As your business grows the time will likely come when you will ask yourself, “Should I hire someone to manage my IT or should I outsource the task to a third party provider?” When a company lacks a dedicated IT department, the responsibility of maintaining computers and related equipment and software frequently falls to a tech savvy staff person whose actual role within the organization has little or nothing to do with managing technology. These individuals often have a passion or personal interest in technology. They are power users who enjoy troubleshooting technical problems and helping other users make the most of their technology.
Such was the case at Triangle Enterprises. Triangle Enterprises is a privately-owned, multifunctional corporation headquartered in centrally-located Paducah, Kentucky. The company is regarded as one of the fastest growing construction specialty service organizations in the southeast. Technology plays a significant role in driving operational success.
Kent Buchanan, Vice President of Estimating and Support Services, is Triangle’s power user. He joined the team in 1985 and is the individual largely responsible for the company’s ascent into the computer age. During his tenure, Kent has computerized the company’s accounting and estimating departments. He’s also written computer programs to aid in project management, material fabrication, equipment tracking and estimating tracking. It was not long before IT became a full-time job for Kent, and he was forced to spend his days managing the infrastructure and nights catching up on the job he was hired to do. “I was in situations where I had to ask myself, ‘Do I finish this multi-million dollar bid, or do I fix the issue that is causing downtime for 10 people in the office?’ The answer was always, ‘do both,’ explains Kent.
Individuals like Kent are certainly assets to their organizations, but businesses need more. Managing an IT infrastructure is a complex matter. First, there’s the day-to-day maintenance of your hardware and software assets. That, alone, can require a lot of time and expertise. Then you have antivirus, security and data backup needs to consider. When you think about your business’ IT, you must think beyond, “How do I fix these things when they break?” You should be thinking, “How can I get the most return from my investment into these resources.” Only an IT professional can assist you with that.
Hiring an Internal IT Support Team
Some businesses choose to hire an individual (or team) to serve as their dedicated IT support. There are benefits to having dedicated IT professionals on your payroll.
When you hire your own internal staff, these individuals are dedicated solely to your business. Because their focus is only on your business, they will develop a clear understanding of your business and its goals. As a result, they will help you develop a strategy for the best use of IT in your organization. If something breaks, you don’t have to wait in line for a fix as you might if you outsourced your IT service to a third party provider. In addition, you free any additional “power users” you may have had managing your IT to concentrate solely on the job you hired them for, thus improving workplace productivity.
Hiring an internal staff member to manage your IT has its limitations.
Computers break – a lot. The more tools and users you have, the more things are going to break. A proactive approach to maintaining your computers and network is much more beneficial than a reactive, break-fix approach. An internal resource’s time will be limited. If your internal resource is forced to spend the majority of his or her time putting out fires and fixing problems, he or she is unable to dedicate the time necessary to complete the preventative maintenance tasks that help keep problems from occurring in the first place. This lack of time also prevents the resource from exploring ways to improve the use of technology in your environment. There simply is not time for that and thus your IT remains an expense rather than an asset for your company.
Outsourcing IT Support to a Third Party
When you outsource your IT Support to a third party provider, you have access to a team of individuals with a broad skill set and experience you are unlikely to get from hiring a single individual. In addition, help desk support is always available. Internal staff members get sick and take vacations. Outsourced IT providers employ multiple individuals on their help desk so there is always someone available to take your call. Because they serve multiple clients, however, your help desk tickets are likely to be triaged in order of priority. You may have to wait for the repair of a low priority item as your provider tends to the priority needs of another client.
Partnering with an outsourced provider has additional benefits as well. IT Providers have in-depth, hands on knowledge on a wide range of technology solutions. Some even specialize solely in supporting a specific vertical market. As a result, they are experts in recommending and implementing solutions that directly align with business strategy. They can advise you on best practice while also helping you to avoid mistakes when selecting and implementing new solutions. Access to this level of expertise can shorten implementation time saving your business in terms of both time and money. Such expertise is also helpful in ensuring you are getting the most from your existing IT resources.
The Hybrid Approach
The best of both worlds may be a hybrid approach to IT management where you employ internal resources and engage the services of a third party provider. Many of Kalleo’s clients are structured in this manner and the outcome is the best of both strategies.
We have met a number of very talented IT professionals who are yearning for the opportunity to go beyond day to day firefighting and spend their time, instead, to find ways to help their management team reach their business goals through strategic use of their technological tools. When those clients partner with Kalleo, they are able to outsource the preventative maintenance of their IT assets as well as help desk support for problems that cannot be prevented. The company still has the benefit of having an onsite IT pro to handle any emergencies requiring immediate, hands-on assistance. The remainder of their time is spent streamlining the use of existing technologies and seeking new tools to help their employers reach their business goals and gain (or maintain) their competitive edge.
Triangle Enterprises Improves Productivity with Kalleo Managed IT Support Services
Triangle chose to hire Kalleo as its managed IT Support provider. Kalleo monitors and manages Triangle’s network with preventative maintenance in mind so that outages are minimized by catching problems and vising them before they become serious issues. Help desk support is provided to end users for problems that cannot be prevented.
Over the first year, Kalleo worked 363 service tickets for Triangle with approximately one third of those tickets being issues Kalleo’s sophisticated toolset proactively identified and resolved before an end user was impacted. “Those tickets from the past year represent 363 problems I did not have to solve,” says Kent. Today, the number of service tickets generated has declined significantly as Kalleo has stabilized the health of the network environment, and its proactive monitoring tools are preemptive in making adjustments to the environment to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
Kalleo also serves as a virtual CIO to Triangle, helping the company to stay on top of new and emerging technologies. “Technology changes so rapidly. It’s hard to stay on top of new products and know the best time to act with regard to emerging technologies. We are dependent upon the team at Kalleo to help guide us toward the products and offerings that would be beneficial to our company to help us remain competitive,” Kent explains.
To learn more about Triangle Enterprises and their use of Kalleo’s Managed IT Support Services, download the full case study.
Your IT assets have the power to enhance the efficiency of your staff, provide timely data to improve decision-making, enhance service to your customers and make your business more profitable, but you cannot achieve any of those benefits without an IT strategy and tools that are properly maintained and working for you. IT should never be relegated as merely a task on someone’s to-do list. I encourage you to take control of your environment by finding a partner to help you transform your IT from a cost center to the profit center it is meant to be.