A Guide to Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

A Guide to Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

When running a small business, there are always a lot of tasks to juggle. IT issues will often pop up at the most inconvenient times, acting as both a distraction and a possible setback. With 31.7 million small businesses in the US representing 47.1% of the total workforce, IT problems are common across many industries. Although they take up a significant part of the economy, their challenges are more impactful due to their size.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80% of small businesses make it through their first year. 50% are around after five years. And this progressively drops to a 20-year 15% survival rate. Several factors create those rates. There’s a globally high technology adoption rate, where 93% of adults use the internet, making more than just a storefront needed. Small businesses are expected to have an online presence too.

With the internet being essential, it’s also exposed small businesses to more threats than ever before. Alarmingly, 60% of hacked small businesses go out of business within six months. Whether attempting to steal credit card information or ransoming valuable data, they can damage companies and customers alike. That has created a demand for managed IT services for small businesses.

Table of Contents

What is a Small Business?

A small business is an independently owned and operated company with fewer employees and revenue than a standard-sized business. They often focus on a specific commercial industry or economic sector. This targeted approach allows them to compete with larger organizations and doesn’t require as much revenue to stay profitable.

What are Managed IT Services for Small Businesses?

Managed IT services offer third-party support with any IT-related issue or project, bringing broader expertise to small businesses. That removes the need for in-house IT staff. Since they work with multiple clients across many industries, they have insight into the latest issues and innovations. They can react to problems as they develop and proactively implement new hardware and solutions to help companies stay competitive.

What Types of Services Can They Provide?

MSPs can provide many types of IT services requested by small businesses. Consultations and assessments are also available for those unsure of what they need. These are catered to the company’s needs, goals, and future expectations. Through this process, they can prioritize areas of greater improvement while minimizing costs by not implementing unneeded solutions. Some of the services offered are:

  • Cybersecurity
  • IT consulting
  • Assessments
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Cloud storage
  • Data recovery
  • Software training
  • IT compliance
  • Hardware upgrades
  • Network overhauls
  • Helpdesk support

IT consultants can recommend services based on their needs, allowing small businesses to receive customized support. Every company has unique functions or products, which means IT can benefit them diversly. Managed IT services aim to match the solutions to those specialized needs.

Why not just use in-house IT?

Many small businesses have at least one person to rely on for basic IT needs. Whether they’re a trained IT engineer or simply the most experienced person in the room, there’s a limitation to the time, resources, and knowledge to handle major problems and provide routine support. That can be inefficient and can have severe consequences if something is outside the scope of what they can address.

Hiring internal IT staff can also be an expensive and risky approach. It requires upfront funding to get them trained and integrated. An IT specialist can cost an average of $54,495 a year, while the median for cybersecurity experts is $120,708 annually. That can go upward depending on location, demand, and experience. Since they’re on staff payroll, they’re also being paid for lull periods when there’s nothing to do.

Since the staff member is internally trained, all the risk and liability go to the small business. If they’re dismissed, it requires restarting the process anew. It can take anywhere from 8 to 26 weeks for a new worker to reach full productivity. IT professionals are on the higher end of that scale.

Besides those factors, they may also be missing the knowledge necessary to handle every problem. Their understanding centers on the company’s focus areas, preventing them from acquiring the broader experience of small business outsourced IT. As a result, in-house staff isn’t always equipped to handle every problem.

Top 7 Challenges Faced by Small Businesses

Small businesses face many challenges beyond what they can quickly solve as a self-run entity. These can come in many shapes and sizes. Some can be prepared for, while others may be unexpected and only happen in specific situations.

Cybersecurity

Most organizations store a lot of valuable information. There’s a variety of threats, like viruses, ransomware, and hackers whose goal is to exploit any weaknesses they can find. Whether it’s ransoming a database or collecting information to sell to third parties, the end goal of cybercriminals is to make money off the small business’s data.

Technology changes

Technology continues to change steadily, with innovations shifting the way businesses, customers, and clients interact. Online shopping is one example, with 74% of adults doing it in some form. Having an online presence and website-based retail has become important for those who don’t visit in person.

