Why Successful Businesses Outsource Their I.T.
you're listening to stimulus Tech talk a conversation based podcast created by stimulus technologies that covers a range of topics related to business and technology welcome to stimulus Tech talk I am Sharon lip marketing manager here at stimulus Technologies and I'm here today with our CEO Nathan Whitaker and we're going to be talking a little bit kind of about what we do at stimulus Technologies and how managed Services can help increase productivity welcome Nathan thanks it's always great to be here to get started on this um let's talk a little bit about what type what does manage what are managed I.T services and what does that mean what are we offering you know I was just talking to the manager over that department of our company and it you know it's an industry term that we often use and some people are like what is managed services I don't understand what that means and um you know that's the tough part of these industry terms is not everybody understands them other than if you're in the industry but uh basically what it is is you're Outsourcing your technology services to a company that specializes in it so stimulus Technologies we specialize in helping companies run their technology infrastructure everything from making sure that their desktops and laptops and everything work well for the employees so managing the software helping them with any issues that they're having with the software and applications that they use also making sure that the infrastructure is working correctly so that handles the networking portion of it so that the devices whether they're wired or Wireless can communicate with each other and with the outside world we also manage and monitor servers to make sure that they're performing well that there's no hardware issues so the software is running and working correctly and then all the way out to the firewall to ensure that you know there's protection on the on the outside of the network and can communicate with the internet too there's additional services that we do that we Monitor and make you know make sure that uh you know the Windows and Mac software and the applications that are associated are up to date and and working correctly so unpatched or un-updated software is a big security problem so our software ensures that those things are happening that software's uh getting up to date we also do regular maintenance on the machines if you remember back in the day you had to manually defrag your drive or clean up temporary files and things like that our software automates that entire process so that it's uh you don't have to do it manually anymore and then you know obviously if there's any issues we get alerts and it goes into our ticketing system and we we take care of those automatically or if in clients uh call us up we can help them with any of the issues they're having and it goes a little bit beyond that too we work with other vendors um and you know manage the software licensing and and work with other vendors that are associated with the technology inside your company so basically we're we're an outsourced I.T or technology department for uh small to mid-sized businesses and that kind of leads into my next question so your manage provider for us would work what kinds of Technology vendors do we help manage so a lot of companies that we work with have Microsoft Office 365 so that we are a partner with Microsoft and help manage those licenses and manage that software um also you look at like if you have anything else connected to your technology so if you have [Music] um for example a surveillance system or telephone system or you know copiers and printers that are managed by other companies we work with those vendors we coordinate we like to be the central point of contact between all the vendors and then for a lot of businesses they have some type of line of business application so if your dental office you might be using something like dentrix um if you're a law firm there's special software that you use a construction company there's special software you use and so we become familiar with those pieces of software but more importantly we try to be the advocate for the client with the company and ensure that everything is working properly for them so if they have issues we come in and then contact the vendor um and so we can explain and talk on Tech terms rather than um you know having your software vendor your Hardware vendor that you're working with talk in their acronyms we can translate for you and make sure that we Implement what works inside your company so we try to be that central point of contact for all those vendors and outside companies and going along with Dad so we would handle licensing too for software so so in the world of Microsoft we handle that software there's certain software that they want to you know manage with the company directly so uh for example a line of business application uh we could keep track of the software but it is up to the company themselves to make sure that they're you know that vendor relationship is going well but we help manage that interface between the two so that's that's where we come in as is kind of the partner with the with our client to ensure that their licenses are up to date um they you know maintain that good relationship with their vendors so you had said uh small to medium businesses before what at what point do you think a small business owner really needs to think about managed Service as opposed to doing everything themselves over the years because as uh technology has gotten better especially for smaller businesses um you know there's a lot of products out there that allow a small business to um really act like a big business and so we generally start when companies grow from to about five to ten employees is a good time to contact us you know business with just one or two people working out of their house although we'd love to help them a lot of times uh they can do a lot of the things for themselves and there's a you know a lot of you know online companies that can assist you with you know small technical things or just going directly to the companies themselves for that help so our general starting point is about five employees and uh and up to larger organizations so we have um some mid-sized small businesses that are hundreds of employees maybe up to about five to seven hundred employees is generally where we um where we go to and then uh after that there's a strong need for internal I.T to take over and then we can partner with internal I.T at that point too to
