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managed IT guy cartoonLet’s start by defining “Managed I.T. Services.”  When a company says they offer managed I.T. services that company is basically saying that they want to be your company’s I.T. department.  A managed I.T. service company will set up and configure new computers, install new network equipment, troubleshoot problems with your computers and / or network, update the systems on your network when necessary, and other such I.T. related tasks.

So, why use a managed I.T. services company versus hiring your own “computer guy” or simply letting someone in your office do it?  A few reasons.

First, while someone in your office may know a little (or a lot) about computers, networks, and so forth, you did not hire that person as your “computer guy.”  Therefore, every time that person has to work on a computer or network issue, that person is not working on whatever job they were hired to do. For example, at a previous job, I was hired as a project manager.  I also happen to know quite a lot about computers and networks.  When a computer or network issue arose, it would fall to me to address it.  However, while I was busy fixing computer issues, I was not interacting with existing clients, or writing new job proposals, or making sure the creative team and development team had all the information they needed to get their own jobs done.  This resulted in me either working longer hours or leaving work undone.

Second, if you do hire a dedicated I.T. person, you may or may not have both enough work as well as enough H.R. budget to support that person.  Hiring someone part-time is an option…until your office computers break during that person’s time off.  You could hire someone on an on-call basis, but that is exactly the same thing as hiring a managed I.T. services company but with fewer assurances of professionalism.  So all roads in this case lead back to contracting with a dedicated managed I.T. services company.

Finally, you can anticipate costs much more easily.  Many managed I.T. companies will work on a retainer system whereby your company pays a fixed amount every month regardless of how much or how little you use your I.T. provider.  In this way, you can expect that your I.T. costs will be fixed each month and you can be assured that both your computers / network as well as your financial interests are being looked after.

For a small or medium sized business, contracting with a managed I.T. company is almost a no-brainer.  Luckily, there are lot of good ones out there from which to choose.

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