IT systems are the digital bedrock of most modern businesses, serving as a vital foundation for internal processes, and essential to the smooth delivery of customer services. The management of this vital business function is critical to the success of any business, whether you’re a small start-up, or a medium-sized company with numerous office locations.
As organizations grow, so to do their IT systems. With expanding networks, dozens of applications, cloud infrastructure and countless devices to manage, secure and support, managing IT in-house can be no easy feat for a growing company. Faced with this challenge, many Dubai businesses turn to IT support providers; but should you outsource, what are the benefits of doing so, and how should you go about finding the right IT support provider for your business?
In this article, we aim to answer these questions, and provide a short guide to help you embark on your IT outsourcing journey with confidence. Here’s the why, how what and when of outsourcing IT support in Dubai.
Why You Should Outsource Your IT Support: The Benefits
Outsourcing your IT means delegating some or all responsibility for the management and support of your business technology to a third party: an IT support provider or a managed service provider (MSP). Information technology is one of the most widely outsourced business functions, partly because many business owners don’t have the time or experience required to manage their IT, and also due to the fact that it simply makes good business sense. Here are a few key reasons why IT support outsourcing is the shrewd option for SMEs:
Access to Diverse Skills and Experience
IT outsourcing gives your business access to a broad range of technical specialisations and experience, from network security and cloud computing to database management, hardware maintenance and much more. This ensures you’re able to get the advice and support you need to tackle a pressing issue, which may not be available with a small, in-house team.
By outsourcing your IT, you avoid having to hire, onboard and train a contingent of in-house engineers and technicians. Experienced engineers command high salaries, which can present a huge cost burden for cash-strapped SMEs. Outsourcing lets you sidestep the costs, stresses and workloads involved in managing an internal IT team.
24/7 Helpdesk Support that’s Working When You Are
Sometimes those challenging projects require you to work late, or maybe you’re meeting a client overseas, and need access to your files at a time your office isn’t open. In the fast-paced Dubai business world, you need IT support that’s working when you are. The best IT support providers offer 24/7 helpdesk support by default, ensuring that that can get the help you need, whenever you need it.
An IT support provider will work hard to maximise the availability of your digital systems, and minimise the glitches, errors and system defects that lead to IT system downtime. This is largely achieved through remote monitoring and management (RMM). RMM allows IT providers to remotely undertake a wide variety of IT tasks, including the installation of security patches, network performance optimisation, data backup management, security management and monitoring for hardware anomalies and connectivity issues. By detecting potential issues before they’re able to manifest as business-critical outages, IT support providers can intervene at an early stage to prevent costly and disruptive IT downtime.
Leverage the Latest Technologies
IT support providers often play a pivotal role in helping their clients embrace digital innovation. Thanks to partnerships with leading technology vendors, IT providers can provide an affordable pathway to cutting-edge digital solutions, in addition to migration management, support, and aftercare. By partnering with the right IT support provider, your business will have a digital adoption partner who’s skilled in deploying, managing and configuring the best solutions around the complex and varied requirements of your business.
Scalable Support that Adapts to Changing Needs
Changing the terms and scope of your IT support contract is as simple as picking up the phone. IT support providers can tailor their services around the quirks of your business, and adapt their offering to suit your changing demands. In many cases they’ll also be willing to work alongside an in-house team, in what’s known as a co-management arrangement.
Running an in-house team can work well when the IT workload is steady, but when sudden changes come along, you could find yourself forced to hire or fire staff in line with changing demands. IT outsourcing affords greater flexibility, enabling you to access cost-effective support that adapts around you.
Focus on Your Core Competencies
Your sales team shouldn’t be spending valuable time troubleshooting IT problems, and neither should you. By outsourcing your IT support and management, you offload the burden of IT concerns to the technology experts, giving you more time to focus on running your business, building quality customer relationships, and making those strategic decisions that enhance your bottom line.
How to Choose the Right IT Support Provider
The Dubai IT support marketplace is be crowded and competitive, with numerous providers vying for your attention. So how can you separate the best from the rest, and focus in on the IT support companies that offer the best value proposition for your business. Here are some factors to consider…
Will they be able to scale with you as you grow?
Look for a provider with the capacity to support your business both now and in the future. When reaching out to prospective providers, ask about companies they currently support, making sure to enquire about the number of PCs (or ‘seats’) they typically manage.
Consider Your Needs and Top Priorities
It’s important that you choose a provider that closely aligns with your IT priorities and requirements. For example, are you looking for mainstream IT support, or do you require elevated cybersecurity expertise to help you manage sensitive data and complex compliance requirements? If the bulk of your IT assets are in the cloud, you’ll benefit from an IT support provider that specialises in Cloud service management and security. Create a ranked list of your primary IT concerns, and use this as a basis for conducting your search.
