Technology and Economy: Q & A with Sean Ferrel

Founded in 2002, Managed Solution was barely 6 years old when the 2008 financial crisis hit. Yet, even as a young company we managed (pun intended) to pull through and grow to become the organization you now know today. That is why, today, we're talking about technology and economy.

With that in mind, we sat down to interview our CEO, Sean Ferrel, to discuss the recent economic events and how they pertain to Information Technology and the Tech industry in general. Read on to explore a top-down examination of a post-covid financial climate and gather insight and advice for your business.


A Top-Down Look at the Economy

A lot has been a lot going on with the U.S. economy since the pandemic. Recently though, we’ve seen some real negative indicators with bank collapses on a level reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis. As a business leader, could you share some insight with us about today’s current economic environment?

Sean: In the last 3+ years there’s been a lot thrown at businesses. From COVID-19 to hybrid workforces; all the way up to how the housing markets have been affected. When people started to work from home it changed the places where people wanted to live. This drove a lot of inflation in certain areas that didn’t previously have these high-salary workers in the market before.

However, the housing market is one aspect. At the core of it, we could argue that there’s been a supply problem across the board. We see it an automobile makers and shipping components. For example, we rely on other countries for things as simple as [computer] chips. Manufacturers couldn’t get the chips to put into cars so a lot of cars couldn’t be built, which then created low supply, and the big companies with low supply were able to charge more for the commodities and goods we needed.

Even with our food and beverage companies. There was a problem there as well due to the lack of potential employees. So, whether it was auto-parts or workers in factories: businesses couldn’t produce as fast as they [normally] would. The demand for goods was still high, the supply was low, and ultimately people charged, and are still charging, more for their product.

Now, the more supply that these companies create and market - the less demand they might get for the product if it becomes more saturated. Meaning they’d have to bring down their inflated costs.

They also have to pay more in taxes if they produce more of something. So, a lot of companies have kind of sat for a minute and said, “well, we're getting a lot of money for our product than we used to get, so why should we produce anymore just to get taxed more for it?”. Which is why many have continued to drive the same amount of supply out of their organization and the inflation has remained. Of course, there’s more nuance to it, but essentially that’s where we’re at.

I think the reason why we’ll run into the “recession”, however, is simply because the dollar goes less far. Things are more expensive and the only way to combat that is businesses paying their employees more. This is challenging and leads to businesses charging their customers more and it becomes a very vicious cycle. One that, unfortunately, will eventually come to a head when businesses can longer afford to pay their employees more and will likely automate their processes instead, or they’ll have to downsize. So, I do think there will be more layoffs coming.

What’s interesting though, we all read about the layoffs at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. It wasn’t because the companies were doing poorly -- they have more cash in the bank than ever. It’s merely due to the fact that their demand is going to go down because of people’s dollar’s not going as far.


2008 v. 2023

How do you feel our current economic situation compares to that of 2008?

Sean: Compared to 2008, it’s a very different market. Back then it was the way banks were lending with negative amortization loans. Essentially, saying “we're going to loan you for this half a million-dollar house -- which you probably couldn't afford with your salary this much money -- and in three years we're going to increase your interest rate adjusted from an initial 5% or 4% interest rate up to 12%.

That increased the cost of the mortgage and people just got wiped out really fast. They couldn't afford it and hence we had a huge market where things were foreclosing, people didn't have the money and they borrowed against the home and their credit was tapped.

In today’s world though, people have been making a lot of money. It’s been a good economy for a long time, and I don’t think people are tapped credit-wise at this point, so we’re not going to see a big downturn where people are liquidating everything they have. But we definitely need to see some changes happen.


The Tech Industry

From your perspective, what are the main shifts the economy has had on the tech industry?

Sean: In the whole tech-sector; you have four things that happened in the workplace:

  1. Hybrid Workforce
  2. Heightened concern for cybersecurity
  3. Workplace culture shift
  4. Increased interest in the cloud

What I see there is a problem in general with “can technology solve it?” one, but two, “does the workforce for technologists -- like the people that we employ -- have the skill set”?

Technology has sprawled a ton, so it’s almost impossible to find enough talent out there to keep up. There's a huge lack of it from security talent to cloud talent, etc.

So, companies are struggling to find the right IT people who aren’t over-charging for the cost of their labor because, again, the employee-cost has inflated. That’s why now there’s this notion of Do More With Less. Technology and economy, obviously being closely interwoven in this concept. 


Doing More with Less (Technology and Economy)

Could you tell us what “doing more with less” looks like?

