Managed Services: An SME’s ICT Solution?

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As eBusiness grows and companies produce more data at an exponential rate, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may find it difficult to handle information and communications technology (ICT) on their own. Outsourcing deals are becoming extremely popular among large companies, but SMEs can find the price of such contracts prohibitively expensive. Even if an SME is interested in procuring an outsourcing deal, it can be difficult because most suppliers don’t find a business proposition from an SME as attractive as one from a large company.

There is a middle ground between opting for an outsourcing supplier and handling things in-house: managed services. Outsourcers take control of all the services for a business, while managed services firms only handle parts of the IT infrastructure. Storage on demand is a good example of a managed service, providing its clients with more storage capacity when needed.

Storage on demand can be a boon for SMEs if they want to reduce costs and avoid expenditures. While packaged services such as utility computing have been generating more hype, managed services allow an SME to pay for only what they need– not the entire package. Storage on demand is especially useful when SMEs only need the extra capacity for a short period of time. Rather than having to buy the storage, it’s now possible to hire it.

Experts warn, though, that signing an extended contract for storage on demand may not be the wisest investment. Prices may drop if the concept continues to grow in popularity, and getting stuck in a contract with inflated prices is bad for business.

While the major reason managed services are good for SMEs is cost, there are more complex benefits to it. IT is an incredibly complex field, and it’s only becoming more complicated (and necessary) as technology progresses. Most companies don’t have the know-how to manage their ICT, and by delegating portions of it to a managed services firm, they can focus on their strengths instead.

A good firm should have both expertise and resources, but as managed services become more popular, it will become more and more important to make sure the firm knows how to handle critical situations. Whenever entering into a business agreement, it’s key to research the firm and don’t be afraid to ask them how they’d handle different situations.

There are many more benefits for SMEs to take advantage of managed services, but the cost and expertise are good enough reasons on their own.

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