Money management

There are a lot of risks with starting up a company, and a lot of them revolve around money management. Most people don’t have the luxury of significant outside investments, meaning their success or failure relies on their ability to be profitable. Having the proper accounting and payroll tools can go a long way in tracking money and costs.

Overworking

Employees and owners alike may have to wear many hats within a small business. That means filling in multiple roles to keep things functional, leading to overworking and higher fatigue without proper workload management. In the long run, this can be damaging to a company as burned-out staff are less productive and may provide lower quality work.

Customer and client needs

Like with technology changes, customer and client needs can shift over time. They might expect new services while society’s needs continue to evolve. These might be completely different from state to state in countries like the US. Keeping up with these can be challenging, especially with IT, where mistakes can be costly.

Troubleshooting IT

A full-time worker spends 22 minutes a day, on average, troubleshooting IT problems. That translates to 95 hours a year, or almost 2 ½ weeks of lost productivity. Depending on the issue or job, it may take additional time to get back on task after a distraction.

Preparing for the future

Anticipating future changes in IT is not an easy task. Whether it’s a new security issue or a fresh digital innovation, two main factors are involved: reaction and preparation. Both parts can be complex, especially without specialists who can answer questions, anticipate problems, and support setting up new systems.

Top 7 Benefits of Using Managed IT Services for a Small Business

Competition with larger organizations means finding ways to get higher quality solutions at a fraction of the cost. With the help of managed IT services, small businesses can better use money through several benefits offered.

Better cybersecurity

MSPs use a variety of digital tools to help keep clients safe. That includes endpoint protection like antivirus, firewalls, DNS filters, and spam detection to counteract most threats to your devices and networks. By combining those with monitoring software, an IT specialist can quickly respond to anything that manages to bypass those layers of protection.

Improved productivity

With overworking being an ongoing concern, managed IT services can help reduce some workloads and improve employee efficiency through additional software tools and staff training. By reducing worker strain, there is less likely to be a drop in productivity that can accompany burn-out.

Scalable IT services

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the services that a small business needs. Customers and clients can be variable, products offered will differ, and the tools that employees use may change over time. With scalable IT services, it can be customized to individual needs and adapt to changes in operational scale.

Experienced IT staff

Managed IT services have access to a larger pool of employees due to their organization specializing in providing IT and managing multiple clients. Since all the staff is well trained and certified, they have expanded knowledge and ability compared to an in-house team. That allows them to help with common problems and have outside-the-box thinking with complex and unexpected issues.

Reduced costs

Training IT staff and providing the needed experience can be costly for any small business. Finding the right solution can also be the difference between improvement and years of spendy IT maintenance of a poorly designed system. Managed IT services remove the risk of in-house IT staff and directly implement the best and most cost-effective solutions.

On-demand support

Organizations never know when a problem will emerge, even with a strong IT foundation. Instead of wasting time troubleshooting IT issues, helpdesk services can provide on-demand support for issues of any size. Assistance can arrive even during off-hours, as many small business IT companies will provide 24/7 helpdesk services with an emergency contact line.

Maintaining IT compliance

Meeting IT compliance is essential for cybersecurity and meeting compliance requirements within many industries. Assessing infrastructure for compliance is a complicated role and requires someone with specialized experience. Managed IT services can do all the heavy lifting by ensuring compliance is up to par.

Learn How Managed IT Services Can Help

Running a small business can be an expensive and hard task. With everything from equipment costs and incorporation fees to office spaces and inventory management, upfront and monthly expenses can quickly grow. Cybercriminals are a constant threat too. As each day brings new situations and unexpected challenges, building a solid IT foundation helps financially and can boost productivity in many areas.

Whether a stable specialty store or a new start-up, operating costs are central to the function of any small business. Without revenue, there is no company. Outsourcing with managed IT services can help cut expenses while better utilizing available resources. Staff can focus on their business and worry less about their IT systems by letting third parties handle IT functions.

