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Managed IT Services For Retail: Advantages & Disadvantages

Crimson_Wheel_OLEvery modern retail company is reliant on their computers, software, and IT team to operate at their optimal level and push for growth.

However, a number of factors can disrupt processes and prevent growth from happening, including;

  • IT budget constraints,
  • Lack of IT staff,
  • Old or non-existent retail technology,
  • Lack of integration between applications,
  • Lack of expertise in specific projects or systems.

Many retailers turn to managed IT services providers (MSPs) for additional knowledge, planning, technology, and support.

MSPs will often take over a specific area of a retailer’s IT infrastructure, create a new retail technology strategy, or help with the implementation of a specific project.

That all sounds fine and dandy, but what are the real advantages and disadvantages to working with an MSP?

The Advantages Of Working With A MSP

  1. New Retail Technology Strategy – When you bring an MSP into your company they will analyse your current processes, team, and technology and provide you with genuine feedback and a plan of how to improve your IT strategy for growth.

  2. Smart Planning – What’s more, a good MSP will tailor their approach so the handover of responsibility can be transferred while the business runs as normal.

  3. More Room To Focus On Strategy – This strategy will indicate areas of IT infrastructure, including many day-to-day operational process, which you will be able to offload onto the MSP. This will give your in-house IT team space and time to concentrate on your company’s new growth objectives.

  4. Monitoring & Backing-Up – These day-to-day processes will take-up much of your IT department’s time. Both processes are completely essential to ensure that any disasters can be recovered from and to maintain your technology. However, you could use an MSP to do this for you 24/7 for a fraction of the staffing cost.

  5. Accountability – When your new retail technology strategy is created, you will have set goals and responsibilities outlined in a document. Certain tasks will be allocated to the MSP, IT staff, key stakeholders within your business. This document will allow you to check that all jobs have been carried out and to measure the impact of the MSP’s work on your business.

  6. Specific Expertise & Experience – Many retailers prefer to use expert MSP is in an implementation role. Some IT departments may not have the expertise to roll out certain specific projects or may not know how to use a particular kind of retail software. There are MSPs that specialise in providing managed IT services to the retail sector and have considerable experience.

  7. Training / Sharing Knowledge – As part of an specialist project implementation or software integration within your company, a good MSP will share their expertise with your IT team and key stakeholders so the systems can be managed within the business.

  8. Application Life Cycle Management ­– MSPs help retailers to maintain and enhance their older applications and give them access to all of them through a single cloud-based portal. This will improve efficiency, enhance customer service, and get rid of your software headaches.

  9. Long Term Impartial Support – You should attempt to develop a strong relationship with the leaders of your MSP. They can draw upon a wide range of expertise within your section and supply you with good advice.

  10. Alleviate Budget Pressures – It would be wrong to assume that managed IT services are an expensive cost. Outsourcing certain services can reduce your wage and application bills, and help to drive profits. This means there are more available funds to invest in your growth strategy.

The Disadvantages Of Working With A Managed IT Services Provider

  1.  Unqualified Practitioners – Before hiring an MSP you should look into their background, expertise, and most importantly their experience in the retail sector. Ultimately, working with an inexperienced or unskilled MSP may damage your company.

  2. Loss Of Control – There can be a reluctance from retail IT teams to work with external MSPs. Some staff feel their positions are under threat. Others perceive, that their expertise is being undermined. In most cases, MSPs work alongside IT teams to achieve shared objectives.

  3. Miscommunication – Regular meetings between the internal IT department and the MSPs must take place so the likelihood of problems occurring due to communication breakdowns can be minimalized.

If you would like to find out about Crimson’s managed IT services for the retail sector please click here. Alternatively, you can contact 01675 466 477