One of the biggest lessons to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of technology in business. Companies that were prepared to transition their services to a more virtual offering found ways to continue to operate, and even thrive during lockdown orders.
Until now, you may not have considered the ways in which you needed to pandemic-proof your company. Any under-preparedness within your business has likely revealed itself as you worked hard to pivot your services and communicate with your team and customers.
Although we do not want to think about future pandemics, consider using this time as a lesson in modifying your services to transition to a virtual vertical. By taking steps to move towards managed services, you can evolve your business for both your clients and employees.
What is a Managed Service?
A Managed Service is a service to which a business subscribes regularly. The service performs a specific task designed to improve communications, operations, or efficiency. Managed Services differ from utilities (such as your internet service provider) and are a long-term relationship between businesses to ensure ongoing performance and quality. In a sense, Managed Services is the difference between having a contract with a local plumber who reliably answers your call instead of scrambling to find someone when your breakroom floods.
Managed Networks & Infrastructure- Eliminates the cost of owning and operating a data center
Managed Computer Security - Allows for remote security within your organization, including but not limited to, anti-virus, malware, ransomware, etc.
Managed Communication Services - Merges data, voice, and video services on the same IP network, think call center.
Managed Wireless & Mobile Computing - Gives your organization wireless capabilities without having to endure the cost and implementation within your business.
Managed Print Services - Enables remote monitoring, updating, and management of your organization’s document management infrastructure.
Managed Support Services - Traditional help desk responsibilities, including support tickets for help with IT problems among employees and network equipment.
Data Analytics - Capturing and analyzing data that reveal trends and patterns for clients so they can take appropriate steps to further their business goals.
Managed Cloud Infrastructure- An MSP manages your organization’s computing, storage, network, and operating systems. It also may include managing the tools and application stacks (databases, e-commerce platforms, and DevOps tools) that run on that infrastructure.
Managed Software-as-a-Service - Provider hosts and delivers the application to the customer and makes sure that it is continuously updated and improved. In some cases, the MSP is the SaaS provider; sometimes, the MSP resells the services and assists with integration to other on-premises and cloud applications.
How Local Businesses Responded
From Tijuana Flats utilizing their app and curbside pickup to the Okaloosa County Superintendent shifting to online schooling, we see the incredible ways that Managed Services have helped businesses pivot.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants were some of the hardest-hit businesses in our area. Those who had preexisting Managed Services through delivery companies, such as Uber Eats and Post Mates, were able to pivot quickly to takeout and delivery-only service.
To mitigate the need to answer hundreds of phone calls a day, some restaurants even developed online forms or apps designed to take orders for them.
Insurance agents already use a cloud-based system to communicate with Insurance Providers. Some agencies were already using online video conferencing to meet with prospective and current clients. These agencies quickly adapted to the new world of social distancing by meeting with clients and having documents signed electronically.
Even with closed courts and social distancing in place, attorneys began using secure video conferencing, teleconferences, and electronic signatures with services like DocuSign to replace their office hours.
With medical professionals at some of the highest risk of COVID-19 exposure, many medical offices took advantage of electronic record systems to manage records and even started using Telehealth services to minimize in-person appointments. Some medical offices already integrated Managed IT Services, so they could continue to ensure that their communications remained secure.
With the unforeseen school closures came the need for school boards to pivot to virtual classrooms. Using managed services, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, allowed schools to create a secure platform for students and teachers to communicate, all while keeping proper security measures in place.
Our team had to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic also. Our office quickly worked to transition the team to work from home, securing our cloud computing systems, and providing seamless support for our clients was not difficult since our team already subscribes to many types of managed services. For example, our IT systems and our phones operate through a managed phone service called Ring Central. Some examples of other managed phone systems are OomaOffice, Grasshopper, Jive, and CloudPhone.
How Do I Get Started?
While businesses begin to reopen, it may be a while before your sector or service is back in full swing. Continuing to offer virtual or physically distanced services may be necessary to avoid layoffs or limited offerings. By partnering with professionals that understand your business goals, you can prepare for the future (whatever it may look like). Managed services will allow you to focus on the customers and employees that matter most.
We Can Help
If you found yourself scrambling for solutions or waiting on hold with different companies as you tried to piece together a plan, give us a call. We can help you figure out which managed services will help you meet your business goals and eliminate your IT worries.