Managed network services is more challenging than most people think it is. You know that though, don’t you?
Well guess what? You’re fired!
And thank goodness for it! There are a few truisms in life, and I believe one of them is that no matter how easy something may appear on the surface; it’s almost always at least twice as hard to actually do it (and twice as hard is just for starters). This is even truer when it comes to things that we’ve done some variation of before.
Cooking for example. Most of the people that will read this regularly (or at least sometimes) cook for your family – and are probably pretty good at it. Well, a few months ago I caught an episode of MasterChef (the show that takes home cooks that we all watch cook – or disastrously don’t cook – delicious food creations). It made me think about the times I’ve been to a restaurant, looked at my plate, and thought, “I could make this.”
But then chef Gordon Ramsey came on the screen and started cooking one of his dishes. There were five ingredients: pancetta, scallops, parmesan cheese, peas, and quail eggs. I watched him shell and pan-sear the scallops, perfectly fry the quail eggs, melt the cheese, crisp the pancetta, puree the peas while cooking whole peas, and put it all together into an amazing-looking dish. Guess how long it took him – 15 minutes.
Then that whole, “I could make this” thought was replaced with, “I would still be trying not to crush one of the quail eggs.”
Likewise, men – many of whom can barely hang a picture straight, will walk through a hardware store and (all hopped up on the close proximity of power tools) think. “I could totally build that deck.”
Behind Simplicity Hides Knowledge and Complexity
OK, I do have a point and it’s beyond sharing my TV viewing habits and poking a hole in the collective male ego. The point is this: when someone makes a task appear easy; there is almost always years of practice, study, and knowledge hiding behind that “easy.”
That’s why all of us aren’t GREAT at everything and why we don’t do everything ourselves all the time. Families will cook for themselves or each other, but will go to restaurant for a special occasion (like an anniversary) because, the chef in the restaurant – for most of us – is better at cooking than we are and has more resources, ingredients, and techniques to create that delectable dish. And even though you might think you’re cutting cost by building your own deck, in the long run, it’s more cost-effective (and structurally sound) to just outsource a team of people who know exactly what they’re doing.
Either way, most of us outsource the things we aren’t best at so that we can relax in the knowledge that we’re in good hands, and so that we don’t have to worry about charring the anniversary dinner or about that slight wobble when the deck is walked on.
Are you still trying to do it yourself when it comes to your various document output, internal network, and information technology needs? Do you have a wobbly IT deck?
Outsource Your IT Needs
There aren’t many people that believe that managing information technology today is an easy task, yet we see companies (understaffed companies) continue to try and develop in-house knowledge and expertise to manage their infrastructure. The amount of time and energy being spent attempting to develop that knowledge and expertise could and should be being spent focusing on what makes their company different. Your network and your copier machines aren’t your competitive advantage; they enable your competitive advantage.
There are two areas I’d encourage you to investigate outsourcing, in whole or part, to a third-party: your office equipment (multifunction printers/copiers, printers, and fax machines) and your network, commonly referred to as IT managed services.
Essentially, managed print services is handing over the reigns of managing your copiers so that you pay for each copy output from your equipment. These are not simple machines. With thousands of moving parts in the largest devices, they are complex and require regular maintenance (maintenance that service technicians underwent training for in order to be able to fix and troubleshoot). Now the internal IT staff doesn’t have to be diverted to ensure the copier or copy machine remains in service.
Secondly, your office network is essentially dial tone. Much like a phone is considered a standard item in the workplace, so is your network. However, there’s a shortage of IT talent out there. And, it’s hard to find the expertise to be sure you have the right level of bandwidth, monitoring for security and uptime, backup, etc. Other companies develop the expertise and resources to deliver this as a service – another task you don’t have to do yourself.
If you’re struggling to find the time to manage all or part of your business’ information technology infrastructure, take some time to discover what these managed services can offer you.