Posted On: January 31, 2013

How Managed IT Services Can Help You Win More Races

You can learn a valuable lesson about managed IT services from the smartest runners in your local Saturday morning 5K fun run.

If you’re a technology decision-maker at a small or midsized business (SMB) and you’re concerned about the global economy, you can learn a valuable lesson about managed IT services from the smartest runners in your local Saturday morning 5K fun run.

Just like the economy, the typical fun run course contains some ups and downs. But rather than calling them booms and recessions, runners simply refer to them as hills.

There are two basic approaches to a hill. Most runners see one coming and think, “Whoa! Better hang back and save my energy. I’m going to slow down until the course levels off again.”

But savvy runners think, “Hey, this is one of those times where everyone slows down. I’m going to expend some extra energy now to get ahead, so that I’ll be able to leave everyone in the dust when we reach the downhill on the other side.”

These runners then accelerate up the hill, investing a little extra legwork to give themselves a clear competitive advantage. By the time the downhill comes, they’ve passed so many of their competitors that they’ll probably never relinquish their lead.

You can do the same by using the economic downturn as your opportunity to implement managed IT services technology that place your company ahead of the pack.

Are Your Peers Sitting on Their Hands?

Now, there’s a good argument to be made that the economy is already well on its way to recovery. But that’s almost beside the point, because many of your peers believe otherwise.

To find out how midsized businesses were approaching our uncertain economy, ADP Research Institute conducted an online survey in 2012. What they found was sobering: just 15% of midsized business owners and executives thought the economy would improve over the next 12 months.

Since these folks think the economy is still sluggish, they’ll probably rein in their technology spending. That’s good news for you. Just like a smart 5K runner, you can propel yourself forward now while your competitors are being cautious.

But if your plans include implementing a new ERP system, there’s something you should keep in mind.

Get the Pluses of ERP Without the MinusesGet the Pluses of ERP Without the Minuses

As we work with some of the best and brightest SMB IT decision-makers, we’re seeing a trend towards using advanced ERP platforms to vault the entire workforce to a higher level of productivity. We think it’s a great idea to make a bold move like this as our economy recovers. But before you do, take some time to think about how you’re going to implement and support your new applications.

You’ll probably be tempted to support your ERP system in house. In theory, that’s a great idea because it can mean you’ll get all the benefits of ERP software without increasing your IT expenses.

Of course, that will only happen in a perfect world. In the real world, the burden of supporting an ERP system often exceeds the capacity of a relatively small IT team – even if that team is highly capable and experienced. Think of it this way: every hour your in-house staff spends getting up to speed on the new system is an hour they’ll have to subtract from one of their current responsibilities.

So, unless you’re in the mood to add IT headcount, consider outsourcing the implementation and support of your new platform to a managed IT services provider. We explore this issue in more detail in our new white paper, “SMB ERP: How to Enhance the Benefits and Minimize the Burden.” Before you plan your technology purchase, be sure to download and read this informative guide.

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