First off, let’s define — from a Managed Service Provider’s (MSP) perspective — what is a small to medium-sized business (SMB).
There is a range to what we consider to be a SMB. From our perspective 100-plus computers or computer users is trending toward the large category and may require a co-managed model of IT support (see below).
At the other end of the spectrum, 15-plus computers or computer users is small-to-medium. Twenty to 60 computer user businesses are the size of the bulk of our clients and has been in that range, historically speaking.
Internal IT, co-managed IT or fully managed IT; determining an appropriate model of support for your small to medium-sized business
Some businesses require specialized internal IT support and management. It may be appropriate to have an individual on staff or a whole department dedicated to managing the technology. However, it may be your best bet to completely hire or partner with an IT firm.
Internal IT departments are responsible for maintaining technology that is critical to the organization’s competitive advantage and the core competency of the company. Key IT personnel are required to work very intensively and focus on those technologies, such as an internal IT manager, for example, who may be focussed on customizing an ERP system for the specific needs of the company.
At the larger end of the small business spectrum, the technical labour requirements of their IT can be significant enough that consideration is given to hiring a full-time employee to dedicate to the IT support roles. The alternatives are having an in-house employee support the organization on a part time basis, while also serving other significant roles. Or a company may outsource their IT support to a company like Smart Dolphins IT Solutions.
Industries with internal IT support
- Very large corporations
Common challenges in internal departments
- Specialization/ongoing professional development
- Lax cybersecurity
- Limited centralized services
- Human resources challenges
The co-managed IT support model
Even when there is a place for in-house IT person, we still see opportunities for organizations to better leverage technology so that they can be more competitive. In addition to our comprehensive IT service, we also offer a solution we call co-managed IT. In this partnership, an employee or department would be responsible for the front line reactive day-to-day service and Smart Dolphins would bring our proactive tools and processes in to support the employee and the rest of the company. We love working with internal IT staff in a co-managed model, where it is appropriate.
This frees up the internal employee to focus on the company-specific technology projects and capabilities. We do this work better, faster and cheaper than the internal technician. This is a great win-win situation for many of our partners, often a “best of both worlds” solution.
Fully managed IT
And of course, Smart Dolphins IT Solutions offers fully managed IT. In this scenario, we become your IT department, a natural extension of your business.
Sure, you may still have someone on staff who is competent to help out with day-to-day IT needs, however, that is also not necessary — so it is your call. Smart Dolphins will manage everything, offer unlimited on-site visits, and unlimited help desk support. However, more importantly, Smart Dolphins assign dedicated staff in specific roles to plan your IT future with long, medium and short-term planning with well-crafted and deeply researched road mapping. The POD, ala dolphin lore, as we call “staff” will also address immediate needs.
We install our tools and technologies during the onboarding process to make sure your infrastructure is set up to run well and have world-class security. There is much to discuss regarding co-managed and fully managed IT support, that we recommend a 40-minute or so meeting to discuss your needs and share with you a bit about what we do.
So, you have your options. The best fit for you will depend on several factors that we can help determine during that first meeting. We are quick to refer you to a more appropriate IT service provider when a fit does not seem to be there.
Simplifying things to offer greater business value
In SMBs, decision-making processes, when procuring technology and support, can result in a misalignment of requirements. These often rather complex processes reduce the time available that a business leader can spend on various other tasks. Overly complex solutions may create roadblocks to delivering great business value.
- Align project to business goals and their outcomes
- Reduce technical debt
- Drive IT staffing and financial savings
- Centralize services to deliver competency, repeatedly
SMBs accelerated initiatives in response to the pandemic and the subsequent demand to work from home or anywhere, for that matter. However, some faced hiccups and hurdles by the existing decision-making processes and ways of working. We leapt three years into the future during early 2020.
In order to develop their digital needs SMBs must apply practices from the evolving processes, such as:
- Implementing a distributed leadership
- Being adaptive in their decision-making processes
- Enabling some level of autonomous working
About Smart Dolphins IT Solutions
During the past 20 years, we have been helping small and medium-sized organizations drive efficiency and productivity by ensuring that their systems are fast, secure and reliable. During this time, we have fine-tuned a very special process of auditing and aligning our clients with world-class standards and best practices.