Running a small business isn’t easy. ITonDemand’s managed IT services offer an experienced team to take on any IT challenge. We provide fully outsourced IT or can partner with in-house staff to better utilize them. Our client-first approach will help you get the most out of your money while keeping your IT costs down with the right tools and software. Your technology should work with you, not against you. With help from ITonDemand, we can make that happen.

Contact Us for Managed IT Services

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How Predictive Analytics Will Improve Patient Care

How Predictive Analytics Will Improve Patient Care

In healthcare, meeting the needs of patients is an ongoing challenge. Doctors, nurses, IT staff, clerks, janitors, equipment providers, and more must work together to provide the best patient care possible. With technology being a core component, predictive analytics has been a fast-growing industry. Due to its broad uses, it’s expected to grow annually by over 20% across the next five years.

Throughout the day-to-day functions, healthcare providers generate massive datasets. For example, the MRI of a human head takes over 20,000 pictures. Due to technology improvements requiring increasingly more data, interpreting it can be a complex task. There can be interactions between very different types of information. That has created a demand for newer methods, like predictive analytics, to convert data into a more usable form. In doing so, healthcare IT companies can help facilities make more accurate decisions for their patients.

What Is Predictive Analytics?

Predictive analytics is a type of analysis that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help predict future events. It’s done with current and historical data, where it can support anyone from doctors to IT staff with healthcare-related decisions.

The datasets used are not limited to internal statistics either. Outside sources like local events, national holidays, weather changes, time of day, tourist traffic, etc., can have an impact too. These can predict many situations, like when extra staffing is needed or what types of health issues are more likely to happen.

Why It Can Improve Patient Care

The digital transformation of healthcare has created large amounts of valuable data. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are used by nearly 90% of office-based physicians and aren’t bound by the same limitations as paper records. With the help of AI-driven predictive analytics, that data can be looked at in new and innovative ways to improve the quality of patient care.

Increased diagnosis accuracy

One challenge for any doctor is a quick and accurate medical diagnosis. Patients will often have more than one underlying symptom, and it requires years of training and experience to judge. Predictive analytics doesn’t replace the doctor’s role but instead acts as a tool to support the process.

Proactive treatment

Medical providers try to decrease the chance of problems. Predictive software can detect patients that are at higher risk. Those risks can be observed through medical history and family genetics. By flagging people as being at increased risk for specific issues, lifestyle changes can be made earlier on.

Personalized care plans

Every person has unique lifestyle needs, dietary habits, chronic symptoms, and other factors that can impact their health. Data analytics can help develop personalized care plans, letting the doctor better identify areas of improvement while reducing the impact on other aspects of a patient’s life.

Reduced medical costs

More effective care means less wasted treatment and a reduced risk of an issue becoming more expensive. It can help in other ways too. Insurance plans can be developed with statistics from healthcare providers, creating ways to reduce overall costs by analyzing patient needs and trends.

Shorter wait times

It’s hard to anticipate surges, long appointments, or surgical complications. Walk-in clinics and ERs are especially vulnerable to a lack of schedule. That can leave patients waiting longer for treatment. Better predicting these factors can lead to shorter wait times through more accurate staffing.

Other Healthcare Uses

In addition to EMRs, many other data types are tracked and stored. That includes accounting, health insurance, cybersecurity, and other statistics like patient lifetime value. That allows predictive analytics to be useful for more than just patient care. It can also help with other healthcare-related areas.

Improved patient retention

Identifying areas and methods that patients are more responsive can improve care. Even if two people have similar health issues, they may be more responsive to different strategies. This not only enhances the quality of care but also decreases the chance of readmissions for the same problem.

Resource prioritization

Providers have a limited budget, staff, time, and medical supplies to meet patient needs. That can make it difficult to judge where best to put extra resources and where to trim down. Predictive analytics in healthcare will not only look at historical and current needs to better utilize resources but can help project future ones too.

