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Here are some common Q&A's
The goal of an MSP (Managed Service Provider) is to manage the hardware/software of a business and to provide technical services using a subscription model. This accomplishes a few things:
– It keeps IT costs consistent
– It provides a technical foundation for the MSP to provide services (The Stack)
– It provides predictable expenses for the customer
– It places the burden of maintaining things on the MSP. This is good for the customer
– The customer benefits from the MSPs diverse IT skills
– It allows the customer to keep the IT infrastructure up-to-date
The MSP takes on the burden of managing IT for the customer over being just an occasional fixer. The customer gains the benefit of a structured service model for IT Services delivery at a fraction of the cost of developing this for themselves. Needing an MSP is a function of the maturity of your business. At some point, owners and staff need to focus on the core deliverables of the business. You can’t do that when you are distracted with IT issues.
Quite simply: life experiences.
A small business takes on the characteristics of its owner, and that is what EmpowerIT reflects.
I (Lee Darke, CEO of EmpowerIT) have been in the IT industry since 1996. I spent 19 of those years working as a support tech and mostly as an IT Manager for an Ag software company with 3 global locations. When I started, the company used a 56K modem with software to share the connection to three staff members at a time. When I left to pursue my own business, the company had 3 locations (2 in NA and one in Australia) with its hardware in a datacenter.
During that time frame my team and I took the company from over 50 physical servers (SCO UNIX, Oracle, SQL server, Windows, VAX, Lotus Domino, MS Exchange, etc) to a clustered virtualized environment with Network Attached Storage and a fiber internet connection direct to the datacenter. Y2K, the dotcom bubble burst, I was around for it all. When I started in IT there was no facebook and windows95 was a cool new operating system. Why am I telling you this? Just to illustrate that, I have been around a bit and seen the industry evolve.
The biggest influence in my life are the 6 years I spent as a Personal Care Support Worker in a nursing home as I was going through school. What the Front Line Workers experienced during COVID-19 hits home quite hard. I have seen and done things that most of you will thankfully never experience.
Again, why am I sharing this with you? I am not looking for any praise for what I did in the past, that is disingenuous. What I want to show you is where I get my code of ethics. During those 6 years, I learned that people matter. It has stuck with me my entire life. It colours everything I do.
While a business is there to be profitable, and needs to be so, to be successful; we must never forget that it is the people that make it all happen. I strongly believe in empowering others. That is why I named my business EmpowerIT.
That is great! Having someone to help with your IT needs is exactly what you need. Now, is this person a full time Tech? Or are they, like in most small businesses, a staff person that happens to be doing tech stuff as well.
If the latter, then your business is missing out on the full potential of that individual, as they are unable to focus on the role they were hired to do. Having someone work two roles and performing neither well, due to split attention, is not benefiting the business at all. You are just treading water.
Have a full time IT hire? Great! Over the next few years, they will work to develop your internal IT to their skill set. It is only natural. Are you giving them a budget to work with? Likely not. Are you effectively managing them? Likely not. What will likely happen is that this Tech will be forced to cobble together a system based on intermittent funding, and have little formalized process or tools for documentation of the IT systems.
Once that is done, they will be looking around for projects to do, as they will want to keep their skills up. IT folks are all tinkerers at heart, we love technology.
Now imaging hiring an MSP to handle all the boring stuff. This frees up the Tech to really work on projects that deliver true value to the business. Plus, with an MSP at their back, they can go on vacation. The business gets a fully functioning, formalized IT department, rather than a Tech or two struggling to frame out the IT services delivery.
You have an MSP, you say! Great. I am not going to knock my peers. It is a tough gig. But just make sure that what you are getting is the real deal. Managed Services is not a “monitor only package” where you have to submit tickets and then wait for the response. The MSP is your partner and should be side by side with you as you grow your business. You should be meeting at least once or twice per year to review the business, and look at new technologies that are coming to the fore. Are you doing that?