Historically, the decision-making process for SMBs was more difficult, more carefully weighed. That’s been especially true for small firms who have had a hard time making the mental leap from handling everything in-house to having it managed remotely. But today, more companies seem to be accepting the notion that remote managed services are today’s new norm. Here are three significant factors behind this shift—and why they bring about good news for manufacturers.
1 – More Complex, Global IT Environments
While most manufacturing companies have centralized systems, we’re seeing just the opposite when it comes to support requirements. This can be attributed to the rising number of global companies with global support requirements. Not only do different geographies have software packages implemented to satisfy local regulations, but they also need to be managed in different time zones. For this type of global implementation supported centrally, the once-common scenario of having full-time resources on hand to “keep an eye” on the system is no longer workable.
Also, for many large companies, remote services play a more predominant role from a security perspective. The more security and audit requirements a company has, the greater the need for a “lights-out” data center, or a server or computer room that is geographically isolated at an organization's headquarters. Such data centers typically have limited physical access and simply do not require an onsite resource to be physically present.
2 – Targeted Skillsets Help Lower the Costs
Many companies today cite cost as the most significant factor in making the switch to outsourced services. Why? A remote provider often brings a team with broader skillsets designed to address a wide variety of issues on an as-needed basis. And as IT requirements grow in complexity, companies simply couldn’t afford to employ all the individual resources required to duplicate those skillsets.
When comparing in-house staff to remote outsourcing, there are also hidden costs related to the efficiency of those skillsets. Take, for example, the scenario of an on-site staff member who is hired as a programmer but also tasked with being the all-purpose tech guy; a scenario that often breeds frustration among employees who are expected to take on job roles not matched to their skills. This inevitably leads to high burnout rates and turnover costs related to rehiring and training for those positions. Additionally, those employers are paying for skillsets that aren’t being utilized. Furthermore, they may be missing out on new tools and technological advancements that a remote system provider can often recommend. Such tools can often complete the same jobs of their predecessors in much less time. That leads us to our next point.
3 - More Sophisticated Technology
It seems like ages ago when every office had an on-site tech resource to physically walk over to someone’s desk to investigate an error message that signaled a larger system problem. Nowadays, of course, this need has been largely replaced by automation, with tools that monitor issues, alert the right people, and in some cases, fix those issues automatically.
As these tools become more sophisticated and reliable, client confidence in remote services has steadily risen as well. To stay competitive, many MSPs have upped their game, establishing standard processes that can be implemented across a variety of systems. They are also more motivated than ever to stay on top of the latest and greatest tools and bring those benefits to their customers. This level of sophistication means that MSPs can do much more than reactively resolve issues—they can also assess the long-term health of their clients’ IT environments and offer proactive strategic services such as strategic IT planning for the future.
In today’s manufacturing world, where technology seems to be moving faster than some of us are ready for, there is much to be gained by embracing “new norms.” While remote services are certainly not new, their widespread acceptance reminds us of the underlying benefits that have led to this acceleration. The cost-savings that have already been recognized by large companies for quite some time now is spreading to smaller companies who realize their money is better spent on higher-value initiatives—and the growing sophistication of MSPs and their role as a strategic partner is something that companies of every size can benefit from for years to come.