offer some specialization thank you and so you know when somebody is kind of really thinking about this what what do you think are the biggest benefits to a business when we're talking about productivity and keeping a business going what do you think of the biggest benefit to going with an outsourced I.T foreign I guess there's two ways to answer that question if you're comparing against having an inside I.T person and you're a small business let's say you know your company about 25 30 employees in these and you know maybe previously your office manager or yourself or somebody inside your company was handling uh the I.T work
you know certainly uh there's two ways to go you could hire somebody that's inside that is your I.T guy your internal I.T guy or you could Outsource it to a company so just kind of going down the path of you hire somebody inside then you have to manage them so you have to find somebody inside your company um that you think knows what they're doing and you might not have the expertise to hire somebody good and then you have to manage them have to know if they're doing a good job or not and for a lot of the business owners that I talk to they struggle with managing their I.T person because you know the the common thing I hear is I don't know what they do all day I mean they just come in they do stuff and then they leave and I don't know what they do and um the second part of that is especially in a small business uh call it you know in that 20 to 50 person range um you're not hiring a Top Line I.T person here because a lot of the things that they're doing is you know installing computers maybe you know putting toner in the printer they're doing a lot of things that are basic um we call them in our industry like level one tasks and for somebody that has a lot of expertise it's maybe has some degrees and certifications and a lot of experience they might not want to do you know crawl under desks or you know open up printers to put toner in them or you know things like that so it's hard to find somebody that's willing to do it all um so that's why a lot of small businesses go to an outside I.T firm because inside our company we have different levels of technicians some that are just you know basic help desk technicians that are installing software um you know installing computers they're doing the basic networking they're learning and growing themselves and we have uh teams of people you know multiple tiers up that assist them when the the things need to get escalated so you don't want the same person that's um you know installing toner in your printer also you know managing the security on your server it's a very different technique and so um as a as our company has grown we have you know wide variety of expertise inside the business so that's the biggest advantage of going with an outside it firm especially for that smaller business is you you have you get the expertise you get the entire team that comes in and we manage them so you know we inside our company have been in technology for a long time uh over 28 years for myself a lot of people on my team are well over 20 years in technology and so we know what's right what does right and we have a lot of policies and procedures in place for our clients to ensure that their technology is working for them if you just have one it guy one person inside your company or you know you have your you know friends son that comes over and does stuff every once in a while you're not getting that threat uh and depth of expertise as you would with a company like ours um once you get up to a certain size though you know call it a few hundred employees um you might have the budget uh and need to have multiple people inside the company that have that expertise you might have a level one person that's handling those hardware issues and you might have Asus administrator that's handling the higher level issues and then you might just Outsource let's say the security side of things or the networking um you know the expertise that they don't have so that's where these larger companies partner with us in certain aspects uh to bring in that expertise thank you all right and so can are the services tailored for particular for a business you know an individual business or business type you know like industry certainly we have different levels of products um for you know different tiers of companies so for example a very small business might need to call us every once in a while but they want our tools on their computers uh to ensure that those updates are happening that there's any alerts um if there's any issues and that they have somebody to call when they do have issues so we have you know a tier service for a company that doesn't need us often but wants that you know um card in their pocket of somebody to call if there's something that's going on all the way up to our full service clients that um you know we're we're handling all aspects of the technology we we have a seat in their management team that we're discussing their their plans for the company and making sure that the technology fits in with them so um and then we you know we do everything on-site off-site and handle all their technology needs so there's a range of products and we we tailor our services around what the company needs and a lot of it uh deals with how much they're using technology in their company and also the company size it generally is companies have more complex environments or they grow in size they have more need for us to be interfacing with them more often and you know this having this type of service reduce the amount of time someone I'm like a CEO or or an operations manager might have to spend with it or is it you know there's some companies that want to be Hands-On and some that are like they don't even want to think about it yeah there's certainly it's it's an interesting thing so we we have all varieties right so um I probably if if I was my own client I would want to be heavily involved I like knowing what's going on in all parts of my business um and and we have plenty of clients that are like that that really like being intimately involved in making those decisions and we love those clients because they're trying to learn and grow themselves and ensure the technology is an integral part of their business some of our clients um the owner CEO of the company uh might not be Technical and they just want to ensure that it's taken care of and so we build that trust with the owner and they allow us to help them make the right decisions and uh for their company and ensure the technology is never a problem for them and oftentimes in those situations we're working with an operations manager maybe an office manager you know medical director or something like that inside the office that's you know our primary Point person of contact so it is a variety that in the end this I say to most of our clients you know you didn't go into the I.T business you'd be one of