Sean: I think one question is; are companies ultimately building tools that are easier to manage by bolting them together? For example, Microsoft owns Microsoft Azure (the cloud).

They also own the operating system within the cloud, which is windows. Then they own the productivity software we all use, which is Office 365 -- and in that you have your communication tools like Microsoft Teams, collaboration hubs like Microsoft Viva -- all the way down to the computer with Windows operating system.

With that, they can control the market from a cost perspective and drive down costs for these suites of products. Not to mention, more Microsoft people in general are probably out there in the world studying and learning.

Making it a little bit easier to find people who do work in that area. And at the ultimate goal; it's easier to manage the process and the technology by consolidating into one or two platforms as opposed to having many, many vendors.

It’s similar to security too. Everybody's coming to market with amazing security tools that do detection at the endpoint or do secure app management to secure applications in the world. But now there's a lot of them and there's not enough resources out there to ultimately manage many different types inside of one business.

So, that's where the big picture of the project-based work consolidation is happening. You have more talent to manage better and more control & cost optimization by consolidating these infrastructures. Today's technology and economy are extremely closely related so business leaders need to emphasize having the right technology for their companies.


The Role of Managed Services

Could you speak about how this all ties into managed services and IT outsourcing? What benefit, if any, could customers gain from these types of services and solutions during this time?

Sean: As I mentioned before, you have the whole thing around hybrid and remote workforces. There are two things that happened:

  1.  Shifted working hours
  2. Changing workforce (great resignation)

Where previously companies had one IT person in the office. That’s not the same anymore. If people are working from home, they're working 24 hours a day. There's not really a regular 9 – 5 anymore.

That means the calls are coming in more than ever. The person who worked internal IT doesn't want to be the person hanging on the phone taking those calls all day every day and it’s not like they can run into anyone’s house to get everything set. That’s why we see technical call-based Help Desks becoming more and more popular. So, outsourcing will continue to grow in a bad economy. Outsourcing and centralizing the tools that are being managed by companies.

The second reason why outsourcing is becoming bigger, is due in part to the great resignation. With the inflation of salaries and expense of increased employee turnover, people are looking at companies, like Managed Solution, instead.

 Beyond that, when it comes to enhancing security, making their users more productive, or having collaboration tools move into the cloud -- many companies are finding that the traditional IT teams are not always tooled up for this. That's why we're seeing more companies outsourcing a lot of that strategy as well; to help them build a long-term footprint that looks at the total cost of ownership. They’re asking organizations like us, “How do we optimize costs and better productivity for my new hybrid workforce of users and make sure we’re secure?”.

For us, it's a nice place to play in the industry right now, being sort of the managed service provider who outsources all this stuff and the consulting arm to be able to go out and help build the future architecture.


Advice to Fellow Tech Companies

We’ve established that the economy today is different than it was in 2008, but one thing they have in common is their negative impact on people and businesses financially. As a business leader who came out of that, do you have any advice or words of comfort for fellow tech companies like Managed Solution?

Sean: For tech companies like ours, it’s always been a good thing to have multiple vendors on your website such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Dell, etc. A lot of the traditional sense has been that those are kind of like VARs, or ‘value added resellers’, who could resell all these products and services.

But my advice, is that you’ve got to pick a horse. Make sure you understand what suppliers (Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, VMware, Cisco), are building that understand the economic climate. If cost is a big factor and businesses are having to do more with less technology, who's building the technology in one stack of products to ultimately give you all the tools that you need to be successful?

Consolidation is really where I think all businesses should try to head and are trying to head right now. So, ultimately, as it pertains to technology -- I think picking that horse that you think is going to be best in the race is key. Technology and economy is a huge conversation right now. Technology and economy are both make or break aspects for businesses today.


If you’re interested in speaking to one of our team members for more tech-guidance? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Want more resources or interested in more tech content? Head over to our blog page! Technology and economy is a huge conversation right now. Be sure to keep up with us to stay in the know!

Written By: Sara Cardoza

As technology continues to expand and become more complex (and the more it begins to connect all our critical data) the need for compliance and regulation will continue to expand right along with It — and as it should!  Compliance is meant to be an ally… but without proper management it can quickly become the enemy. While many see compliance as more red tape, the truth is failure to comply with regulations can lead to expensive fees and fines. Managed Solution can help boost your compliance and help your business get closer to you compliance goal.

What is Compliance & Security Management?

