Companies both large and small often choose to outsource their IT departments so they can concentrate on their core businesses. But small and medium businesses (SMBs) have additional challenges.
Danya International, a public service company that delivers solutions to government and commercial clients addressing pressing social issues, is a good example. It wanted to focus on its core business, not manage a large IT department. It decided it needed an outsourcing partner that could deploy multiple personnel that would be on site and hands-on.
In addition, the SMB was rapidly growing. Some of its key technology components required uptime maintenance support beyond the capability and availability of current staff. Also, its network was rapidly increasing in size and becoming unwieldy to manage. And the company, which creates behavior-change strategies to empower people to lead healthier lives, decided it didn't have the skill sets to properly address these problems. With only a few in-house IT people in 2005, the options were to either hire more in-house IT staff or to outsource.
An outsourced IT department for SMBs
Later that year, Danya International outsourced its IT department to Dataprise. David Eisner, President and CEO of Dataprise, sums up his company's value proposition in a sentence: "We are an outsourced IT department for SMBs."
Eisner explains that he built his business model especially for SMBs "because traditionally outsourced technology support operates on an hourly rate. It's very difficult for SMBs to budget and understand what they're paying for in that model. So we've put together packaged deals that allow clients to forecast what they're going to spend and that are holistic one-stop shops."
It used to be SMBs could afford one technology consultant to fix and install computers for an hourly fee. Eisner says "that works for a while when a business is small. But as the challenges grow, IT people generally get overwhelmed. They may be expert in one area, but when the problem is off their menu, they don't have a deep bench to pull from. Often they leave after a couple of years, which leaves the SMB holding the bag."
Eisner says Dataprise's support plans are a holistic way for an SMB to engage a partner to handle the IT function. The firm offers its Signature® Network Support plans with tiered support levels for SMBs of different sizes and requirements. SMBs choose plans that most clearly fit their needs. Known as Bronze, Gold, Platinum and Platinum+, the plans include various levels of on-site technical support, remote help desk support, and on-call server support. In addition, Dataprise offers managed services such as remote network monitoring, security service, remote data backup, and Web hosting. Dataprise will also customize tiered plans.
According to Raj Gulati, Vice President, Information Technology Services and Solutions at Danya International, "Several people provide on-site and remote support on a day-to-day basis to keep our network running." The company's servers are co-located at a remote network operating center (NOC). Dataprise also manages all the PCs, the hardware upgrades, and the application patches.
Dataprise also does the IT technology inventory tracking and handles the IT purchase order process when employees need something that's technology-oriented. Dataprise also assists in getting the right quotes and insuring it orders the products," Gulati adds.
The benefits of IT packaged deals and one-stop shops
Danya International is a fast-growing company, so it needed IT capabilities that could grow with the company's requirements. This was especially the case with the company network, says Gulati, which was built for an SMB. Dataprise provided Danya with a flexible, scalable solution that solved this problem.
The outsourced mode of staffing that can grow or contract as needed meets Danya International's needs better. As opposed to having only a few staff in-house from nine-to-five, five days a week with benefits as part of their salaries, Danya International now has more outsourced staff 24x7 whose cost is rolled into the Platinum+ service plan.
The staff operates as an on-site team with a broad spectrum of expertise. As Eisner says, "If you have a Macintosh problem, you get a Macintosh person. If you have a Microsoft problem, you get a Microsoft person. If you need a high-level consultant to do CIO/CTO stuff, we give you that, too."
What's more, if a problem arises that the on-site team can't handle, it taps into Dataprise's entire out-of-house brain trust and comes back with an answer fairly quickly, he adds.
Remote managed services round out Dataprise's offering. The industry has largely shifted to remote managed or cloud-based services, says Eisner, so Dataprise provides a cadre of them that supplement its outsourced live-body service. These include virtual hosting that can yield cost savings on off-site data backup, anti-spam, anti-virus, security services, and so on.
Gulati says Danya International pays an annual fee for its Platinum+ plan and an additional amount per year for its managed services. Gulati says the service from Dataprise represents an affordable cost for doing business.