Even though most successful small businesses have already partnered with a managed I.T. services provider (“MSP”) to support all the technology in their business, some are still reluctant to make the switch due to the perceived higher cost. Under the managed services model, businesses pay a predictable fee every month that covers all their technology support needs. Under the legacy “break-fix” model, however, businesses only pay for support when they need it. For this reason, especially for businesses that don’t call on their I.T. provider often, businesses find it hard to justify spending money every month on I.T. services. There is an opportunity cost to not partnering with an MSP, though.
The Hidden Cost of Interruption
It’s easy to ignore how technology interruptions impact a business’s bottom line, but there is a real cost to it. Let’s consider a few common examples with an employee (Jane) that makes $40k per year:
1. Jane logs into her computer at 8:00 am and sees a screen that says Windows needs to finish installing updates. At 8:35 am, Jane can finally log in and start her day.
This interruption just cost the business $11.20.
2. Jane needs to print a report for her boss prior to an important meeting, but the report fails to print because the printer is suddenly offline. Jane restarts the printer and tries again, but it still doesn’t work. She tries to print a document out of a different program on her computer, but it also fails. After 20 minutes of trying to solve the problem herself, she calls her I.T. guy. Fortunately, he’s able to come onsite within the hour. He makes a few changes on Jane’s computer and is able to get the report to print successfully.
This interruption just cost the business $44.80 of Jane’s time, plus $120.00 for the service call.
3. Jane needs to run payroll, but QuickBooks says it needs to update. Jane goes through the 30-minute process to update QuickBooks like normal, but it won’t open her company file afterward. Jane runs the repair utility that QuickBooks recommends for this error message. After another 20 minutes, QuickBooks still won’t open the file. Jane spends 10 more minutes rebooting her computer and trying a couple of last fixes. Unsuccessful, she calls Intuit for help. After an hour and a half of sitting on hold and working with a technician to get QuickBooks fixed, Jane is finally able to log into her company file and start payroll.
This interruption just cost the business $48.00.
In a single month, Jane experienced three small technical interruptions. Each issue only interrupted a small part of her day, but the cost was significant. If we just consider the cost of interruption to Jane and ignore the cost of the field tech that fixed her printer issue, the business lost $104.00 this month.
If the business had been partnered with an MSP, they would have spent $99.00 for the entire month to provide Jane unlimited support. This would have cut the business’s cost for I.T. by 50%. Not only that, but the MSP would likely have prevented all these issues from occurring in the first place. So, the business would also see the benefit of additional productivity from Jane since she wouldn’t have been interrupted.
Increased Productivity Through Efficiency
Partnering with an MSP isn’t just beneficial from the standpoint of having predictable billing for fixing I.T. issues. Mature MSPs, such as Digital Boardwalk, that have developed a sophisticated practice of proactive and preventative services help their clients significantly improve operational efficiency. By routinely performing maintenance on computers to make them run faster and proactively responding to alerts to fix problems before they impact users, the staff can complete their work faster and with fewer interruptions.
Just a tiny 3% increase in productivity for a small business with 10 employees at an average salary of $40k per year covers the entire cost for an MSP to deliver all its support and cybersecurity services. Most small businesses that partner with a mature MSP see productivity increases far in excess of 3%, though.
Increased Employee Satisfaction
Don’t think that technology issues and interruption lead to employee unhappiness and turnover? Think again. According to Adobe Workfront’s State of Work 2021 report:
- 49% of U.S. workers said they are "likely to leave their current job if they're unhappy or frustrated with the technology they use at work."
- A staggering 32% of workers said they had already left a job because the employer's technology "was a barrier to their ability to do good work."
Technology is core to the operations of nearly every business today, and technology issues make for a stressful and frustrating work environment. Businesses don’t just risk losing employees due to poorly managed technology. According to the Adobe Workfront report, people report turning down a job because the business’s technology was out of date or hard to use.
As we explained in a recent blog post, mature MSPs are financially incentivized to reduce technical problems, increase workplace productivity, and support employee satisfaction. Businesses don’t need to worry about holding their service provider accountable for these responsibilities. The MSP literally makes more money if they support these efforts, creating a simple, effective, and mutually beneficial partnership between the MSP and its customers.
The role of a mature managed services provider isn’t just to fix problems. An MSP serves as an extension of your business; a comprehensive “I.T. department” that works with your team day after day. By preventing technical issues, reducing staff frustration, and helping the business plan for technology change, MSPs deliver outcomes that business owners never thought possible while also reducing I.T. overhead and improving the business’s bottom line. It is important that business owners recognize how critical technology is to the success of their business, and partner with mature service providers that share this same understanding. Small businesses are the backbone of the world’s commerce, and mature MSPs are the resource that help catalyze small business success.