In the IT world, compliance management around governance, risk and compliance is the process of ensuring a company or organization consistently complies with federal and state laws, industry requirements, vendor best practices, cyber insurance policies as well as post-breach protocol when it comes to their technology and data management.

In many ways when someone says “compliance,” what they really mean is documentation… and lots of it. Compliance is a big, complex collection of paperwork and data of all kinds, and compliance management is making sure all of that is organized, and more importantly, up to industry standard.

 Why Automate Compliance Management?

Because the world of compliance is so complex (and continues to evolve) it’s critical to make sure your organization has its T’s crossed and I’s dotted.  Like it or not, there’s a cost to compliance. BUT, research has shown it’s much more expensive not to follow the mandated industry regulations… in fact, up to 2.71 times more costly. The bottom line: compliance can be a headache, but implementing a consistent, effective solution saves money.

The good news is you don’t have to try to tackle compliance alone. That’s where Compliance Manager and Managed Solution comes into play. Compliance Manager is a cloud-based solution that automates the data gathering and reporting required to order to meet the necessary internal and external auditor expectations.

It’s a one-stop shop for:

  • In-product compliance guidance
  • Automated data collection
  • Brandable report, worksheet, and auditor checklist generation
  • Automatic archiving
  • Centralized workflow management and task notification
  • Tracking compliance activity

Key Compliance Manager Features

Compliance Manager is a robust tool that reduces risk by simplifying and streamlining your IT security documentation. And more than that, it makes sure everyone on your team is onboard and has one, easy-to-use platform to store, access and manage their part of the process.

Here are some of the key features: 

  1. Customizable Documentation & Processes. Compliance Manager is a role-based solution, meaning you can tailor it to meet your specific IT compliance needs and workflows. So, whether you’ve created your own company-specific standards or need help complying with industry regulations, each report and process can be adjusted accordingly, giving you the flexibility to simultaneously manage multiple compliance standards and information security protocols from one centralized location.
  2. Centralized Management. Because compliance involves many different data points and stakeholders, centralizing the information and access is key to successful management. An automated solution provides self-serve portals for both employees and vendors, allowing you to automate a variety of tasks and collect necessary data and documentation for compliance verification.
  3. Employee-Focused Tracking. Organize employee-specific training courses, assignments, and policy acknowledgements, upload policy documents and track employee compliance and reporting. All of this is accessible from an easy-to-use IT admin access dashboards which allows you to access and manage your employee’s compliance requirements and activity quickly and easily.
  4. Vendor Risk Assessment & Tracking. House and manage both permanent employee and vendor details all within a single solution and with the option to provide a unique vendor login, vendor assessments, status tracking, surveys, and more.
  5. Compliance Manager can integrate with IT Glue, VulScan, VSA, and Bullphish among other separate technologies to leverage an even more distinct degree of control and customization.
  6. Automated Reporting. Compliance Manager automatically generates custom plans, procedures, risk analyses, milestone reports, auditor checklists, supporting documents and more which update based on data and information supplied to the program.
  7. Compliance Templates. As compliance grows, so does Compliance Manager’s compliance template database, meaning you don’t have to start from scratch. Some of the most popular templates to-date include:
    • HIPAA (all 3 rules)
    • Cyber Insurance
    • NIST (CSF & 800-171)
    • CMMC (Levels 1 &2)
    • GDPR (UK & EU)

Leveraging a Managed Solution

 A tool alone is not enough to reach compliance. Let Managed Solution’s compliance team help your business through the lengthy process. Our compliance team will ensure progress and work hand in hand with you to integrate Compliance Manager into your existing ecosystem.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a call today and learn how Managed Solution can help boost your compliance and help your business get closer to you compliance goal. Not ready for a direct call? We are hosting a webinar on July 28th, click here to register. Attendees will receive a FREE 30 minute consultation with our vCIO to see if our Compliance as a Service tool can work for you!

Staffing Services: The Details- What you need to know!

By: Amanda Hawthorne, Director of People and Culture at Managed Solution

So you’ve got an opening or resource need on your team? Exciting! Managed Solution’s Staffing Services can help! But knowing where to start with an outside recruiting firm can be tough, and you may have a lot of questions about the process…

There are plenty of choices for service providers: so how do you know which is going to deliver?

Sometimes the exact resource or budget requirements for your position may be a bit hazy, and you may still be sorting out how exactly a new hire will engage within your team. Who can help you define your needs and understand a market-realistic hiring budget?

Everyone is already stretched thin today, and no one has time to interview a series of candidates who completely miss the mark. Working with a trusted Staffing Service provider like Managed Solution can help you quickly connect with pre-vetted technical talent so you can make efficient staffing decisions and get back to work with the right team!

