3 Advantages Of Outsourcing Your IT Management

3 Advantages Of Outsourcing Your IT Management

Technology has turned business into a do-it-yourself platform. With a small amount of research, you can find just about anything you’re looking for. A new client management system, a data storage application, marketing tools, data security software … in no time at all you can piece together an elaborate system for your business.

Yet gathering the tools needed to do a job isn’t the same as managing it effectively. Choosing resources and tools can get complicated, but figuring out how they all work best together can be daunting in the best of times. Throw in a little trouble and it can turn life into chaos in short order. And if your company doesn’t have the wherewithal to keep up to date on everything, the risk magnifies.

Some processes within your business make sense to keep in-house, keep propreatary. Others, not so much.

There are many advantages to outsourcing your IT support to an IT provider.

Get access to top-notch experts
A company’s economic resources can only be stretched so far. And depending on your budget allotment, your IT costs are often capped for basic needs. It’s expensive finding and keeping good people, training them adequately to handle all levels of tasks, researching to find the best applications for the company’s needs, and securing everything to keep the company’s data safe. By outsourcing to an IT consulting expert, you’ll have all you need to manage properly sophisticated infrastructure, security and maintenance requirements to keep your technology in top shape.

Reduce in-house costs
Organizations that attempt to do all IT services themselves have much higher costs in all areas, including research, development, maintenance and implementation. To have someone on staff who is knowledgeable in all fields, you must pay them well and keep them trained. Outsourcing allows you to have access to the most up to date information when you need it most. Have a data breach? Help is a phone call away. Need advice for upgrading your system? That same phone call provides you access to top information for quick results. Very few problems are new to an expert IT consultant. Because they work with a variety of companies on an ongoing basis, they have access to all kinds of support and training every day of the week. When a problem arises with your organization, chances are they’ve handled similar situations in the not-so-distant past.

Allocate internal resources better
Hiring is a constant battle of finding the right employee and keeping them happy and well trained. If you run a medical practice, for example, hiring the best doctor is important. She’s what brings people in. She’s what brings in the money.

Yet IT is what makes your business function. IT isn’t your business, yet you can’t operate without it. Outsourcing gives your company the ability to act “big” by giving you access to technologies used by the largest organizations in the industry. It allows you to stay on top of trends, have access to the best systems money can buy.

Your resources are best utilized when focusing them on what you do best. Outsource your IT to a knowledgeable management company and the best will be a phone call away.

Think outsourcing IT is the right next step for your growing company?

5 IT Strategies To Put In Place For 2016

5 IT Strategies To Put In Place For 2016

Perhaps no department has undergone more change in the past few years than IT.

And change is far from slowing down. Every day new technologies fall into place, allowing businesses to work faster, better, and far more efficiently than ever before. But with change comes both opportunity and threat.

This is the year to take the reins and move forward with effectiveness. Lead with innovation instead of reacting to problems. Become focused on improvement rather than fixing what no longer works. With these IT strategies in place, you’ll help your organization be far more successful in everything it does.

1. Budget for growth and innovation
Far too many companies today discover the majority of their IT budget is used to maintain the system already in place. Which means very little is left to invest in innovation. Take a look at your budgeted allotments. Chances are they are being trapped by band-aid solutions that no longer meet your needs. You’ll find underutilized storage resources, unproductive data centers, labor intensive integration requirements, to name just a few. With this endless list of systems, processes and supply vendors, inadequacies are in abundance. If you’re willing to reinvent your system, and tackle the entire issue in a fresh new way, you’ll find simple ways to transfer spending allocations to things that make a difference immediately.

2. Build systems for the engagement economy
The IT department has the benefit of being involved in every aspect of a business, from manufacturing to production, to marketing, to customer delivery. Technology is built in everything we do. Yet operations are often are often pieced together because of demand, giving various levels of access and security depending on the situation. While traditional systems provided results on an as needed basis, the future will be built around engagement at all levels in all kinds of ways. How can you construct a system that allows more to be done and transferred from place to place? If front-office can be merged with back-office systems, creating more transparent flow-thru processes, business will win every time.

3. Shape your IT structure for the future
Think back to a short five years ago. Could you have predicted the way we use technology today? In some cases, things change fast enough that it’s hard to see what’s coming next. But in most cases, we update and merge technologies together to meet our bottom line objectives. We don’t think about how a new program or app fits our overall intentions, rather how well it will help us complete the task at hand. Instead, look at every addition as how well it will help build a strong base for the organization. How can it merge with existing programs to meet evergrowing needs? What new technologies are being added that can replace and make the overall process even better? A fresh new perspective can often help lead the way to better choices to help you now and in the future.

4. Upgrade your cloud strategy
Without question, cloud computing is one of the strongest transformations currently provoking change within an organization. Your employees are leading the way. They have a need, find a solution, and download it to every device they use. Then you’re left to navigate the environment that is created. If you’re still viewing your cloud strategy based on a plan written years or even months ago, you may be missing the most crucial pieces. Social, customer engagement, analytics, and security are all changing at warp speed. Cloud projects will continue to impact deeply the value of a company and how well they fare against their competition. IT leaders who focus on transforming cloud projects to encompass all aspects of the business will come out on top.

