4 Reasons to Rethink How Your Association Handles IT
- Christopher Kasmark
- January 18, 2017
You can save money by hiring outside firms to handle your association’s accounts payable, benefits administration, and even IT support and network management. But that’s not why you should do it.
Partner with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to increase your association’s technology capabilities in these four ways.
#1 Let staff focus on moving your organization forward, not running in place.
The most compelling argument for redistributing the IT workload from your IT staff to a Managed Services Provider is to give your team more time to focus on mission-critical responsibilities. Leave distracting technical issues—like keeping your network running—to your IT partner. Give your staff valuable time to help your association better use technology to achieve your strategic and departmental goals.
For most nonprofits, IT is not—nor should it be—a core competency. It doesn’t make good business sense for your association to invest in a large IT staff or even a robust on-premise infrastructure. Your organization’s resources are better spent on in-house talent who can deliver value to members.
The executive team shouldn’t spend its energy trying to manage IT staff, vet IT applicants, or review IT staff performance. Most likely, they don't have the technology experience and knowledge to do these tasks effectively. Leave IT operations to the experts so you can focus your energies on more strategic technology concerns.
#2 Gain access to an MSP’s deep bench of IT talent and resources.
When you work with an MSP, you no longer have to find and develop IT staff who have to be jacks of all trades (but masters of none). Instead, you have access to an entire team of specialized masters.
Look for an MSP with deep association experience. Your MSP should understand what it means to support mission-driven vs. for-profit organizations. They should be familiar with the business processes and technology used in associations, like how association management systems (AMS) integrate with other software.
With DelCor as your MSP, you benefit from a knowledge bank enriched by IT experts who’ve worked in and for associations, our diverse 501(c) client base, as well as ongoing professional development to help us—and our clients—stay current with technology developments inside and outside the association world.
As your business needs change, you can easily scale your engagement with an MSP up or down. Pick and choose what you want to outsource. For example, keep some tasks in-house, but outsource the more time-consuming ones, like network monitoring. With the right partner, you can gain a tremendous degree of IT flexibility that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Not to be overlooked: by working with an MSP, you also can take advantage of their purchasing power for the software and licenses you need.
#3 Enjoy IT peace of mind.
24/7 support should be business as usual for your IT partner. That way, you don’t have to worry about the safety and reliability of your network outside office hours, when staff is sick or on vacation, while you're away at your annual meeting, or during staff transitions. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that someone is taking care of the necessary monitoring, backups, updates, and patch management.
An MSP’s guaranteed service level agreement (SLA) goes beyond what an in-house IT staff could ever provide. Your Managed Services Provider proactively monitors and manages your network infrastructure, minimizes security risks, and maximizes your technology investment.
#4 Take security to the next level.
Network security is an around-the-clock job requiring dedicated attention. Truth is, in most cases, an MSP is better equipped to handle your organization’s cyber security than you are. MSP professionals are aware of security threats as they arise and morph, as well as the tools to combat those threats. The hosted environments provided by MSPs are generally more secure than on-premise servers.
It’s important to research a prospective MSP before you sign on. Don’t just hand over the keys to your data without asking some tough questions about their security and backup practices. Find out which questions to ask in our eBook, The Cybersecurity Watchlist for Association and Nonprofit Executives.