others. For example, you might seek out an MSP to help your staff handle the helpdesk inquiries that consume their day. And you might also have them assess your cybersecurity measures – something else your IT staff rarely has time to keep up with. Doing so will then free your staff up to focus on the big picture items you want them focused on, such as figuring out:
- What technologies exist that make sense for your business to use to sell products?
- Which technologies can and should be acquired to improve productivity in each of your business’s core functions?
- How can employees be trained in the use of these new technologies, as well as be taught to use existing applications more effectively?
- What emerging technologies will have a definite impact on your organization, and how can you plan now to manage that impact?
- How can our technology use be a source of competitive advantage?
The answers to questions like these, not why an employee’s monitor won’t turn on, will help your business grow, gain market share, and earn increased profits.
The Benefits of Working with an MSP
When you work with a reputable MSP, you not only gain the work of experienced IT staff who can handle your most time-consuming tasks. You also get a partner who will help you explore how to achieve your key strategic business goals using technology. An MSP’s client base is typically drawn from the MSP’s local or regional business community or else businesses in a small set of specific (often-related) industries. MSPs with a local client base may have valuable insights into how SMBs near you have accelerated their growth, as well as local vendor contacts that can help you obtain the technology you may need.
By contrast, MSPs who focus on helping clients in a single or a narrow set of industries can help you tackle industry-specific problems. For example, businesses in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields use graphics-heavy software programs but need network and cloud computing solutions with minimal downtime. An MSP well-versed in these industries may have some effective recommendations to share.
MSPs can also help you strengthen your cybersecurity, which should be at, or near the top, of any business leader’s priority list. Cybercriminals will target any firm, no matter what size or industry, if they have a reasonable expectation that they may extract a payout. And when you suffer a ransomware attack, you could be facing financial catastrophe. If your financial records and trade secrets are compromised, you lose money. If data from one of your more clients is compromised, you’ll likely face a lawsuit. And even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that the criminals will return control of your system to you. In some cases, cyberattackers have hit the same business more than once.
With a reputable MSP, you’ll get cybersecurity professionals who work round-the-clock to monitor your network, investigate incidents, and handle threats. That’s crucial in this day and age and hard to establish with in-house staff, especially those who work for a small business. And just as cybercriminals are probing businesses for cybersecurity vulnerabilities, MSP staff will be regularly probing your business for weaknesses and working rapidly to remediate them.
Finally, your MSP can help you save money. If your IT staff are always overwhelmed putting out fires, they’ll ask for money to buy solutions to the symptoms (not the root cause) of the IT problems your business faces. You need your IT staff to be able to think clearly to budget clearly, which starts with clearing their plate of mundane tasks and letting them think about your business’ IT needs clearly. An MSP will provide you with predictable billing for core IT functions, which you can scale up or down as necessary. And they’ll likely be able to help you obtain the hardware or software you need at a discount from trusted vendors with whom they have a relationship.
Partnering with the Right MSP in Eastern Ontario
If you’re a business, government, or not-for-profit leader in Kingston or Brockville, we at OnServe want to hear from you. Originally established as Micro Market Inc. in the late 1980s, we’ve grown into a top managed IT services provider in Eastern Ontario. For decades, we’ve served businesses in the accounting, financial, manufacturing, and construction industries, as well as healthcare organizations and municipalities, working to simplify and streamline the common IT challenges our clients face.
And as technology has evolved, we’ve added more talent to our expert staff roster and increased our services to meet the changing needs of our clients. But one thing that has not changed in all these years is our passion for excellent customer service. We’re eager to help you take those time-consuming IT tasks off your organization’s plate so you can focus on growing your business. Contact us today.
Special thanks to the team at 4BIS.COM in Cincinnati for their help with this information.