Managing large data pools

When looking at a mixture of data pools, ranging from medical records to admission peaks, interpreting how they correlate can take a lot of time. AI-driven analytics can look at those interactions and more quickly present the information in a usable form. This makes it easier for healthcare staff to act upon it.

Cybersecurity

Cybercriminals are a constant threat to healthcare. They often target medical records which hold valuable patient data. When ransomware is used, those records are locked by a hacker, forcing the target to pay a fee to unlock the files. Data breaches can cost over $400 per patient record that’s stolen.

Threat monitoring

Using a combination of predictive analytics and standard security methods makes it easier to monitor for unknown threats. This is done by detecting unusual patterns in real-time and alerting IT staff. Even with cybersecurity built to handle the top IT problems, monitoring is vital to maintaining it.

Closing

From top to bottom, the healthcare industry uses data in various ways. It’s crucial for everything from medical records and treatment plans to admissions and cyber threat detection. This information can be better interpreted and used to support staff at all levels by using predictive analytics. Not only does it improve the quality of patient care, but it also helps providers get the most out of their budget and available resources.

As practical as it is, many offices aren’t prepared for the changes needed. That’s in part due to overhauls being a long and expensive process. It can include updating computers, software, networks, security, and training. Predictive analytics software must also be compatible with current systems, such as patient health records. With expert help, that process can go much more smoothly. Third-party healthcare IT companies like ITonDemand can assist by providing comprehensive and affordable services to meet your growing needs.

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Is IT Help Desk Outsourcing Worth It?

Is IT Help Desk Outsourcing Worth It?

Technology is a great tool, allowing people to work, collaborate, communicate, and adapt to day-to-day challenges. However, as device and software capabilities have continued to improve, it’s created more complex problems that people aren’t always equipped to handle. As a result, employees spend an average of 8 hours every week searching for knowledge to fix problems.

Roughly 39% of the time is put towards role-specific tasks. The rest is spent searching and gathering information, communicating, collaborating, and reading and responding to emails. This creates a large chunk of time that is lower efficiency and further burdened by IT questions and issues. With the tech industry taking up 35% of the world market, these demands will only continue to grow. That is where IT help desk outsourcing comes in.

What Does an IT Help Desk Do?

An IT help desk is a point of contact for any IT-related problems. They assist with end-user questions and obstacles as they pop up, acting as a source of information and providing technical solutions. That can include bug fixes, feature requests, network systems, login issues, device compatibility, and other IT needs. Other tools may be included, such as FAQs to answer routine questions and ticket systems to support non-urgent requests.

They also have the flexibility to coordinate with in-house or outsourced IT teams, letting them assist with larger-scale tasks based on their priority. Help desk services are designed to minimize downtime and reduce inconvenience to employees, allowing them to focus on their assigned jobs better.

How Does Help Desk Outsourcing Work?

IT problems can come in many shapes and sizes. Some can be hard to diagnose but can be fixable in minutes. Others might require an entire team for half the day. An outsourced IT help desk acts as the first point of contact for unexpected obstacles and offers many benefits throughout the process.

10 Benefits of IT Help Desk Outsourcing

IT problems can come in many shapes and sizes. Some can be hard to diagnose but can be fixable in minutes. Others might require a full team half the day to assist with. Outsourced IT help desk act as a first point of contact for unexpected obstacles and offer a variety of benefits throughout the process.

Scaling services

Outsourced help desk services can be adjusted to meet individual needs and priorities. Scalable services can match their pace, whether it’s a small start-up company, a mid-sized business, or a large-scale corporation.

Reduced cost

IT help desk outsourcing can reduce costs in several ways. This is done through better usage of resources, experienced IT staff, and building a support plan based on an organization’s needs. That allows them to provide more support and a lower cost than in-house teams.

Larger IT staff

Not only does outsourcing reduce costs, but it gives access to a larger pool of help desk support specialists. Since they’re available on an as-needed basis, there are always experienced staff on call to respond when a significant issue arises.

