If you are a small to midsized business with more important things to do than monitor, manage and support all of your IT systems and users with full-time employees, you have more than likely outsourced this multifaceted, non-core operating responsibility to a Managed Services Provider or “MSP.”
When you consider rising costs, increasing competition, growing regulatory overreach as well as talent retention challenges and cyber-crime, there are ample reasons to harness the power of a qualified third-party who can address these major pain points with transformational technologies that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive and impractical to implement in-house.
You are also more than likely all too familiar with periodic recommendations from your MSP to upgrade, replace or migrate elements of your infrastructure AKA hardware, software, and cloud applications. Please suspend your skepticism for a moment. This foundational and increasingly scattered technology needs to be highly functional in order for your organization to spend more time with higher value line of business applications like ERP, CRM, Business Intelligence and e-Commerce.
You know who else is all too familiar with periodic recommendations to upgrade, replace and migrate elements of their infrastructure? Your MSP. If your provider is capable of effectively and profitably managing more than 10 fixed-fee clients, they have to live by the same set of rules that apply to you. This includes following their own advice as well as wise counsel offered by their managed services providers, technology vendors and consultants. And they are not getting any “good buddy” discounts.
Many MSPs use an application called Connectwise. It’s Professional Services Automation (“PSA”), ERP, CRM and Business Intelligence wrapped into one. Its relevance to helping IT providers gain operating leverage in order to empower their clients to gain operating leverage cannot be overstated. Not only does Connectwise have to work at peak efficiency; it also needs to be supported by infrastructure that is working at peak efficiency. Each piece has a beginning, a middle and an end within the technology lifecycle. Others are perpetual considerations:
- Laptops have a lifespan of approximately 3 years.
- Workstations have a lifespan of approximately 3-4 years.
- Servers have a lifespan of approximately 3-5 years.
- Operating System upgrades are ongoing and imperative considering today’s security landscape.
- Backup & Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity are 24/7/365 considerations.
- Wireless Access Points have a lifespan of approximately 3-5 years.
- Firewalls have a lifespan of approximately 5-7 years
- Cabling & Wiring have a lifespan of approximately 7-10 years.
- Switches have a lifespan of approximately 7-10 years.
- Internet Security & Compliance is a 24/7/365 consideration.
- Network Operating Center assets need to be moved or upgraded every 2-3 years.
- Primary and secondary Internet connectivity needs to be evaluated and rebid every 2 years to improve price/performance outcomes.
- Software Licensing needs to be evaluated on a regular basis to determine whether perpetual (CAPEX) or subscription (OPEX) is best suited to current requirements.
- Public cloud services like O365 and DropBox are ongoing considerations with options heavily influenced by changing security and integration requirements.
- Battery backup and power must be maintained with primary, secondary and tertiary sources with daily verification. Each must also be replaced with a regular cadence.
Sound complex? Sound hard to keep up with? Sound like a never ending budgetary consideration? It’s all three. It’s also a dynamic process that many providers live and breathe, day after day, year after year. It’s called drinking the same coffee you serve your clients. Why not let your MSP simplify, track, budget and manage the technology lifecycle for you?
The team at Integris® is always glad to be a resource when it comes to sharing time-tested technology lifecycle management expertise. We look forward to lending a hand.