A little-touted advantage of Managed Services: the brand question
Discussions about the benefits that come from working with a managed services provider very rarely focus on the issue of brand consistency. This is a bit curious, since it is one of the most important aspects of MSP use, at least from a marketing point of view. Firms – particularly small ones – need to consider their entire business plans, not just their IT needs when making decisions about how to best navigate the increasingly diverse menu of offerings that qualify as outsourced IT.
In some ways, it is easier for a business to contemplate a move to cloud services than to entertain a serious intention of adopting a managed services model for IT support. This is true in large part because computer users are becoming more accustomed all the time to cloud services in the personal domain. The average personal computer user may well manage all their email needs through a cloud paradigm these days; cloud-based calendars and tasks lists are now in the process of truly taking off. The use of social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter also serves to reinforce the cloud paradigm in the eyes of the ordinary consumer, many of whom also double as small business owners and managers.
It is simple to see why businesses might think first of using a cloud services model when they need to outsource some of their IT needs, but using a managed services provider instead can help a business to keep its branding completely consistent for website visitors. After all, when a company uses a modified Google algorithm to allow users to search their site, the search box is typically branded with the Google logo. At that point, the valuable online real estate being paid for and provided by the business is actually being used to promote both the search engine provider and the base company itself. This distracts from a unified marketing message, which can be a major drawback for the firm in question.
In contrast, a Managed IT Services approach is generally completely transparent to the casual website visitor. Customers shopping at the website or browsing it for information will rarely have any reason to know which MSP is providing remote services to help keep the website up and running.
Businesses, of course, can easily adopt elements of both managed services and cloud services. A strategic approach to marketing and brand awareness, however, means that these issues should at least be on the table when SMB owners and managers are making decisions about their IT outsourcing needs.
Learn more about the author Bob Martin