Trained specialists

Hiring and training internal helpdesk staff can be complex with some cost-related risks. Outsourcing to a third-party company allows them to take on the risk and handle the teaching, letting organizations get better service for their money.

Industry experience

Outsourced services have hands-on experience with a diverse range of industries, giving them above-average knowledge to apply to each situation. Solutions that are created for one client can often help others too.

Centralized IT requests

For employees and management alike, knowing who to ask about a specific IT problem or question can take more time and thought than is practical. With help desk outsourcing, all the requests are centralized in one area, letting them handle contacting the right specialists.

24/7 monitoring

Another advantage to a more extensive staff is broader coverage to monitor IT and cybersecurity issues. That allows obstacles to be addressed during off-hours, helping minimize downtime of critical functions.

Quick response time

Time is critical when reacting to many IT challenges. With multiple IT specialists and the option for 24/7 monitoring, problems can be responded to and solved much more quickly due to on-call availability.

Less wasted resources

Time and productivity are valuable resources for every industry. Employees wasting time on solving minor IT issues is time not spent doing their regular work. Outsourced help desks can answer any questions and fix those routine issues.

Software recommendations

Help desk staff can see what is or is not working when troubleshooting. With that insight, they can make software recommendations that not only reduce the chance of incidents but may also help with worker productivity.

Closing

Technology demands have continued to increase, making minor IT problems common among most industries. With artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and quantum computing on the horizon, it’s become increasingly difficult to anticipate new IT issues that collide unexpectedly. New technology isn’t the only challenge, either. Old hardware and software compatibility issues can be disruptive, being a trigger in 34% of IT purchases.

Since IT challenges can come from any direction, it’s increased the need for third-party services to help adapt and navigate. They can lower IT costs and provide many perks, making them more sustainable and efficient than in-house IT. Help desk outsourcing companies like ITonDemand can custom fit their services to fit the organization. Is IT help desk outsourcing worth it then? If the needs and benefits outweigh what can be done internally, then yes, it is.

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A Guide to Managed IT for Healthcare, Medical & Dental

A Guide to Managed IT for Healthcare, Medical & Dental

The healthcare industry has continually adapted to the patient, staff, and regulatory needs. Information technology (IT) has been a key component of healthcare globally to support those demands. It’s allowed medical and dental practices to modernize their workflow and improve patient engagement, allowing for a higher quality of care.

As part of those changes, there’s been a steady demand for home care through telemedicine. Not only is it convenient, but 86% of patients were satisfied with the service provided. Other innovations include predictive analytics for patient care, using AI to automate tasks, virtual collaboration tools, and expanding services offered by local providers. With technology integrated throughout the process, IT is essential for maintaining those systems.

Managed services have been critical in handling IT challenges due to the high adoption rate of healthcare technology and a growing need for experienced staff. This guide will discuss what managed IT services are, the top 7 challenges, the top 7 benefits, and how these services can help your clinic.

Table of Contents

What are Managed IT Services for Healthcare?

Healthcare-managed IT services outsource their technology needs to a third-party organization. That helps with HIPAA compliance, cloud services, cybersecurity, data backup, software, and more. They can coordinate with in-house support teams or completely handle services from top-to-bottom.

A managed IT provider specializing in healthcare focuses its efforts on crucial areas of the industry. Medical and dental practices are patient-driven, making the technology experience for both the patient and the provider a priority for improving the quality of care. Electronic health record (EHR) systems need to be responsive, accurate, and easy to use. Website information and patient user accounts should be simple to navigate.

Even with a well-designed IT infrastructure, cybercriminals are a constant threat. 83% of physicians reported experiencing some form of cyberattack. This causes cybersecurity, data recovery, and monitoring to be invaluable services to prevent and react to hazards. With so many interacting layers of technology, this creates many complications that are best solved by managed IT services.

Top 7 IT Challenges Face by Medical & Dental Practices

There are a lot of IT challenges faced by medical and dental practices throughout the world. With changes in patient needs, threats of data breaches, and rising maintenance costs, keeping pace with the IT industry has become difficult. That has led to smaller in-house IT teams losing value and effectiveness, as they don’t have resources or experience overhauling larger-scale systems.

