There are two different types of IT support company – Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and those working on a traditional break-fix model. You might be in the market for a new IT support company and are wondering what type of provider is the best fit. A small business IT survey carried out by Clutch, found 59% of IT services had transitioned to a managed service contract from the traditional break-fix model.
About Managed Service Providers
MSPs typically consider themselves as your outsourced IT department and take responsibility for most, if not all the technical issues within an organisation. Working with an MSP is regarded as a forward-thinking and progressive way to manage the IT function for ambitious and growing organisations.
Reasons to choose a Managed Service Provider
Work with a strategic technology partner – One of the most important long-term benefits of working with an MSP is developing a partnership. As technology advisers with multiple areas of expertise, your MSP helps build a technology strategy that aligns the technology requirements of your business with growth plans.
Proactive network monitoring – MSPs provide round the clock network monitoring that can detect faults in real time. The software then automatically creates a ticket which is assigned to an engineer immediately.
Business continuity – Most MSPs work with clients to provide off-site backup capabilities. Protecting data in this way enables the company to get back up and running in the event of a catastrophic data loss.
Regular patching, updates and backups – Operating System updates and software patching come as part of the agreed monthly cost. Most MSPs decide on a regular patching schedule to help maintain maximum levels of network security.
Process, process, process! – Organised MSPs have a well-defined process for all areas of project management and service desk support. Having procedures in place help keep client networks secure and ensure consistent service delivery levels is crucial for long-term success.
Helpdesk support – MSPs deal with support calls via a remote service desk. Faster connectivity and sophisticated tools enable the service desk to fix many issues remotely. For more persistent problems, an engineer will jump in a car or van and attend the client’s site.
Vendor management – If you have an issue with your telephone or Internet provider and you have a contract with an MSP, they manage the support process on your behalf.
Cheaper than hiring a dedicated IT team – Hiring the breadth of talent required to manage a modern IT infrastructure is costly. Wages, staff benefits and other HR costs such as pension, annual leave and sick pay soon rack up – not to mention arranging cover when a team member goes on holiday.
Reasons not to choose a Managed Service Provider
Monthly contract – Due to network monitoring and other packaged service items, MSPs charge a monthly retainer, which usually lasts for an initial 12-months. Some businesses may not wish to commit to a lengthy contract because it suits them to be more flexible or to aid cash-flow.
About the Break-Fix IT model
As the name suggests, a break-fix support provider only reacts when a client reports a fault. The break-fix IT support method may suit organisations with an on-site IT resource, who don’t rely on technology for essential, everyday operations or those without large, complex computing infrastructures. Micro businesses and start-ups may opt for the break-fix model in the early days as it appears to represent a more cost-effective way to maintain computing inventory.
Reasons to choose a break-fix IT support provider
No commitment – No monthly service fees or contract might suit some businesses who aren’t 100% reliant on technology or with limited network infrastructure. The break-fix model may also suit their circumstances
Control – the client may feel like they have more control as they only call when assistance is needed and don’t need to worry about non-staff members having access to critical business data.
Only pay for services when needed – clients only pay for services and machine upgrades when they are required, a low-touch strategy that works for some. There is usually a price premium for businesses working this way, and it can turn out costly in the end.
Reasons not to choose a break-fix IT support provider
Support only when there’s a problem – Clients call when there is an issue, or an upgrade is required
Dated IT support model – the break-fix model is considered an out-of-date IT support method and doesn’t help with growth planning.
Costly – Break-fix providers charge for everything on an ad-hoc basis – usually at a premium rate – consultation, labour, upgrades and patching. Working in this way makes budgeting for unforeseen issues impossible.
It lacks vision – Because break-fix providers work on a case-by-case basis, they don’t implement preventative measures. Would a consultant who might get called out (and paid) the following week for a similar issue make a settings change that could halt the problem? Probably not!
More potential for downtime – there’s a chance the technician that comes to fix the issue has little or no experience of your network and troubleshooting may take longer as a result
Minor problems can escalate quickly – small issues can quickly escalate due to lack of monitoring, regular contact and reporting.
Choosing the ideal IT support provider
Selecting the best type of IT support provider is not a simple task, there are lots of aspects to consider. Read below for more useful tips.
Decide how technology facilitates growth – Many companies achieve growth without a significant technology investment. These companies are becoming increasingly rare and for the majority of business owners, working with a strategic technology partner is the way forward.
Do your sums – Whether you plan to hire an in-house IT department or outsource IT support, it’s important to know the costs. If you opt for the latter, engage with a reputable IT company and have a frank discussion around costs.
Enquire about certifications, awards and accreditations – In a bid to differentiate service offerings, many IT providers obtain awards and certifications in specific fields such as security, telephony, service delivery and Microsoft technologies.
Talk to peers – Does anyone in your business network have dealings with either type of IT provider? Ask them about the pros and cons and figure out if they align with your plans.
At Network ROI, we’re ready to demonstrate why choosing a managed service provider is the best way forward for progressive organisations. We are among the top 20 UK MSPs on the MSP501 list, a global list of the world’s best and brightest Managed Service Providers. We also boast a wide range of Microsoft Gold and silver competencies as well as being Cyber Essentials Plus certified and IASME Gold Assessor accredited.
Call us on 0131 510 3456 to speak to an IT expert who is ready to make your life with technology easier.