Ensure the SLAs Meet Your Expectations
A service level agreement (SLA) sets out service level expectations across a variety of deliverable elements, including, for example, response and resolution timeframes, uptime guarantees and escalation protocols. By examining the finer details of the SLA, you gain an understanding of the scope and quality of the IT services on offer, and you ensure the prospective provider is able to serve your business in line with your expectations.
Do they have a strong cybersecurity focus?
It’s vital to choose an IT support provider that’s able to offer an adequate level of protection to your business, particularly if you handle data of a sensitive nature that requires tighter security controls and management. Enquire about the network security protections on offer, how they’d manage access controls across your network, and how they’d ensure the security of your cloud assets.
Do they have the right experience to serve your business?
If you operate in a niche industry that features rare bespoke software, or you occupy a highly-regulated sector with a heavy compliance burden, choosing a provider with prior experience in your field is likely to prove advantageous. This will ensure the provider is able to develop custom solutions that adapt around and support your compliance obligations, and troubleshoot problems with niche software that would leave more mainstream MSPs baffled.
What to Look for in an IT Support Provider: The Signs of Excellence
The factors above should help you create a shortlist of IT providers with the skills, experience and credentials necessary to provide a high-quality tech management service to your business. To help you narrow down that list further, here are a few hallmarks of excellence: the characteristics that separate the best IT support providers from the rest.
A Focus on Proactivity
If you’re on the phone to your IT support provider on a daily basis, you’ve got a problem! An IT support provider should be an invisible yet highly impactful force for good in your business, working diligently behind the scenes to keep your IT running smoothly and efficiently. Look for a focus on preventative maintenance, extensive remote management capabilities, and managed cybersecurity services that take a pre-emptive stance against threats to your digital environment.
A Strong Reputation Backed by Glowing References
An accomplished IT support provider will often be keen to display their commitment to service excellence by drawing attention to satisfied clients, both past and present, and making reviews and testimonials readily accessible. Before you commit to an IT support contract, reach out to previous or current clients similar to your business, to help you determine that bold claims of outstanding service truly reflect the real-world customer experience.
A Drive to Deliver Strategic Value
An IT support partner should be more than someone to call when your server develops a fault: they should be a strategic partner that helps you navigate the confusing and fast-changing world of business IT. Look for a provider that’s willing to help you develop a comprehensive technology strategy that extends well into your business’s future. This plan should anticipate the growth of your business, and introduce new solutions in a phased manner that supports the evolution of your company. This commitment to strategic value should be underpinned by broad expertise to ensure they’re able to help you develop bespoke solutions to you most intractable business challenges.
When is the Right Time to Outsource Your IT Support?
With flexible support packages available to suit a range of IT requirements and budgets, there’s never a wrong time to outsource some, or all of your business’s IT support functions. There are however a few signs that you should put IT outsourcing at the top of your business’s agenda. These Include:
- IT costs are rising to unsustainable levels. Managing your IT in-house can seem workable in the beginning, but it often doesn’t take long for costs (salaries, software licensing, training etc.) to spiral to unsustainable levels. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to start outsourcing your IT.
- Recurring Issues and Frequent Downtime. If IT downtime is a common occurrence in your organisation, or the same issues are cropping up time and time again, then it might be time to outsource your IT to a third party. They’ll be able to perform a proactive maintenance regime designed to prevent minor issues escalating into disruptive IT calamities.
- Knowledge Gaps are Becoming Apparent. As your business grows, and your IT needs become more diverse, you may start to notice skills shortfalls in your in-house team. It’s impossible for a small IT team to specialise in every domain of IT, and skills gaps could cause security shortcomings in complex systems and leave you struggling to embrace innovation. Outsourcing can plug gaps in your existing skillsets and ensure your IT system is managed effectively, and securely to the fullest extent.
IT support outsourcing can help Dubai businesses harness technology as a growth enabler, and deliver secure, stable and reliable technology that benefits employees and customers alike. By investing time in choosing the right IT support provider for your business, you’ll developing a lasting partnership that helps you remain competitive in our fast-evolving digital age.
Truly Secure – IT Support and Managed Cybersecurity for Dubai’s Regulated Industries
Truly Secure helps organisations across Dubai and the UAE secure, streamline and optimize their IT environments to foster growth, and safeguard long-term success. As a security-first IT provider, our cybersecurity offering is second-to-none, offering everything highly regulated businesses need to manage cyber risks effectively, and conquer onerous compliance demands. If you are based in Dubai or across the UAE, contact us today to find out more!