Telemedicine

Between ongoing health concerns and added convenience, telemedicine has been an essential element for many medical and dental practices to stay in business. These systems require cross-communication between various systems, like user accounts, medical records, and video chat software. Setting these up can be a lengthy and convoluted process, especially if a complete overhaul is required.

Data management

Medical and dental practices process and maintain a vast amount of patient data. That includes medical records, insurance information, payment processing, and other private material. Processing and accessing all this information can be a challenge since it must be stored in a usable manner. EHR backups must also be maintained. Emergencies are rarely anticipated, and reacquiring lost data can be difficult and damage patient trust.

Cybersecurity

The healthcare industry has been an increasingly attractive target for criminals. Selling private health information from patients and ransoming high-value networks can have catastrophic consequences for medical and dental practices. Outdated cybersecurity methods are now more easily bypassed, making way for the need for stricter and more effective measures.

Mobile applications

Many healthcare clinics are now using mobile applications as part of their patient experience. This makes it easier for them to schedule appointments, check medical records, and ask questions directly to their providers. Designing and maintaining these applications requires ongoing IT support. They need security updates, bug fixes, feature changes, and more based on their utilization.

HIPAA compliance

Managing data is crucial, but meeting industry standards for IT compliance is also necessary. Due to the sensitivity of the acquired information, there are additional guidelines for storage and cybersecurity. Assessing whether a practice meets these regulations requires an experienced staff familiar with HIPAA compliance, can spot areas that come up short, and can implement fixes promptly.

Staff Training

As more healthcare offices integrate technology changes, staff may be hesitant to embrace and try out changes they don’t understand. Training them to understand and trust these updates isn’t always easy, especially if a practice uses outdated and inefficient methods like paper charts. Having a reliable and trustworthy IT team makes it easier to train staff and integrate new changes in a way that’s beneficial for everyone.

Financial limitations

Even with good intentions and proper planning, financial limitations are an ongoing obstacle for IT. Serving patients is the core of healthcare, and the role technology plays in that process is often understated. That leads to underbudgeted IT departments asking to do more than they have the staff or resources for, creating a gap in services.

Top 7 Benefits of Using Managed IT for Healthcare

Medical and dental practices have many IT needs that can be difficult to navigate. Not only can managed IT services help with industry challenges, but they also provide additional services that proactively improve IT capabilities. Whether using co-managed or fully outsourced IT services, there are many benefits to using managed IT services for healthcare.

IT staff recruitment

Recruiting and onboarding new IT employees can take a lot of time and money, with no guarantee that they will be successful. The average cost-per-hire is $4,425 and takes over a month to fill, which can scale upward depending on the specialization. Managed IT services internally train and onboard their staff, bringing them up to speed with their solutions and services. As a result, the cost and risks of hiring new IT staff are completely outsourced.

Cost savings

Besides bypassing expenses from staff recruitment, there are several ways managed IT services for healthcare can create cost savings. Inefficient and outdated IT infrastructure can generate a lot of wasted time. This diverts staff away from patients as they deal with hardware and software bumps that slow them down. Managed services can also provide solutions to those issues at a lower cost because IT staff is already specialized in doing so.

Scalability

Managed IT services can scale based on current needs, anticipated growth, and long-term goals. That helps better utilize budget and IT resources by reducing wastage on projects that are low priority, ineffective, or poorly designed. By not paying for unnecessary services and implementing long-lasting solutions, healthcare clinics can save up to 40% on their IT costs by switching to managed services.

Customized Solutions

Every healthcare provider has a unique set of challenges, needs, and goals with their continuous functions. There’s no single best solution for every situation; some may be more effective than others. Managed IT services for medical practices can develop customized solutions that factor in those situations. This allows for higher effectiveness while minimizing costs.

