Big IT for small firms

March 26th 2018

Below is an excerpt of John Bergin discussing IT Managed Services with Jason Walsh of the Sunday Business. The Sunday Business Post March 25, 2018 Focus On: Managed Services 2018 A 3-Page Special 

IT Force brings managed services to a sector set to benefit most from additional IT capacity: the small and medium enterprise sector, writes Jason Walsh

Managed IT services make at least as much sense for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they do for giant multinationals – perhaps more so – but embracing the trend can be truly transformative in terms of IT capacity.  The particular difficulty faced by smaller organisations is that while it may appear attractive to have an in-house IT person, the reality may be more complex. “Some try to hire their own IT people, and it causes a number of different difficulties,” said John Bergin, managing director of IT Force, which provides managed services including helpdesk, security, disaster recovery and more. The difficulties for IT Force’s key client area of 15 to 90 users are not trivial, Bergin said. “Initially in finding them –
and finding the right fit,” he said. “What tends to happen, then, is that there’s a definitive number of IT in use and it becomes very ‘samey’, so it becomes difficult for that company to provide a career path. “The other challenge is in managing people. Technical people are great, but they tend to not be great at [for instance] record-keeping, so if they lose someone they may lose a lot of knowledge.” As a result, IT Force’s services go beyond the purely technical, also bringing a range of management skills to the table. “We assign virtual CIOs to these clients; they know technology and know project management and can put these things into a logical sequence,” he said. From a career perspective, IT Force can attract staff as it can deliver a path of progression, meaning, from the client’s point-of-view, that they can avail of IT services from top to bottom. “You're trying to give the client the whole range of experienced people: the more experienced often deal with strategy and planning, as well as the younger people, who may have more energy, working on the likes of a helpdesk.” Randomness is also removed as part of the strategy: IT Force has processes and procedures in place to audit clients’ business from a technical standpoint, to see how it stacks up in terms of best practice, where any shortfalls are, in conjunction with the client, place them in order of priority. “Out of that comes a plan that will take them through the next two to three years,” he said.

It is not, however, a case of one-size-fits-all, and IT Force works to ensure compatibility with its clients in a sense greater than technical interoperability. “There has to be a culture fit between the managed service provider and the client,” said Bergin. “If you have that fit you find that trust builds up much more quickly.” The upshot of this is growing confidence in technology that can help a company spread its wings and even develop a culture of innovation in IT. “Senior management in organisations are often terrified of it. They’re afraid to make moves in case it goes wrong, but if they start to see the winds of change and see that it’s working, they can start to make the changes that they want to and embrace IT successfully and continually,” he said.

If you have identified yourself in some of the above situations, it is important to consider your position with your current Managed Services Provider. To learn more about the benefits of managed services or value IT Force can bring to your company; please contact us at info@itforce.ie

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