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6 Signs it’s Time to Use a Managed Services Provider

January 14, 2021

Rethink IT Services Delivery


Agility, innovation, informed decision-making, compliance. These are some of the strategic drivers business leaders want from their IT function. However, putting these into practice isn’t easy. Today’s IT function is a complex hairball of systems and processes – meeting everyday IT operational need is the priority for IT leaders, not the forward-thinking objectives of business leaders.

The business is right though. IT leaders need to break free from operational tasks like cloud hosting, infrastructure monitoring and disaster recovery. Establishing a strong, strategic partnership with a trusted IT managed services provider (MSP) is essential to your future growth.

Passing responsibility and control for routine, repetitive tasks to a trusted third-party alleviates the burden of these important IT tasks, freeing up IT resources and allowing you to become a valued partner to the business, focused on innovation, agility and compliant revenue growth.

How do you know when is the right time to turn to an MSP? In this guide, we provide six useful pointers: six signals you may be experiencing that highlight the need for expert IT support from an MSP.

What is a managed services partner?

MSP is a hosted services model, allowing you to simplify your IT function, passing the management of day-to-day services as diverse as infrastructure services, cloud hosting and helpdesk-as-a-service to a trusted partner.

  • 1


    One of the key signals that show it’s time to talk to an MSP is a lack of business agility. Too often, IT cannot react quickly enough to the demands of the business. While they want innovation, you are focused on ‘keeping the lights on’ every day. The business may be calling for a lightning fast response to a competitor’s new cloud service, for example, while your priority is simply to make sure the everyday transactions servers are backed up and performing at the speed they should.

    Likewise, your IT function may be struggling to keep pace with sudden changes in demand. For example, a retail platform may not have the flexibility to cope with the surge in Christmas demand, or a financial services system may not adapt fast enough to the spike in demand for ISAs at the end of the tax year.

    How does this lack of agility manifest itself in the everyday? Your IT staff appear busy, but in reality change is glacially slow. Business stakeholders may also vent their frustration with the services provided by IT, seeing IT as a barrier to change – not an enabler. And of course, the ultimate indicator of a lack of agility is being overtaken by more nimble competitors.

    An MSP can help your organisation achieve lasting business agility in support of your modern business strategy. By passing some or all of your technology needs to an MSP, you eliminate the complexity and siloed systems which can be such a barrier to rapid change. Modern technologies like automation and analytics – managed by the MSP – help free resources for innovation. And with experience working with different clients, qualified MSPs will advise you on your future IT requirements.

    of IT leaders say IT projects are more complex now than they were five years ago.”
    KPMG CIO Survey 2017

  • 2


    Are your ‘IT vacancies’ notifications going unanswered? If so, you’re in good company. Almost every organisation is facing an unprecedented skills shortage. It is becoming harder than ever to recruit many of the IT skills needed to drive digital transformation and innovation.

    Make no mistake, IT talent is in short supply. Emerging talent – especially the younger ‘Minecraft’ generation – is used to being always connected, and will be drawn to organisations that offer a modern, stimulating workplace, that blurs the traditional distinction between work and home. Moreover, emerging talent is also drawn to inspiring environments.

    Candidates will turn first to organisations that offer opportunities in areas such as data science, software development – or ones with a social purpose. Attracting young talent to monitor server performance or administer the backup will be a tougher challenge.

    Outsourcing these functions to a partner with technically skilled and specialised engineers alleviates these pressures. An MSP takes responsibility for providing the skilled resources needed to deliver on your IT strategy – whether that is an enterprise-wide digital transformation or more simply systems monitoring and administration. This managed resource also frees up your existing internal energy and talent to focus on more strategic tasks, such as innovation and data insight.

    “70% of the tech industry experience skills shortages.”
    Robert Walters Research

  • 3


    Rising cost is probably the clearest sign that you may need the support of an MSP. Your IT function absorbs a significant amount of finance, ranging from hardware, software and network infrastructure costs, to maintenance and IT labour costs. You may be able to charge-back certain services, but it remains the case that the overall infrastructure is a business overhead, not a profit centre.

    You can’t stand still either: technology is evolving rapidly and a continued reliance on outmoded systems or overlapping processes can quickly diminish your business competitiveness. To stay competitive, you need to invest in modern technologies, such as virtualisation, data analytics and automation. And there’s the ever-present threat of purchasing new systems that end up unused as ‘shelf-ware’.

    By outsourcing initiatives to an MSP, your organisation can break down costs into fixed monthly payments, as opposed to the large capital expenditures that come with managing systems in-house.