24/7 monitoring

Monitoring IT infrastructure can be a daunting task, especially for smaller IT teams with limited time and resources. By using managed IT services, 24/7 monitoring can be completely outsourced, which shifts the workload to a third party that is better suited to handle the task. Their staff will conduct monitoring and disaster response, allowing them to respond better to any issue than most in-house teams.

Helpdesk Support

Not every issue is going to be a calamity. Managed IT services have staff able to help on an as-needed basis too. An outsourced helpdesk can assist with matters of any size, including answering end-user questions and providing guidance on new system functions. Availability covers standard business hours and often includes 24/7 support options depending on the needs of the healthcare clinic.

Increased productivity

By using managed IT services, employee productivity can be improved in various ways. Well-built IT infrastructure is easy to access, use, learn, and understand. Software changes and computer upgrades are made more quickly based on evolving needs, rather than leaving employees struggling with inefficiencies long-term. With on-demand helpdesk support and monitoring, unexpected issues are quickly reacted to and fixed.

How Can Managed IT Help Your Medical Practice?

With increasingly complex and expensive EHR systems needed to manage vital data, serving the needs of both staff and patients has outgrown the capabilities of many smaller in-house IT teams. Every medical practice has its own workflow and obligations, making specialized solutions a more effective way to use a clinic’s limited IT resources.

Managed IT services can provide larger-scale support on everything from hardware and software to mobile apps and HIPAA compliant cybersecurity. Outsourcing IT challenges to a third-party team shifts the extra burden, risks, and cost externally. At the same time, the additional expertise, resources, and monitoring make for reliable support and more effective solutions. Better services, lower costs, and fewer risks make outsourcing a practical choice.

ITonDemand’s healthcare IT services offer an experienced team to take on any IT challenge. We’ll help you solve inefficiencies and cost inflation with enhancements that save time and money. In addition, our team will prepare your infrastructure for changes in staffing, logistics, and patient needs. Your technology should work with you, not against you. With help from ITonDemand, we can make that happen.

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Can Data Analytics Solve Your Nonprofit’s Problems?

Can Data Analytics Solve Your Nonprofit’s Problems?

 
You want to improve the processes of budgeting, forecasting, and fundraising for your nonprofit; however, you are having a hard time identifying problems and solutions.

 Data analytics can help.

This type of business intelligence is already considered indispensable in the for-profit realm. It can be just as critical for nonprofits and associations. 

Informed decision making

As businesses and nonprofits have become more reliant on computers, data has become more captive and more segregated among disparate departments and functions. Data analytics is the science of collecting and analyzing sets of data to develop useful insights, connections, and patterns that can lead to more informed decision-making. It produces such metrics as program efficacy, outcomes vs. efforts, and membership renewal that can reflect past and current performance and, in turn, predict and guide future performance. 

The data usually comes from two sources: 

1. Internal: Examples include your organization’s databases of detailed information on donors, beneficiaries, or members.

2. External: This type of information can be obtained from government databases, social media, and other organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit.

Applied advantages

Data analytics can help your organization validate trends, uncover root causes and improve transparency. For example, analysis of certain fundraising data makes it easier to target those individuals most likely to contribute to your nonprofit. 

It typically facilitates fact-based discussions and planning, which is helpful when considering new initiatives or cost-cutting measures that stir political or emotional waters. The ability to predict outcomes can support sensitive programming decisions by considering data on a wide range of factors — such as at-risk populations, funding restrictions, offerings available from other organizations, and grantmaker priorities. 

Needs dictate your purchase

Your organization’s informational needs should dictate the data analytics package you buy. Thousands of potential performance metrics can be produced, but not all of them will be useful. Keeping in mind your most important programs, identify those metrics that matter most to stakeholders and that truly drive decisions. Also ensure that the technology solution you choose complies with any applicable privacy and security regulations, as well as your organization’s ethical standards. 

You can adopt the most cutting-edge software, but if your staff aren’t on board, data analytics will be of little benefit. Note that you may need to hire or develop qualified staff to conduct data analytics and convert the results into actionable intelligence. 

