If you want someone who can fix a desktop, set up a network and grant access to Office 365, then you might as well hire another IT professional.
However, if you desire talent capable of understanding your business objectives and determining exactly how technology can help you achieve those goals, then you should consider working with managed IT consultants. At the root of it, business-focused ideas are the kind of knowledge managed IT professionals should bring to the table.
In NYC, you obviously have plenty of choices. Yet, just like businesses specializing in other sectors, some managed service providers (MSPs) are more capable than others. What distinguishes the excellent from the mediocre?
They understand how technology impacts your customers
If a consultant can’t succinctly explain why increasing your network bandwidth will benefit your customers, then look elsewhere.
Think of IT as a part of your infrastructure – the offices, manpower, telephones, website and other assets that collectively support your organization’s operations. At the root of it all, the purpose of your infrastructure is to better serve your clientele. Each asset produces a return on investment.
For example, your phone system enables staff to address customer inquiries, pursue prospective leads and coordinate responsibilities. So the return is easy to see.
However, an office manager may not know why his business should migrate to a new database system or monitor servers 24/7. A managed IT consultant should be able to describe how such actions will impact your bottom line. Look for consultants who conduct IT gap analysis. These assessments identify how well your current IT infrastructure complements your day-to-day business objectives.
They augment managed IT with intelligence
Business professionals throw the word “intelligence” around quite a bit, but what does it actually mean?
From a basic perspective, intelligence is the context associated with a given situation.
If your in-house IT team receives a tech ticket to fix Eileen’s computer, does the staff know of any other problems Eileen’s computer had in the past? Having this level of insight could alert the team to a bigger issue: Maybe Eileen needs a new network card?
Seek managed IT consultants who analyze data before making decisions. For example, say your sales and marketing staff use Salesforce to manage customer information. The problem is, because the application’s in the cloud, end-users often report performance issues.
Ideally, your managed IT services consultant should run a series of tests to determine exactly what’s impacting Salesforce’s performance. They may set up test machines at your locations, send files to and from Salesforce, record the bit transfer speed, and conclude that your local networks need more bandwidth. Either that, or they may discover an entirely different issue – it all depends on what the data says.
Overall, make sure your IT consultants understand the big picture. Citigroup ranked NYC as one of the most competitive cities in the world (no surprise there). With this in mind, search for MSPs that understand where your business will need to be in order to stay in the black today, tomorrow and years into the future.