Why You Can Trust Managed Solution to Deliver Top Talent

Managed Solution is an IT service provider – which means IT people are our business. For over 20 years, we’ve been meeting talented engineers and connecting them with our clients across Southern California (and beyond!) to fulfill ongoing support or even project-based needs. In the age of remote work and the “Great Resignation,” it’s more important than ever to hire highly skilled and vetted engineering talent – and even harder to find them!

After hearing from client after client about the challenges they’re having in finding and vetting top talent, we saw an opportunity here: open our Talent Community to our clients, giving them access to the amazing people we’re meeting daily. (And as a bonus, individuals in our Talent Community have already been vetted by our Microsoft-certified engineers!)

Plus, since hiring our Talent Advisor, Kat Grunzinger, we now have a talent concierge to meet with our clients and really dive into their needs, to help define an opportunity for efficient recruiting. Kat has years of experience in the recruiting space and has a true knack for building quick rapport with candidates, diving into what they know (and don’t), as well as understanding what opportunities are truly of interest to them. She leverages this same inquisitive nature to consult with clients to understand what Staffing Services are best-suited to their needs – and which candidates will really fit the bill!

What You Need to Know When Getting Started with Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor

You may be asking, what’s it like to work with Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor?

Here’s what you can expect:

First, Our Talent Advisor will want to interview you! We’ve found the best way to understand the true needs of an organization isn’t to rely on a job description (which may be out of date or miss key aspects of what a position truly requires), but to go straight to the source: you!

As a hiring manager, you’ll have insight into your needs, your team, and your organization – even if you haven’t scoped out a formal job description yet, or if you haven’t gotten the chance yet to update the one that’s been on file for years.

Our Talent Advisor can help you outline the specific function that’s needed. She’ll be aiming to understand the ins and outs of your open role, so she can connect you to the right resources. Key questions she’ll ask include:

  1. What function or role will this person play in your organization or project? Do you need someone to take charge and lead a team? Someone to execute tasks already outlined in a project plan? Someone your end users can trust to solve their issues in a responsive and friendly manner?
  2. What skills & experience are essential for their success? Are you seeking a well-rounded IT generalist with demonstrated success in a particular industry? A helpdesk superstar already proficient with a specific ticketing system and Office365 administration? An SQL wizard?
  3. Who will this person interact with most often? What people skills would make someone most successful in those interactions? Every team has a different style, and Our Talent Advisor knows a successful candidate will be a value-add to your existing team culture. Is your team highly process oriented or working in a compliance-heavy environment? Operating in a start-up mentality where adaptability is key? Our Talent Advisor wants to know so we can present candidates who are ready to jump in and be successful!
  4. What is the available budget and target market for hiring? Are you looking for an onsite resource in your downtown Los Angeles office, or flexible to find someone fully remote from anywhere in the nation? Do you have budget for a full-time internal hire, or will you be looking to staff a temporary need with an external position on an hourly bill rate?

Our Talent Advisor will ask these key questions so she understands exactly what this individual will be doing on a day-to-day basis and how their success will be defined. This will help her articulate the opportunity to potential candidates - and help us avoid wasting your time with candidates who would fall short of expectations. This understanding will allow her to scroll through her mental Rolodex of people in our Talent Community so she can quickly connect you with any pre-vetted candidates that might align with your goals.

Understanding your needs can also help us align our Staffing Service offering with your ‘ask’ to ensure we’re helping you meet your need in a cost-effective manner.

How Managed Solution Approaches Staffing Services

Managed Solution offers several different Staffing Services to meet your IT hiring needs:

