Small and medium businesses (SMBs) need IT-outsourcing help from managed service providers. They just might not know it yet.
That’s the latest from Forrester Consulting, which was recently commissioned by Intel to survey IT decision-makers at SMBs on their outsourcing approaches.
Forrester’s survey of IT decision-makers at SMBs uncovered 3 new truths:
> Most (87%) SMBs already outsource at least 1 piece of their IT services. The services most commonly outsourced: cloud management (cited by 57%), security/risk/compliance (35%) and application development (31%).
> SMB IT teams are small and overloaded with work: Most SMBs have small IT teams — on average, just 13 people. That can leave them understaffed. Nearly half (49%) of respondents said IT management takes up too much of their teams’ time. About the same percentage (45%) complained that other organizational priorities often take precedence over those of IT.
> Most SMBs want to invest in IT outsourcing: Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they plan to outsource additional IT services and functions in the next 12 months. Why? Mainly because outsourcing frees their IT teams from day-to-day management and lets them focus instead on much-needed innovation.
To get these numbers, Forrester conducted an online survey earlier this year. It garnered responses from more than 210 IT decision-makers in 4 countries: the United States, Czech Republic, Poland and Russia. All respondents worked at SMBs with fewer than 500 employees.
What the findings mean
Forrester, as part of its report, recommends that MSPs serving the SMB market adopt 4 new best practices:
1. Challenge SMB complacency: While most survey respondents said they’re satisfied with the amount of IT outsourcing they already do, many also admit they’d benefit from outsourcing additional services. Many SMBs are looking to consolidate their IT services, and many are interested in engaging more with MSPs. Remind your customers that outsourcing can free their IT team from day-to-day management and let them focus instead on innovation. MSPs should consider engaging with customers sequentially. In this way, MSPs can demonstrate their expertise and encourage SMBs to outsource more.
For example, if your SMB customer is considering an investment in cloud, you could begin by offering them advisory services. Then, over time, you could move step-by-step through the next levels of services. That might start with migration, move on to cloud-native development, and conclude with ongoing operations.
2. Communicate your offerings in ways that resonate with SMBs: Make sure your marketing materials clearly articulate the range of services you offer — and their benefits for SMBs. Make sure the benefits and ROI of your offers are crystal clear, and in ways that resonates with SMBs.
3. Don’t overlook systems development: It’s one area where SMBs are really feeling the squeeze. Yet it’s also an area that few SMBs now outsource. That’s a gap you may be able to profitably fill.
4. Explore new ways of interacting: Instead of just providing services for a fee, consider whether you could become a true digital-transformation partner. For example, could you work with customers to co-create new IT solutions? This approach can instill trust, leader to higher-quality outcomes, and create a stronger bond with your customers.
Earn trust via remote working
Forrester also has a fifth recommendation for MSPs: Earn the trust of your SMB customers by enabling remote work. Just make sure you do it the right way.
As you know, the pandemic has forced many organizations to adopt widespread remote working, and almost overnight. For many SMBs, this has strained the limits of both their IT infrastructure and their security practices.
While MSPs have had to work remotely, too, the good news is that MSPs can use their own experiences to provide best-practice insights to SMB customers. MSPs can also help SMB customers improve their cybersecurity.
Intel vPro Platform
One key technology that can help MSPs and SMBs alike navigate the new world of remote work is the Intel vPro Platform. It offers business-class performance with the latest processor innovations, supporting employee productivity no matter the location.
The Intel vPro Platform includes hardware-implemented, business-class security with the Intel Hardware Shield. It also offers a cloud-based tool, Intel End Point Management Assistant, that gives lets you gain access to customer devices without needing to rely on the OS. You can keep remote PCs up and running — even through OS interruptions, patch updates and the like. And that applies to all PCs, whether they’re out-of-band, on premises or off premises.
As Forrester has discovered, SMB customers need your help with outsourcing. But you need to earn their trust. The Intel vPro Platform can help. Support the growing numbers of remote PCs and other devices, and the future can be yours.
PS: Please note that Intel does not control or audit third-party data. You should consult other sources to evaluate accuracy. Intel technologies may require enabled hardware, software or service activation.