In many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the ‘IT Person’ is the employee who knows the most about computers. He or she does their regular job and are the go-to person for all things tech. Small and medium-sized firms who are lucky enough to have a real ‘IT Person’ probably count on that person for everything from day to day IT support to keeping the copier and fax machines running to social media marketing. For most SMBs, one of these arrangements might be enough to keep business running smoothly. For others, it could be a recipe for disaster – particularly as we become more and more dependent on digital technology.
Consider a small real estate office of 5 or 6 people:
By nature, real estate is a mobile business. No agent ever made any money sitting at a desk. Real estate brokers are bound by law in confidentiality, fiduciary responsibilities, and record retention. In the pre-digital days, there were locked fireproof file cabinets, ledger books, and paper bank statements. Property listings went into a big fat book that was printed on paper every other week, and customer contact information was in a roll-a-dex. Today, all of the above is digital.
Even the smallest real estate office needs to consider the security of its customer records, confidentiality to those customers, the reliability of its Internet connection, and the functionality of phones, computers, and computer software. Another consideration is communication between the office, customers, and agents in the field. How real estate professionals ever survived without cell phones is a mystery. Today’s technology allows for synchronization between desk phones and cell phones, and with a basic Internet connection and a hosted phone system at the office, an agent can have a ‘desk’ phone at his or her home.
Cloud technologies can address just about every one of these operational requirements, but does an office this size have the technological expertise to manage the components, and provide 24/7 monitoring? Probably not.
Even if this firm could afford a full time IT person, 24/7 monitoring and support would be a stretch and it’s unlikely that one person would have expertise in every program or application necessary to the office. This is where contracting a managed service provider could save money and provide peace of mind.
So, just what does Managed Services mean?
In simple terms, a Managed Service is provided by a third party contractor, the Managed Service Provider (MSP), who is responsible for the operation of the information/technology systems for a company. The business owner contracts for and pays a set monthly fee for this service based on a service level agreement (SLA). The SLA spells out what services are to be provided and how the delivery of those services will be measured. As technology advances, more and more Managed Service offerings are cloud-based. Next week we’ll look at some of those services more closely.
Managed Services Consultation
If you are considering a Managed Service solution, it may be beneficial to schedule a complimentary Managed Services Consultation with one of our IT experts.
This obligation-free assessment can help you:
- Establish your existing technology environment.
- Determine your business’s unique technology needs.
- Find the most cost-effective solutions.
- Gauge your ability to manage those solutions.