Looking to move your Charlotte business forward with managed IT services? At Complete Network, we can help.
We believe that your technology should drive your business forward. That’s why we operate under the managed IT service model to provide Charlotte, NC businesses with an IT advantage.
Our offerings include:
And more, with engagements crafted to the needs of businesses across the Charlotte metro area. If you’re ready to get started with better tech support, click here to schedule a 15-minute discovery call.
You can learn more about what makes our IT support unique by downloading our Partner Evaluation Guide.
If you’re not sure whether or not managed IT services are right for your business, read on. We’ve built this page to provide insight and answers toward some of the most common questions around managed services.
We’ll answer questions like:
Ready to learn about Charlotte managed IT services? Let’s dive in.
Let’s start with a definition:
Managed IT services are outsourced IT support engagements that are delivered at a fixed cost.
“Managed IT services allow businesses to delegate their IT operations to an expert third-party organization that specializes in handling these responsibilities… According to the (service-level agreement), managed service providers charge a flat fee for delivery of their services over a set period of time.”
Here’s what sets this service model apart.
Importantly, managed services are delivered at a fixed cost.
This is a major upgrade over the traditional break-fix model of IT service for a variety of reasons. First, break-fix motivates IT providers to spend more time fixing more issues, because that’s how the money is made. Conversely, managed IT services incentivize providers to reduce the number of issues in the first place.
Second, break-fix is unpredictable. One month, you might have no IT issues. The next month, you might have a server go down. Scenarios like this make budgeting difficult. Managed IT services, on the other hand, make budgeting simple, allowing businesses to transition IT costs into operational expenses.
But while managed services are predictable, they’re not inflexible.
In fact, managed IT services also introduce the possibility of scalable IT support.
An internal resource is obviously limited. Hiring a new IT employee is a slow and difficult process that still puts a cap on IT capability (it’s just increased by a headcount of one). Mid-sized companies seeking to grow will have a hard time scaling using this process because you can only hire so much and so fast.
But the best managed service providers offer the benefits of an entire team of knowledgeable IT personnel, available as needed, and accessible without the difficulty of the hiring process.
As a business grows, or as complex IT considerations arise, managed IT services make it easy to level-up IT capability accordingly.
Scalability doesn’t just apply in terms of functional, time-based availability (going from 20 hours to 40 hours of support per week, for example). It also applies to the level of expertise that businesses have access to.
Put simply, the best managed IT services give businesses access to experts across areas of IT.
This is a huge advantage over strictly internal solutions because even the best internal employees aren’t experts in everything.
Managed service providers, contrastingly, are able to deliver expertise across a broad spectrum of IT services because they’ve already built up an entire team of technically trained and knowledgeable personnel.
Want to determine if these benefits are right for your business? Read our article, “When Do Managed IT Services Make Sense?”.
With the distinction clarified, let’s dig into the nuts and bolts of managed IT services.
While IT solutions will vary across different facilities and business contexts, here are a few of the standard solutions that Charlotte businesses nearly always need.
In today’s internet-driven age – where so many systems are online and where automation is assumed – it’s crucial that Charlotte firms have robust networks. By robust, we mean that networks that maintain uptime, provide access to the resources needed for work, and remain secure.
It’s worth noting that, increasingly, in addition to the importance of traditional networks, businesses would do well to consider the design, implementation, and maintenance of any IoT networks. Thanks to the variety of machines on these networks, they can sometimes lag behind in security and efficiency – but they’ll only become more important as connectivity becomes more ubiquitous across industries.
Charlotte IT solutions should also support servers and workstations. Most often, these are stored or arranged on-premise in the business’s office space. Accordingly, their support tends to be tied into the support of the building itself.
Increasingly, though, cloud-based servers may be used to run business applications. In 2020, remote work is increasingly common, so office-based employees may be required to (or choose to) work from different locations.
The key is that systems are kept online and running smoothly – and that help is easily accessible whether employees are working on-premise or at other locations.
Finally, managed IT services should include support for specialized systems.
Admittedly, this is a bit of a catch-all; covering every technology option in this space isn’t realistic, but it’s important to note that most Charlotte companies have specialized systems that are tailored to their industry and needs.
These often include systems like:
Obviously, the list above only taps the surface of technology that might be used at a Charlotte business – but the use of specialized technology is a certainty. Managed IT services must take this reality into account.
We’ve introduced several benefits of the managed IT service model so far, but one we haven’t yet covered is increased responsiveness.
This is a key trait in an IT provider – downtime is incredibly costly, and when things break, they need to be fixed fast. So, how do managed IT services compare to other modes of engagements in issues resolution times?
The answer is that they tend to be superior. Here’s why.
Internal employees take vacations. Outsourced IT solutions don’t.
This is a real factor to consider when analyzing IT solutions. Internal personnel will be out of the office during normal working hours. They may schedule a week-long vacation only for the server to go down on day three. That’s worst-case, but it’s not unrealistic.
More commonly, they’ll be out for a day or so – maybe they’ll take a sick day or schedule a long weekend – and urgent needs will have to be sat on until they’re back in. Then, when they are back in, they’ll be stuck crawling through a long queue of ticket requests while more keep piling up.
Managed IT services allow for IT people to take vacations and still have peace of mind. It’s an awesome thing.
A not-so-awesome thing: working nights and weekends. Of course – depending on your business –night or weekend work may occasionally be a reality. Sometimes, it becomes a reality when systems go down unexpectedly on a Saturday and it’s critical that they’re brought back online quickly.
Who can you call?