Make the most of it

Before you choose a technology, make sure your organization, including your staff, is ready to make the most of it. We can help steer you in the right direction. Consider reaching out to us at 800-297-8293.

Edward D. Warren

Edward D. Warren

Business Development Director, ITonDemand

Ed is an accomplished sales executive with over 15 years of professional services sales and marketing experience. He’s worked for Allinial Global and RSM Alliance member firms and serves on the board of the Association of Accounting Marketing

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6 Ways to Reduce IT Costs

6 Ways to Reduce IT Costs

Your business is always looking to reduce costs. Looking at the information technology budget line items is headache-inducing. So much money spent in one area, and there’s so little you can do about it! But is that really true? IT expenses may not be as fixed as you think, as your decisions can save you money. Take a look at these target areas where you might reduce costs.  

Your business should try to reduce costs without losing value

Looking at your information technology budget is stressful for a lot of owners. So much money spent in one area, and there’s so little you can do about it!  But is that true? 

IT expenses may not be as fixed as you think.  

1. Software

Your business likely pays to license software such as Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Photoshop. Reviewing these software agreements, you can often find cost savings:   

  • See if you can renegotiate a subscription if the provider wants to move you onto a new offering.   
     
  • Are you paying for software that isn’t in use? Try to see if you can reduce or remove it.   
     
  • Has the pricing has changed? Are there now better plan options available? 
     
  • There may be an open-source software alternative to save acquisition and maintenance costs. 

2. Hardware

Your current hardware may be underused, need refreshing, or have lost productivity. Find ways to run applications on less expensive devices. One way to do this is by linking together several computers to replace expensive server equipment. Standardizing platforms can also significantly reduce IT costs while providing consistency. 

3. Cloud Computing

One way to cut IT infrastructure costs is to move to the cloud. You can run software on the cloud for a fraction of the cost. Moving data backup to the cloud to replace an on-premises server can also cut costs. Rather than losing all your data on a singular device, it can be stored in one location in the cloud.  

Even if you’re already in the cloud, you can explore whether you are on the best available plan for you and consider:  

  • Are you paying for more storage or resources than you need?  
  • Are you taking full advantage of mobility and scalability features? 
  • Are you duplicating on-premise and cloud-based services?  

4. Internet Services

Your employees need to be online. You’re not going to cut out internet services. However, you may be able to control costs:  

Should you buy modems or routers instead of renting them from your provider?  

  • Consider the internet speed in your plan. Do you need that level of service?  
  • Is slow internet speed costing your company money when, in fact, you’ll be more efficient with an upgrade?  
  • Are you able to bundle services to find cost savings?  
  • Are you in a position to renegotiate your plan?  

5. IT Staff and Services

Avoid infrastructure costs and the hiring expenses of onsite IT staff by outsourcing. Chances are, you’re probably not an expert in IT. Managed Services Providers (MSPs) end up saving you money in the long-term by taking care of your IT. Often your business can pay a set monthly fee or go on a pay-per-use model to gain services such as:  

  • IT help desk support  
  • security  
  • disaster recovery  
  • backup  

6. Utilities

Don’t overlook the costs involved in powering your IT components. Review your utility bills to identify trends. Can you save money by turning off equipment? Is there a better plan available with a competing service? Should you renegotiate the terms of your existing plan?  

Time for a Technology Audit

The best way to identify specific areas to cut your IT budget is a technology audit.  

Your IT needs are always changing, and the technology does too. Many businesses add expensive components or systems with “room to grow.” New tools get added on as needs arise. Your use of certain technologies can fluctuate.  

An IT expert can be your best case of action. 

They can provide you all the software and services you use, and bills related to your IT budget to find areas to streamline or cut altogether. It may seem counterintuitive to pay money in an attempt to save money. However, an outsider’s perspective can provide fresh insight into the “way things have always been done” and help you see new opportunities for consolidation.  

We can help you meet your budget goals. Contact us today at (800) 297-8293! 

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