5. Lead with innovation, standardize integration
From the dawn of the Internet age, IT managers have been experts at finding technology to perform individual functions, then integrating, testing, modifying, patching, upgrading and monitoring them over and over again to make them do the required work. It worked, for awhile. What’s left in its path is poorly structured applications that can’t perform at peak levels. That’s where innovation comes into play. Non-standard integration methods and hodgepodge setups no longer work as systems become increasingly complex. While application integration will remain a crucial and viable part of business, learning the new “standard” for integration will transform today’s IT leaders.

The future is coming quicker than you think. The only question is how prepared you’ll be once we get there.

What Being Cloud Based Means For Data Recovery

This was the year you made the switch. With a lot of effort, you switched your entire structure to a cloud based system. And things are running smooth.

You are happy with a cloud based business model. The benefits are many. No longer do you have to worry about servers being in your office. Your data is virtual and distributed.

Unfortunately, a lot of managers fall into the trap of thinking out of sight, out of mind. Once a cloud provider is chosen, the upkeep is in the provider’s hands. No more worries on your part. What could possibly go wrong?

While moving to a cloud based system brings a number of advantages to your business, keep in mind that many cloud based systems offer no guarantees of availability or recoverability. Clouds can go down, data can be lost, connections between applications can be broken. It’s technology.

Instead, the cloud merely changes your approach to data recovery. You had a data recovery plan in place with your traditional, on-site system. That need won’t change as you switch to a cloud based system. Without a cloud based recovery plan in place, it’s not a matter of if, but when a disaster will occur.

Ask most business managers what their greatest risk of having to activate a data recovery plan is and you’ll most likely see natural disasters at the top of the list. Yet reality tells a different tale.

Hardware failures cause the biggest problems, occurring in about 55 percent of all downtime events. Human error is next at about 22 percent. Compare that to natural disasters occurring only about 5 percent of the time.

Before cloud computing, creating a data recovery plan usually meant backing up to either tape or disk. And while it worked for the times, there were obvious drawbacks. It’s difficult to set up, difficult to keep up to date, and may be difficult to recover entire distributed multi-site workloads. And disks aren’t necessarily secure.

The cloud has changed everything. Through virtualization, the entire server can be captured and copied or backed up to an offsite data center within minutes. This includes the operating system, applications, and all data in one convenient package. You can take it and store it multiple places, anywhere. And because it is encapsulated into one bundle, recovery times can be improved drastically over load times of more conventional approaches.

Sounds easy? It can be. But only if you create the plan before you have the need, and make sure you implement it and keep the process active on a continual basis.

With a little bit of work and advanced planning, you can be protected against almost anything that can deter you from running your business efficiently in the cloud. Not sure how to set it up? That’s where we can help.

Does your company have a cloud based data recovery plan?

How To Make Tough Decisions

How To Make Tough Decisions

Leadership has its benefits.

It can also become one of the most difficult jobs to have, especially when faced with some of the toughest decisions of your life.

Things like firing someone, downsizing an office, or even canceling a project can increase a leader’s stress tenfold. Not to mention the added turmoil that comes along with it if the decision winds up blowing up in your face.

What’s a leader to do?

Like everything in business, decisions don’t have to be made through gut instinct (although that sometimes helps). Instead, a few simple questions can guide you to not only making a tough decision, but also support the results as well. Ask yourself:

How will this decision effect the people?
A decision is never just about the leader; it ripples down and impacts the entire company. A decision may only effect one person immediately – firing a person, for example – but ultimately it will impact a variety of people throughout the workplace. Consider everyone your decision will touch. Will it improve morale or hurt it? Will it make the office better or worse? How long will it take to implement the decision and who will be a part of the process? The more thought you put into the decision as you are finalizing it, the easier implementation can be.

Who can I trust to help me make this decision?
Every great leader has a strong support system behind him or her. Who can you trust to give you advice? Find people to support you in many different ways. Not every person will be able to provide the same perspective in different situations. But as you lean on people and discover their strengths, don’t be afraid to call upon them to provide you with the details you need to finalize your decision making process. Choose your mentors wisely. Reach out and find support for different aspects of your life. From coaches to friends, mentors and allies, all are important assets in a leader’s Rolodex. Nothing can allow you to make a better decision than knowing you have the right partner by your side, providing you with the right amount of information you’ll need to make an educated decision.

What are the facts? Am I allowing emotions to get in the way?
It’s hard to make decisions when your heart gets in the way. A great leader must learn to separate facts from emotions when finalizing a decision. Emotions can sway an argument. Facts never lie. Gather enough facts about a situation to make a clear judgment call, then use them to support your actions.

Is this the right decision?
Each of us has an internal set of guidelines, morals, that help guide us every day. Sometimes we make decisions based on what we think is right; sometimes we make them based on what we know is right. Who has influenced you to make this decision? Are you implementing it based on orders from top management? Do you feel it’s the right decision for the situation? Don’t just take action based on orders. It’s much easier making a decision and living with the results when you know your actions match your inner judgment.

How can I back my decision?
Once a decision is made, a great leader will have to face his critics. Some will love and support a decision; some will not. Yet once a decision is made, it’s more important than ever to have a clearly defined path – a vision of the future – and stay true to course to move forward and upward. Keep your support system close, and remind people of the ultimate goal throughout the process.