Managed IT allows companies to focus September 8, 2009 RICCentre By Henry Vehovec Recent projects at Mindfirst Inc. have exposed us to the benefits of managed IT services. What exactly are managed services? In this case, we are referring to the practice of outsourcing key aspects of a small or medium sized (SME) company’s information technology infrastructure. Essentially managed services offload the burden of maintaining internal systems to a specialized outside provider thereby allowing company management to focus on what they are really good at, what they make money at, that is, their core competency. Think about never having to worry about slow or spotty internet access. What would it be like to seamlessly be able to access your files from home or remote office location? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your files were always backed up in a secure offsite location in a data centre designed expressly for that purpose? Would your customers and staff get comfort and advantage from knowing that they would never be down? Wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry about scaling your systems, compatibility issues, system upgrades or hiring additional support people? These are the kind of benefits that are possible through managed services. Managed services are about creating effective business solutions that increase revenue, productivity and performance and can scale for the long term. Managed services are about IT infrastructure being accountable to business goals and objectives rather than technology speeds and feeds that do not necessarily mesh with business targets. When should a company look at managed services? Can a company be too big or too small for managed services? Certainly the largest corporations can justify their own data centres and dedicated IT staff. Studies have found that SMEs with headcounts of approximately 1,000 employees or less can have IT infrastructures similar in security, performance, redundancy and capacity to that of much larger companies at a fraction of the cost. At the small end, companies with as few as five employees and revenues could consider outsourcing. In some instances, pre-revenue companies with mission critical programming objectives should also be considering managed services. Mindfirst has recently been examining carbon footprint benefits of various IT infrastructure, telecommunications, telepresence and videoconferencing solutions. As part of this project we have found that there are considerable efficiencies to be gained via implementation of managed services solutions. We are developing models and decision making tools that will help organizations make these increasingly complex IT decisions and determine if managed services are right for them. Stay tuned to future editions of this blog or contact us directly if you are interested in learning more.