Cost reduction is always a major area of concern for small to medium-sized businesses. The growing uncertainty in the economy is forcing business owners to be even more creative to sustain growth and maintain profit margins.
One area of focus is the IT department or use of technology as part of daily business operations. Networks, servers, PCs, laptops, software and related equipment must all be maintained and enhanced to not only ensure business continuity but also enable customer interaction to occur at the highest level.
However, most small to mid-sized firms lack the resources to fully staff an IT department. Often they wait for an emergency to occur before addressing a technology need or incur large project fees for equipment changes and upgrades. They may also be unaware of newer cost-saving programs and hardware, and/or lack the knowledge base of how to implement them.
To deal with these issues many professional technology firms now offer an affordable alternative for smaller businesses. It is a program called Managed Network Services. This service is provided on an outsourced basis. It provides a smaller company with top-of-the-line professional IT services without the costs of employment and related benefits.
For a relatively small monthly fee a business owner is able to receive full professional support including strategic IT planning, 24 x 7 network/server monitoring, help desk, automatic upgrades, backup, consulting, problem solving, and on-site repair as necessary. The infrastructure is constantly monitored to remedy potential problems before they occur.
The firm's engineers can create a plan that addresses a business' technology needs for both now and in the future. They can make recommendations for implementing new software and/or hardware which can help streamline business operations. They can discuss integration of wireless networks and voice, data and video integration on the same shared infrastructure. The team can address mobile devices and how to deal with security issues across multiple wireless platforms.
Cloud services are generating much publicity and businesses are studying their impact. The technology team can determine if adding some of these services is advisable with a company's current IT infrastructure. Utilizing virtualization may not be an alternative for most businesses and many would still need the expertise of professional engineers to ensure their implementation and optimal performance.
Contracting with an IT firm helps companies cope with the desire to purchase the "latest and greatest" hardware or software. It puts a strategic plan in place and eliminates the urge to buy certain programs and waste funds on unnecessary expenditures.
As the need to maintain and increase profit levels becomes more challenging, implementing a Managed Network Services program provides a sound alternative to beefing up staff and fixed expenses. It enables business owners to utilize highly skilled technology professionals in a way that is efficient and extremely cost-effective.