Managed services and Saas solutions for legal and accountancy
"Is managed service provision for me?" More and more professional services firms are asking the question and after looking into what it can offer are concluding "Yes it is".
It’s easy to assume that saving money is seen as a main driver for outsourcing your IT to a managed service specialist but the experiences of our own law firm and accounting clients would suggest that there are at least four main issues that they place ahead of, or on a par with, cost-savings:
- Security and business continuity
- Business flexibility
- Core competencies
- In-house expertise
e-know.net has produced a comprehensive 'Survive and Thrive' guide for law firms keen to gain an in-depth understanding of IT provision via the managed service concept. The guide is free and can be downloaded here now.
Security and business continuity
Downtime and/or data loss can severely damage operations, finances and reputations - outsourcing enables firms to adopt the latest technologies in data security whilst also working within an environment that can provide a full disaster recovery solution. Outsourcing the risk is often key to the decision to partner with e-know.net.
Most businesses are alert to the importance of providing new and different functionality, such as the need to support remote or mobile working, while also keeping one eye on data integrity and system protection. That can add extra layers to the infrastructure and call on extra resources; it can also take time to achieve, depending on the skills and budgets available. The same goes for any major initiative that a firm wants to roll with – the desire may be there but is the experience, expertise and manpower? And yet agility and responsiveness are everything in a market where predictions abound that the quick will devour the slow.
So many firms with aggressive ambitions and a clear growth strategy want to focus on what they do best. They also know that no business can thrive today without being able to run and leverage a reasonable IT system. But IT is not what they do best and the prospect of investing in an in-house solution, having to manage that solution and having to keep pace with IT developments, is not an attractive one. It’s distracting, it’s difficult and it’s also very risky if you don’t get the right team or the right technologies together.
It’s not easy to get the right know-how and know-why in place. The average IT network demands a fair range of hands-on skills and expertise; for those looking to compete and innovate through IT, there’s also a requirement for strategic thinking and more specialist knowledge; and then there’s the battle to keep talent and to keep it motivated. These are familiar challenges in a tricky IT labour market, challenges that professional services firms will recognise as ones they can’t always meet, despite their best efforts.
Given those issues, it is perhaps easier to see why progressive professional services firms are making the leap into an outsourced or managed service future. Cost-savings aside, they can:
- Enjoy industry-class, 24/7 support of their applications with an expert team of product specialists on tap
- Bring on stream new software and new functionality very quickly
- Focus exclusively on running their own business without the concerns of IT or IT people management
- Easily evaluate external performance through KPIs and SLAs
- Take advantage of trusted IT strategists to help drive IT and business planning
- Benefit from business continuity that comes as a welcome by-product of partnering with organisations that are founded on the basic premise of resilience.
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