In these cases, having a managed IT service team available is a big win. Your internal IT person doesn’t want to have to deal with nights and weekends – at an MSP, the responsibility for that support can be spread around so that it’s easier to bear.
Having constant access to support is a huge benefit.
In addition to simply being more consistently available, managed services are also able to have a deeper bench available. In other words, not only can they service more hours of the day – they can also service more requests in the same hour.
An internal IT person can only get to so many requests at a time. If multiple users experience issues, they’ll have to work through things as they happen, causing a queue to build up.
A managed IT service provider, on the other hand, can work on multiple requests at once. There are simply more resources available to help, which translates to shorter ticket queues.
Finally, not only do managed IT services have the ability to support multiple requests at once – they also are able to call in the cavalry for high-urgency or highly complex issues.
While the top MSPs have high first-call resolution rates, meaning that issues are fixed by the first responder, the reality is that sometimes special expertise is needed.
In these scenarios, internal teams may not have an expert readily available. This can lead to delays in issue resolution as outside consultants are found and brought in. Outsourced managed services, though, can call for specialists or upper-level engineers and get things resolved quickly.
If you’re considering Charlotte managed IT services but have internal resources in place, you may be wondering: Can MSPs supplement internal IT? Or is the choice between internal and MSP an either / or proposition?
Good news – yes, MSPs can supplement internal IT. At Complete Network, for example, our C360 Flex options give Charlotte businesses access to specialized support or service in a wide range of capacities.
In general, here are three ways these two modes of support can work together.
One common way that managed IT services can supplement internal teams is to allow for employees to transition to high-fit, high-value roles while managed services provide ticket support – often via helpdesk.
If a firm has a strategic IT person stuck responding to tickets, this is a natural partnership. Many internal such IT resources feel unable to dedicated time to strategy in the midst of constant issue resolution. Supplementing these people with managed services can benefit everyone – it’s a win-win.
Another mode of supplemental IT service is to fill in expertise gaps.
As we mentioned earlier, managed IT firms are able to provide access to experts in a wide range of IT arenas. It’s not uncommon for internal teams to satisfy 80% of IT needs yet find themselves lacking in specific realms of expertise. In these scenarios, instead of hiring for a narrow need, internal teams may benefit from specialized support delivered by a managed services provider.
Finally, managed IT services can supplement internal resources by driving strategy.
In some scenarios, internal resources are best suited to narrower roles; maybe they’re best slotted in as an on-site resource for tickets, or maybe they’d be best dedicated toward servicing a specialized technology.
If this is the case, the best managed IT services can provide expert consulting and strategy, driving technology initiatives in a way that aligns them with business goals.
Essentially, firms that supplement IT in this way step into a vCIO role, offering top-level consulting and guidance. At Complete Network, we offer vCIO services like these.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely considering a managed IT service engagement – but you’ve probably realized there are a lot of providers to choose from.
The following two questions will help you think about how to make a decision on choosing the service provider that will be best for your business.
Businesses come in all different shapes and sizes, so, first, you’ll need to decide exactly what you need out of your IT service.
To begin, you’ll do well to consider the numbers: How many workstations need to be supported? How many servers? How much data will be stored and processed?
If your company is only in need of basic IT services, make sure you look for a service provider that can offer reliable IT systems maintenance.
If your business is using any kind of IT service, chances are you’re also going to need network security and ransomware protection. People tend to assume that only large corporations are at risk of being hacked, but smaller-to-medium sized businesses can be targeted just as often. Any business that handles customer data is vulnerable. If you’re looking into an IT service in Charlotte that appears to meet your needs, make sure security is part of their mix.
There are plenty of IT services to choose from, but you need to take reputation and reliability into account when making your decision.
An unreliable IT service is essentially useless because the whole purpose is for them to increase your productivity and prevent downtime. Ideally, the IT provider you choose has been around for more than five years. An IT service provider in Charlotte with five or more years of experience is going to provide a higher quality service and be more reliable.
To evaluate reputation, you should ask for references of businesses that are similar to yours. Ideally, your managed IT service will have expertise in your industry and a collection of good reviews.
Once you’ve evaluated your managed IT service options, what can you expect from your engagement?
Based on our experience providing proven managed IT services for Charlotte businesses, here’s what working with an MSP should look like.
The groundwork for every good engagement is laid upfront. Without proper communication around needs and expectations, your managed service engagement will suffer. At Complete Network, we make sure to clearly identify your business context so we can provide you with IT services that fit.
Once your needs and goals have been identified, your managed IT service typically moves into a phase of ongoing service and optimization. During this period, you should look to see a high-level of service maintained; all-too-often, engagements start on a high and decline.
At Complete Network, we make sure to provide premier service month in and month out.
Finally, the best managed IT services provide a level of strategy that enables businesses to move beyond viewing technology as a utility to viewing it as an advantage.
At Complete Network, we provide dedicated vCIO services to ensure that you’re getting technology solutions and services that provide your business with an advantage.
Hopefully, the information provided here has been helpful as you consider Charlotte managed IT services.
You can benefit from an ideal managed IT service engagement. And, if you want to make your technology an advantage – you should. The businesses that win over the next decade will win on the basis of optimized technology and support.
If you’re ready to get started, let’s talk.
At Complete Network, we’ve seen too many Charlotte businesses struggle with patchwork IT solutions that cost them in the long run.
We provide dedicated, world-class vCIOs, offer industry leading response times to issues, and deliver high-touch, high-value services.
Let’s completely transform your organization’s technology with strategic IT support that gives you a straightforward roadmap to follow, takes IT off of your plate, and makes your users happy.
Get in touch with us to talk through your IT support needs. Let’s take the first step toward better IT.