Using IT Services to Grow Your Business

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IT departments face tremendous pressures. They have to stave off security attacks, guard against outages and keep essential services running 24/7. At the same time, they must stay current with technology and pursue new tech projects that improve services to constituents and make business more streamlined and effective. It does not help that they have to do it all with tight budgets.

An IT Service Provider Can Help

Highly trained specialists from an IT service company can assist businesses in many areas, including assessing their IT needs, designing a customized solution and configuring new purchases to meet their specific requirements. They can also install the equipment, and even monitor, manage and support the technology to ensure that IT operations are up 24×7.

The bottom line is that your IT department can save time and resources if you farm out certain day-to-day tasks, allowing your staff to focus on more strategic areas. We will explain in detail the technology and offerings that IT service vendors offer in six key areas: infrastructure optimization, security management, unified communications, business continuity, mobility, and desktop lifecycle management. But before diving into these areas, let’s first lay out the benefits and basic IT services you can expect from a service provider.

An Introduction to IT Services

If your business is contracting out or looking to contract out some IT services to outside firms, you’re not alone. Organizations are now typically spending more money on IT services annually than they do on hardware and software, and the biggest percentage of their IT services spending is from outsourcing IT management.

A service vendor can help you save money by reducing labour and technology costs. It can augment your staff and give you access to skills or expertise not available in-house. Service vendors typically have a diversity of knowledge and a wide range of experiences with IT issues, and they are proficient with industry best practices. This provides them with the skills and know-how to give you sound advice and take care of your IT needs with solid, cost-effective solutions.

In recent years, some organizations have outsourced all their IT functions to service providers, from data centre and network management to disaster recovery services. But businesses can also engage service providers on a project basis, such as a wireless network installation, or have them take over and manage an operations function, such as help desk support.

There are four basic categories of IT services that are provided by most service vendors: assessment, planning and design; configuration and installation; product lifecycle support; and managed and hosting services.

Assessment, Planning and Design

IT service vendors can assist you from the very beginning of your IT project. They can assess your needs, evaluate your existing technology and then recommend or design a solution that fits your current and future requirements. Some service vendors specialize in particular manufacturers while others can provide you with vendor-neutral recommendations.

Configuration and Installation

After you purchase your products, service providers can configure the products, go onsite to help you implement the equipment or software and test it out to make sure it works. They can do everything from configuring routers to setting up RAID clustering on servers. They can also save your IT staff from performing menial tasks, such as setting up new PCs by loading customized images.

Product Lifecycle Support

Service vendors offer everything, from maintenance contracts where parts under warranty are shipped immediately to onsite staff support including systems engineers, network technicians, and PC and printer repair technicians. Offerings range from four-hour response times for emergencies to next-day, onsite service.
IT service companies can provide you with permanent, semi-permanent or temporary IT staffers. They also offer end-user and IT staff training, either through classroom or web-based courses. And they can assist with asset management and help you coordinate the disposal of hardware at the end of its life.

Managed and Hosting Services

Service providers that own their own data centres can offer a range of managed and hosting services. Hosting services include web and server hosting and remote backup services. Managed services include managing and patching applications that are housed in your own data centre, remote vulnerability assessments and remote monitoring and troubleshooting of your IT systems.

Six Key Technology Areas for Services

Businesses have six key areas where there are great opportunities to utilize IT services: infrastructure optimization, security management, unified communications, business continuity, mobility and desktop lifecycle management. Implementing them correctly can save money, protect data, keep services up and running, and allow an increasingly mobile workforce to stay in touch.

Here are more details on the six key technology areas. For each, this white paper will highlight their benefits, the technologies involved and the types of service offerings by IT service companies.