Every good business is a technology business today.
There may be some small niches that can “get by” on personal, face-to-face services. But very few businesses of substance can thrive in the 21st century without a solid technology infrastructure intentionally oriented to support innovation and business development.
The journey from DIY to strategic managed services
As businesses grow, they generally move through several stages:
- They do it themselves – buy the computer, build the website, get some accounting software and do business on spreadsheets and word processing documents.
- As they grow, they get bits and pieces of specialist assistance – a website developer or some Point-Of-Sale support.
- There comes a point in time where juggling their different bits of technology gets too hard, so they go for an “IT guy” (or gal) – someone to keep their bits and pieces working. (Sometimes this is an inhouse person with an interest – other times it’s a small IT business, but still just 1 or two people.)
- Over time, they reach the limits of single-person support and start looking for help. There are two common choices at this point:
- Pay for time – like dentists and car mechanics. The model here is that when something breaks, you pay for it to be fixed.
- Pay for technology support – with an IT managed services provider. Under this model, you pay for someone to keep your tech running and your operations secure.
- Eventually, innovative businesses find that they need more than “technology management”. So, they find a Managed Services Partner – not just a Managed Services Provider – one who is invested in helping them turn their IT infrastructure into an active business advantage.
If you’re looking to get the best out of your business technology, be sceptical of any MSP that says, “we will take care of the IT so you can focus on your business”. Separating technology from the business in the 21st century is a disservice and causes the business to remain static and locked into the old ways of doing things.
True digital transformation and innovation requires a MSP with the tools and capabilities to become a partner in your business goals, delivering the best technology to get there. So, look for a provider who has a clear strategy for integrating your business goals with your technology. (Such as our Profit Stacks Framework)
Managed services make getting through COVID easier
Anyone that had an IT provider that was billing them hourly rates would have had a big IT bill during COVID as they transitioned their people to working from home.
Those who had a good managed service provider typically had a great experience transitioning to home-based work – without big bills.
Because this support was under their existing contract, it just happened – and quickly. The service provider didn’t have to negotiate price and get agreement – so they just got in there and fixed the problems and got people working.
Plus, those businesses that went into COVID with a strategic IT managed services partner went in with some big advantages:
● Having strategic, managed IT services made their remote working shift even easier – because:
○ They were starting from a consistent base and working to a planned, known transition.
○ Their MSP understood the details of their business operations and responded quickly and accurately to their needs.
○ Their MSP was fully available via phone and email during the lockdown – and happy to help.
○ Their MSP could go to their office for them to address any power or network issues.
○ Their MSP’s remote support software allowed easy configuration and management of their devices both in the office and at home.
● Having managed IT services made their remote working safer and more secure because:
○ Network protection and data security was already built into their service agreement.
○ Vulnerabilities were prevented or patched quickly.
○ Attempted hacking was monitored and blocked.
○ Their MSP researched the best way to prevent new cyber-attack vectors.
Not only was all this done without additional fees and charges – where necessary their Managed Services Partner could suspend or delay their fees to help those businesses that were most in need in the short term, with the cost able to be spread over the full length of the agreement.
The result for the businesses that went into COVID with the right managed services partner was that they ended up with more time – time to plan, time to strategise PLUS time to research, rebrand and restructure.
They weren’t firefighting incompatible systems or communications failures. So, more of their JobKeeper money went into business development – not just business survival.
They could spend more time on networking platforms, conferencing apps, online events and social media – making connections, having conversations and exploring for opportunities.
They could action new opportunities knowing that they had the infrastructure and systems to maximise them.
Adapting and transforming is easier
Those businesses that went into COVID with a an agile, engaged IT managed services partner ALSO benefited from:
● The capacity to leverage technology to optimise their operations and reduce their costs without reducing the value they delivered to their customers.
● The capacity to quickly transform, diversify and build their business as opportunities opened up.
Scaling is faster and safer with a Managed Services Partner
There have been some good news stories about small scale business innovation in the face of COVID – such as the herb farmers who started making and selling bouquets of fresh herbs online when they lost their existing market.
There’s a lot more happening in the business transformation space – particularly in the business-to-business space – that doesn’t make the news.
It’s a much safer process for businesses when they have a strategic Managed Services Provider on their side.
Our business development mantra is “fail fast, fail often, fail small” – but transformation is much less risky when:
● your infrastructure and your systems are robust and well supported
● your managed services provider is strategically oriented for growth.
For example, one of our customers is a technology educator operating in a particularly COVID-challenged market associated with travel.
When a major international competitor left the local market, they had a massive opportunity – the opportunity to expand INTO that contraction. But there was a big “IF”- IF they could establish a new facility on the other side of the country from their current operations in barely two weeks.
To respond to that opportunity, they had to move seriously fast. In less than two weeks they had to:
● Work out whether the opportunity was real and worth going for.
● Work out if and how they could make it happen.
● Establish what it would cost them to setup and then run a new facility and what return it would give them.
● Write a tender to acquire the business.
● Plan (and start action on) an achievable, workable interstate expansion.
Because we’re strategically focused and we have a national operation with international connections, we could work with them to turn their new interstate opportunity into a reality. Our regular staff operating in their new location were available to do on-the-ground setup.
Because all their business systems, processes and costs were well defined, documented in our systems and fully understood by our national team, we were able to:
● Help them accurately cost their proposed expansion and write an extensive, detailed tender document very quickly.
● Pick up and replicate their current successful business model on the other side of the country to extend their current operations without disruptions or breakdowns.
● Meet their deadline to take over and operate in the new location.
● Deliver on their implementation plan even though their in-house staff were locked down and unable to travel interstate – because we were already on the ground.
Do you have the right IT Managed Services to help your business thrive through COVID?
At Network Overdrive we offer four key services. You can choose an individual service, or we can bundle all our offerings into one solution.
Firstly, we offer Service Desk Support. You get a more profitable business from your existing systems with timely, quality, reliable support for a predictable, known monthly cost.
Secondly, we offer IT Managed Services – the additional capability for a well-managed business, or a flexible agile business, because you have managed services committed to:
a) increasing the efficiency of your operation and
b) supporting your growth and expansion objectives.
Thirdly, we offer Validated IT Compliance – a certified level of super security for your systems and processes, validated to assure you, your staff and customers of your security, trustworthiness and longevity. (So even your biggest, pickiest customers will be satisfied they’re safe with you.)
And finally, we offer our Profit Stacks Framework – an innovation process that aligns your technology and systems with your business growth strategy to power your profits.
Are you missing out on the strategic support you need to grow and thrive?
If your IT support isn’t powering your business profit and you want to work smarter today as you prepare to thrive in a “Post COVID World”, contact us today for a consultation.
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