Change is constant, but no CEO could have predicted the scale of recent change. Global markets, supply chains and talent pools have all been fractured, with no sign of letting up. Growing work from home practices have also put business leaders on the spot. In fact, “74% of business leaders shared that some form of flexible work arrangement will become more permanent.”
Digital-first businesses – those with at least 51% digital or cloud-based tools since inception – are weathering the storm better than most. Cloud solutions along with business IT support allow them to pivot with change with very little effort.
The benefits of being digital-first don’t stop there: “Four out of five SMBs cited increased productivity as a benefit of being digital-first, followed by increased profitability (66%), and offering a better customer experience (62%).” While a digital-first approach is a proven advantage, it requires advanced skills and tools to manage it. For today’s CEOs facing pressure on multiple fronts, that’s a burden they can do without but are all too often sucked into. That’s where business IT support will help.
For people to work at their best, they must have the right tools and access to information, at the time and place they want on the device they choose. And the whole process has to be fast, seamless and secure. The problem is that disparate legacy tools and apps were not designed for the level of teamwork and integration required today. Multiple log-ins, dispersed data storage, and clumsy, time-consuming processes will impede business and cause staff frustration. Not only that, but redundant systems and subscriptions could also be costing the business money.
The right tools along with speed and convenience of use will drive productivity, efficiency, and promote staff and customer satisfaction.
With cloud, one platform and one log-in allows you to use multiple applications, collaborate and share ideas with ease, all the while keeping track of information. The benefits of collaborative tools in Office 365 are a great example of how collaborative tools can increase productivity. Another benefit of cloud solutions is that they can be accessed via the internet from anywhere. Work at home staff can avoid going through the business network via a VPN, which would often result in a bottleneck.
As Steve Ranson, CEO at IT Smart Solutions points out: “cloud makes your users more productive because it’s fast, easy access, always on and very secure.” However, there are two issues with the cloud and they both revolve around how it’s set up and managed. Firstly, many businesses aren’t getting as much value from the cloud as they should be. Cloud solutions can be fine-tuned to suit your specific needs, but many businesses don’t realise that their default settings are meant to be reconfigured.
Secondly, many businesses manage their own cloud solutions and aren’t getting the best return for the time and effort they put in. They either don’t have the appropriate resource in-house or their IT manager is not skilled in cloud configuration.
A managed IT services company will offer the latest tools, technologies and intelligence to keep your business running smoothly. You also benefit from their experience and insight from their work across multiple clients. It’s no wonder then that these skills are currently in short supply. It’s also interesting to note that the cost of hiring in-house IT resource has increased far more than the cost of business IT support, making outsourced IT services a no-brainer.
At its most basic level, managed IT services ensures a level of standard across your network and hardware. This is done through:
The last points highlight how dangerous it can be for unskilled staff to manage IT. As an example, a professional services company experienced several coordinated and sophisticated cyber-attacks that resulted in funds fraudulently being diverted during a property settlement through a cyber attack. After reaching out to us for help, we tailored a fit for purpose Smart Security solution which stopped the attacks in their tracks and the business has not seen a single compromise since they engaged us over a year ago. Read the case study here.
On top of maintaining the day to day operations of managing a business’s IT and security, managed IT services can help companies take full advantage of cloud solutions already included in their Office 365 subscription. Today’s cloud technologies are constantly evolving. New services are being launched regularly, and at the same time, industry standards and regulations are changing.
Professional business IT support can help you navigate the maze and position you for success in the future. In addition, it can enable you to extract maximum value from the services you already have. For example, there are many productivity enhancing features in Office 365 that many businesses aren’t taking full advantage on, such as:
As we’ve seen, Cloud solutions are empowering business as never before. But to really harness their full benefits, it’s vital to set them up properly from the beginning. A common mistake with smaller businesses is to think they can do it themselves. They can – up to a point. But when the business grows, they soon find their IT isn’t growing with it. They then have to go back and correct their course. The business founders get trapped in an ongoing loop of fixing technology issues when they should be focusing on growing the business.
This is especially true for security. Many small businesses think they’re too small to be a target. But there’s no such thing with cyber criminals. That’s why it’s so important to consider security from day one. The fact is, it’s much cheaper, safer and less disruptive to set up technology properly from the beginning. So that when the business does grow, it’s supported at every step.
IT Smart Solutions has been helping businesses grow and prosper through enterprise level support at a small business price. We can do the same for you. Find out why our managed services could be your best investment for the future.
Book a discovery call today.