    “IT budgets and headcount are increasing, despite the spectre of political and economic uncertainty. More than ever, CxOs will need to ‘think smart’ about spending to run, grow and transform businesses.”
    Gartner 2018

  • 4


    Another sign that your organisation may be ready for an MSP is the struggle to adhere to fast-changing and increasingly complex compliance requirements. Besides regular audits, many organisations are obligated to meet standards and requirements with their technology initiatives.

    The recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules regarding data protection, the Personal Services Directive 2 (PSD2) on data privacy and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) regulations on credit card security are just some examples of the compliance rules the IT function needs to manage.

    The challenges here are wide and varied: the demand for IT resources to understand the regulations and implement the necessary precautions, the need to securely protect data and the requirement for fast data retrieval in the case of an audit.

    A trusted MSP will understand the regulations that your business is bound by and can provide the systems, processes and reports to ensure your organisation meets its requirements for compliance and data security without placing that burden on in-house staff.

    of firms expect their total compliance budget to be slightly or significantly more over the next 12 months.”
    Thomson Reuters 2018

  • 5


    Is your business living in the shadow of Shadow IT? Then it may be time to consider an MSP. As the business becomes frustrated by the slow pace of technology services delivery, they are increasingly deploying IT-related cloud services, hardware, or software without the knowledge of your IT function. This is the definition of Shadow IT.

    This surge in Shadow IT is affecting organisations’ visibility and control, which could negatively impact security. This extends to data, as employees process and store company data on unapproved cloud services without much thought. This means the implications can extend to data protection obligations as well.

    Shadow IT practices may also contribute to cyberattacks. If users are installing technologies haphazardly and without appropriate regard for security and it’s not manageable, it’s difficult to enforce effective organisational security.

    An MSP can help your organisation protect against an array of vulnerabilities created by Shadow IT activities and draw the line with regard to which devices, apps and services are allowed – and which aren’t. A network security solution, for example, that includes network access controls, bandwidth and application monitoring, and automated alerts enables the MSP to identify which devices, apps, and other network-related services are being used on your corporate network.

    of CIOs worldwide are bypassed by line-of-business in IT purchasing decisions sometimes and 31% are bypassed routinely.”
    Logicalis research

  • 6


    Good news. Your business is growing – and growing fast. It’s expanding its customer base, moving into new vertical markets, or extending its footprint into new geographic territories. It may be acquiring other organisations. This pace of change can often be a signpost for the services of an MSP. With the business growing rapidly, it may require 24/7 support to service new groups of customers or the international business footprint.

    In the case of merger and acquisition activity, you will likely be faced with two conflicting IT infrastructures – two sets of teams, two data centres, two sets of SLAs. There will undoubtedly also be a drive to reduce costs. An MSP can help to lower IT costs while covering basic IT services during the period that a new, unified IT infrastructure is formed.

    Moreover, business growth also warrants investment in modern technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning or the Internet of Things. The problem is, you don’t know where to begin. An expert MSP will have existing relationships with such vendors and can support rapid deployment.

    Alternatively, your business may wish to invest in service management tools to improve operational efficiency. Service management solutions can be complex and costly. An MSP will have already made the investment – for example in ServiceNow – allowing you to reap the rewards of service management at significantly lower cost.

    “A trusted MSP will understand the regulations that your business is bound by and can provide the systems, processes and reports to ensure your organisation meets its requirements for compliance.“

Managed services enable your In-house staff to focus on what they do best!

Your IT staff are kept busy, but it seems nothings gets done. Response times are slow and productivity is low. Business stakeholders are frustrated by the speed of IT services delivery – and perceive IT to be a barrier to growth. HR is struggling to attract and retain skilled IT talent. Meanwhile, some lines of business are launching their own IT projects, cutting out the IT function from the conversation entirely.

Do some or all of these challenges echo through your organisation? If so, then it is probably time to turn to an MSP. Organisations like yours increasingly rely on MSPs to manage certain IT functions, particularly email hosting, storage, backup and recovery and network monitoring.

It doesn’t make much sense to have your internal IT team handling things they have little expertise or experience with: tasks like migrating to Office 365 when it can be expertly handled by an MSP instead, and the technician can commit their time to something they excel at. Managed services enable your in-house staff to focus on what they do best, with the MSP taking the pressure off, providing specialised services where they are needed most.

By partnering with an MSP, you don’t have to worry about the things that were dragging you down anymore.

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