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Today’s IT services sector is truly a global affair, working with SMEs and large enterprises all over the world to adopt new modes of automation and technology, optimize current business practices, and create new opportunities. In this current cloud-based, mobile era, infrastructure is converging and being managed through services, which means a whole new level of data security and technological maintenance. As cloud-based platforms increasingly become ubiquitous, companies that specialize in IT consulting and support are growing exponentially. It makes sense; they are more able to accommodate recent trends in business technology (and change rapidly to embrace them) than businesses with other core functions.

Emerging companies and long-standing businesses alike are looking to IT consulting and support services companies to create the right IT architecture for their businesses. With choices becoming more varied, IT consulting services can analyze a company’s specific needs and budgets, and find the products, platforms, and services that fit. More broadly, IT services keep businesses abreast of the latest technological advances, helping them gain and edge over their competitors.

Defining IT consulting and support services

Principally, IT consulting services help companies form short- and long-term IT strategies that align with their larger business goals. For instance, IT consultants can help companies understand if they need an on-site or cloud-based infrastructure, or understand what kinds of specific security functionality or automation would be most efficient and productive. IT consulting services are the experts that understand the most up-to-date technological advances, what future strategies may look like, and optimal performances based on company size, type, and culture. In other words, consulting services let businesses know what they can achieve with their current technological package and what kinds of technologies may work better.

IT support services put the consultant’s plans into action and helps maintain the proposed system. IT support can include a host of services, including computer and server maintenance, network ad system administration, upgrades, and software installation. Broadly, while IT support services know what works, IT consultants have more vision and wide-ranging expertise as to what is productive and feasible. IT services can, of course, include both consulting and support; many businesses want to connect with a company that can recommend solutions and put them into practice.

The Benefits of IT Consulting Services

For small and large companies alike, hiring IT services companies can help businesses strategize their major technological shifts and create an efficient hardware and software plan for present and future needs. IT consulting services can assess a company’s specific needs, analyze older strategies, and implement new ones. Additionally, IT support services can maintain technological stability so that employees can focus the business’s core functions instead of ancillary problems. Here are some specific examples of the benefits IT services can provide:

Experience and Expertise: With a reputable IT services firm, companies have access to highly trained and experienced IT experts. With SMEs in particular, hiring IT in-house means that the businesses will have limited access to it personnel. IT services provide a wide range of experts that are familiar different platforms and programs. IT consultants have worked with a range of company sizes, all with discrete needs and budgets. Also, IT consultants provide a degree of objectivity that makes structural changes more acceptable. By engaging experts, businesses can draw from a deep well of knowledge when making strategic IT decisions, gaining current knowledge on an as-needed basis.

Scale: Because IT support and consulting services focus exclusively on IT, they often provide more cost-effective services. IT services deliver up-to-date, faster, and more efficient services than in-house IT, with more than 90% of all services done remotely. Businesses can keep their employees from having to troubleshoot tech or otherwise focus on the mechanics of operation; instead, agents can more exclusively focus on core needs. Moreover, as a business grows, so do its IT service requirements. IT support services can expand or change services within days, instead of the months, it may take to bring new infrastructure in-house.

Reduced operational cost and downtime: IT support services can often reduce IT costs, particularly for small to medium enterprises. With technological changes becoming increasingly more rapid, outsourced IT allows companies access to current technology without an overhaul of their in-house servers. In fact, SME’s can hope to save around 30% of their IT costs with IT support services. Likewise, large systems more effectively reduce downtime and manage traffic. IT services also often have 24/7 response capabilities, further reducing wasted hours without working tech.

A technological edge: IT support services have thoroughly vetted strategies taking care of issues more efficiently and quickly, thus bringing optimal tech to smaller companies. With more scalability, less downtime, and greater access to experts, companies can provide better customer service or take their product to market more quickly. IT support services also are ahead of the game regarding security. IT support companies understand the needs of cloud-based and mobile systems. By passing that knowledge onto its customers, an innovative and established IT service helps companies gain that edge over their competitors.

How, then, can a company know what is the right IT consulting and support services company for its needs? After deciding whether or not outside IT services will serve their needs, companies should seek the IT service that best provides the best fit. Of course, all businesses want IT services that maximize the benefits described above: for example, experience, expertise, and a well-functioning system with 24/7 service. However, there are also specific elements that businesses should consider when choosing an IT services team:

Define the most important aspects: To know which IT services consulting and support fits best, companies need to understand not only their technological needs but also their long-term business goals. In what ways, for example, do they see business growth in the next five or ten years? How might their IT needs change with expansion? How significant is control over IT services? Furthermore, companies should understand the role they’d like technology to play within their company. Is this a company of specialists or generalists? Answering these questions helps consultants strategize the most effective and most suitable IT services.

Be aware of the industry: There may be particular industry needs and requirements that need specific experience and expertise. For instance, companies with extensive sales departments may need IT services that specialize in computer telephony integration. Furthermore, IT services should be aware of the industry compliance regulations and norms. A good IT service company will know which platforms, programs, and software best serve those regulations and needs.

Consider cost and other practical matters: Companies should recognize their top priorities and consider the costs of fulfilling them. What aspects of IT are of most value, and what are their costs? Do these costs fit in with the proposed budget allocated for IT services?

However, companies should also calculate the costs of not having a necessary piece of technology (a working server, for example). How much will that downtime cost the company in terms of lost prospective buyers or failed services rendered? By understanding the value of IT for all of their business practices, companies can realistically allocate budgets that make sense and are attainable.

Developments in business technologies show no sign of slowing down, and successful companies are seeking consultants to keep up-to-date. Industries from sales to service are more mobile and cloud-based, and companies need those technological upgrades to help them stay on the forefront of those industries. Current IT consulting and support services can help companies create and deploy a successful IT strategy. They keep businesses’ security current, letting companies expand into more mobile technologies or flexible customer relations management software. Additionally, they help companies scale up or down, provide them with the most current programs, and often save small companies a lot of money. Using IT services lets companies access a team of experts whenever they need them. By outsourcing IT support services, businesses are able to avoid getting bogged down in their own infrastructure and concentrate on their clients’ needs.