our competitors obviously if you did you went into uh business as a as a dentist or a lawyer or you know a car dealer or whatever it may be um you know your primary focus is being the best inside your business and I.T should serve you and so that's what we're there for is to help our clients make the best use of it and and really it should be seen inside their company uh technology should help their company grow help solve their problems and you know ensure that they're very competitive and you know hopefully save them money I mean a lot of this our our goal in our company is to increase productivity if we think about the way that computers were um or take our work was done 50 60 years ago it was manual labor I I think I shared a story in my book that you know you got to Envision like when they were designing Rockets to go to the Moon you know it was a bunch of people with white shirts and ties sitting behind large desks with hand-drawing plants and doing hand engineering and how different it is to walk into an office today you know everybody's sitting behind the computer and being so much more productive when their technology is working and so our goal as a company is ensuring that the technology is working seamlessly and and effectively as possible so your employees could be productive not frustrated with with uh their technology and can serve you the best that's that's what our primary goal is um and I think one of the the biggest questions especially somebody who's at a point where they're deciding between an in-house person or outsourced is how quickly will a problem be taken care of you know if they're if they're Outsourcing it is it just as fast as if they had somebody internal so that's a I guess a two-part question again so the the first part is is you know people that want an internal I.T person um you know want to have hey John come over to my desk and fix it right now and and sometimes that's that's great you know that if if John's sitting in his desk he's not doing something else you know you're getting that immediate attention um but when John's on vacation which or you know wants to sleep or wants to go home you know it might not be available and so we've run into issues when there's just one I.T person one one technology person in the company or you outsourced to a company that just has one person that's operating um the service might be great most of the time but when it's not um it's hard you know they they want to take a vacation it might be a week before they can get back to you I've met so many I.T people that are really
frustrated because they feel like they can never sleep and never take a vacation they're always getting interrupted when they're just a one Med show and it's not a great quality of life and they often burn out and you know change careers or do something different or jump jump uh positions so um you know with our company uh or any company that has a larger staff is you know when when there's an issue we have a team that takes care of it and something that's a little bit different about stimulus is we assign a team um to our customers and so you're generally dealing with the same people every time you contact us and so they become familiar with your business but we also have a lot of processes in place and documentation and information so if somebody else has to handle it let's say your team is on vacation there's enough documentation and information that it can be taken care of the same way you just might be dealing with a different individual so we we strive inside our company to take care of issues uh very quickly most of our tickets are closed out within us the same business day over 50 percent of them are closed on the same business day because you know we understand if you if you you or your employees can't work that's a loss of productivity and we want to make sure that you know your team is getting back to work uh if there's an issue as quickly as possible um so we you know we have people that are um you know working on these tickets trying to resolve them quickly as possible and that's something that we monitor very closely is our response time our response rate we have service level internal service level um monitoring uh to ensure that we're hitting those uh those targets so we discuss that when you come on board with stimulus is what those targets are and and if they're missed and then when we do our business reviews with our clients we look at those numbers and say if we're failing or if we're succeeding in those and and I look at them as the CEO that's something that's really important to me to ensure that we're being very responsive um again that's our job is to solve things as quickly as possible all right um and I can say we have an I.T buyer's guide that I'll put a link for it has 21 questions that you might be thinking about or should be thinking about for I.T services and Nathan what uh do you suggest for the next steps if somebody's interested in talking about this with us or if they're outside of our area maybe what they can do so so uh for us for us you know the common thing would be is to contact our team we do a an assessment just like when you go in to visit a doctor you don't want to walk into the doctor's office and then him had you you know a bottle of pills and say take this without even talking to them and so you know when you when you talk to us um we're going to do an assessment of your systems and make sure that we understand what your needs are and then tailor our proposal around the client's needs and there's sometimes that we're not the right fit for uh a company so we we periodically say you know you might want to contact this provider or you're doing a great job on your own and and it should stay that way most of the time we can help um but we need to make that assessment to ensure that we're doing the right thing so if you're ever you know if you're out of one of our service areas we can't help you that's one thing that I would suggest you doing is you know whoever you contact should assess your situation and give you recommend Nations on how you can improve your network your security your operations and you know ensure that there's a good fit between the two of you so that it buyer guide is the Sherry mentioned is a great thing just if you're shopping around whether you contact us or somebody else um it's the it's the right questions to ask to make those choices all right well thanks so much Nathan and thank you everybody for listening [Music]