When it comes to working with an IT provider for your small business, there are two main ways of accessing their services. The two different forms of accessibility are approximately equivalent when it comes to cost, but can have very different impacts on your work life and efficiency. Different IT providers will have different approaches to their service access, so it’s important to know which one will work best for you!
The first kind of service access is an hourly-rate, on-demand service. These IT providers will be available whenever you need them, and will respond to any issues you have with your IT services after you notify them. They generally bill each visit separately, and are not generally involved with the on-going upkeep of your IT services.
Other IT providers choose to offer a managed service to their clients. This kind of service ensures that services are available to you at all times, and that IT professionals are with your business every step of the way as consultants in making IT decisions that are the right option for you and your business model. Generally, companies that offer this option are invested in ensuring that your IT services have as few interruptions as possible, and will send a consistent monthly bill.
Hourly rates may initially seem like the more attractive option, because in theory you only have to pay for services when something goes wrong. However, there are a couple other considerations to keep in mind when choosing which kind of payment strategy works best for you.
Firstly, how much time and resources will you lose to downtime when your IT services encounter a problem? With IT professionals that charge an hourly rate, you cannot fix the problem until after it happens. With a managed service IT strategy, you should experience less downtime overall because of the additional work done by your IT professionals to ensure that your company is running IT services that prevent problems from happening.
Secondly, hourly-rate IT service providers can cause a significant amount of variability in your monthly operating costs. As long as everything’s running well, you may not have to budget that many resources for your IT costs – however, if a problem occurs, you could be looking at a bill that’s much larger than you were expecting. With a managed service strategy you don’t need to worry about unexpected IT costs – they will be covered by the standard monthly bill.
Finally, it’s important to consider the implicit motivation that your IT service providers have. After all, if you have an hourly service, the company only makes money when you call – meaning that they’re less likely to engage in preventative IT strategies. On the other hand, IT providers who follow a managed services strategy want your IT services to be running smoothly at all times – they are partners with you in your IT strategy, and have an in-depth understanding of what your company needs and how to protect it from IT threats.
Here at eTop technology, we strongly believe that using a managed services strategy is the option that benefits you the most – we are able to consult on IT matters, prevent problems before they happen, and help you deal with any problems that do unfortunately occur – all for a set monthly fee. If you have any questions about what a managed services IT strategy looks like, or about switching over to a managed services system, please contact us.