  • Direct Hire Recruiting: With this model, Managed Solution will leverage your job specifications to actively seek out qualified resources for you to interview, hire, and onboard onto your team. In addition to the keen instincts of our Talent Advisor, we vet candidates with our Microsoft-certified engineers before we even present their resumes to you. When we send a candidate profile your way, you can be confident of that resource’s technical skills – plus, they’ll have been briefed by our team on your needs and expectations so you can get have a meaningful conversation from the start. With our significant IT hiring experience and vast Talent Community of pre-vetted resources, our Direct Hire Recruiting service will get the right person, sooner, so you can focus on your team.
  • Staff Augmentation Resourcing: In this service, Managed Solution performs the same service of connecting you with talent aligned to your needs, but, in this case, the resource will be retained by our team and assigned to a project or temporary position on yours. Let us handle the administrative side of things, from payroll to benefits, and you can focus on your team’s priorities. You’ll still get all the benefits of our pre-vetting, our Talent Advisor’s concierge intake process, and our Talent Community – plus, after a set term, you’ll have the option to convert your Staff Augmentation Resource to your own team without an additional fee.
  • Technical Vetting: With technical vetting, we’ve shifted the recruiting model a bit – you bring the candidates, and we provide feedback about the candidates’ critical skills, based on interviews with our Microsoft-certified engineers. This service is especially suited to hiring for executive or management-level IT staff: after all, who at your firm can provide a true skills assessment of a resource if that resource is meant to be the most technical member of your team? In that case, we’re happy to leverage the technical knowledge of our seasoned engineers and even our executive teams to help vet your candidates along job-related criteria that you define when you engage our services. We can also help provide feedback for your systems engineer, systems/network administrator, and helpdesk technicians! For a reasonable, fixed price, gain some additional peace of mind about your next hire!

When our Talent Advisor meets with you to discuss your team’s needs, she’ll help you determine which Staffing Service is right for you.

How a Strong Rapport with Your Talent Advisor Helps You Hire Better, Faster

Once a Staffing Service Agreement is signed, she’ll begin sorting through our existing connections within our Talent Community and will reach out to appropriate passive candidates on your behalf.

When we find suitable candidates – aligned to your role in terms of experience, skills, location, culture, and career goals – we’ll pre-vet them with our Microsoft-certified engineers and then present you with their talent profiles (a fancy term for their resumes, catered to your position). Ideally, they’ll all look good on paper, and then it’s time for you and your teams to interview!

Our Talent Advisor will work with you to define your own vetting process for the opening – who will be involved in the interviews; when/how interviews will be conducted; etc. Then, she’ll coordinate scheduling and share pertinent information to the candidate so they can be on-time and ready to discuss your opportunity, whether that’s in person at your office, or via Microsoft Teams video interview. (We can even send out a Microsoft Teams meeting bridge for you and the candidate to connect on!)

During the interview, you’ll get a sense of your own as to whether the candidate meets the eligibility and suitability requirements of your role. Our Talent Advisor will check in after your interviews to hear about what went well, what concerns still linger, and what next steps look like. Our Talent Advisor will also get feedback from the candidate to ensure a strong mutual fit before moving ahead in the process. This two-way flow of information and feedback is one essential for effective recruiting services – and helps ensure that by the time an offer is issued, you’re confident it will be accepted.

Having a strong rapport with your Talent Advisor can help you move through the hiring process faster, more effectively, and with the outcomes you’re looking for. Sometimes hiring managers hesitate to share negative feedback about a candidate’s skills or experience (because who likes giving bad news?), but we encourage open communication during this process. Understanding exactly what is or isn’t working helps us ensure a better outcome on the next candidate. And if things are going well, timely communication is even more important: you’re more likely to get an enthusiastic “yes!” in response to an offer when the candidate feels the process has moved along at a natural clip, and they’ve received timely, positive feedback. Plus, a strong rapport with your Talent Advisor also allows her to share honest feedback from candidates about your position, interview process, and the candidate experience.

What details Talent Advisor Wants You to Know

Want the inside scoop about working with our Staffing Services professionals? We sat down recently with Kat Grunzinger, Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor, to talk about her professional background in recruiting and her hopes for Managed Solution’s Staffing Services.

Here’s what Kat Grunzinger, Managed Solution’s Talent Advisor, wants you to know!

Q: What do you want a hiring manager to know about you?

A: “I want hiring managers to know that I’ve been in their seat! I know how challenging it can be to find, vet, and hire the right people for the right positions.  That level of empathy drives me to move quickly across the process – jumping onto an intake call, running through recent conversations to see if there are any immediately ‘right’ candidates, proactively sourcing talent across multiple platforms, and being timely in scheduling and feedback. I will earn the hiring manager's trust by active listening to quickly understand an opening; by being flexible and available for their calls; by following through on any action items outlined; and by reassuring them that I’m here for them! I feel most successful when I know we’ve done the right thing for the client.”

Q: What drew you to recruiting and what’s your favorite part of the process?

A: “I love getting to meet talented individuals and hearing their stories and learning what they want out of their careers – and then getting to help make that happen! It’s a privilege to assist in their journeys, and I take seriously that we are talking about a person’s livelihood. The same care I take in building relationships of trust with hiring managers, I apply to our Talent Community. My goal is to facilitate transparent, two-way communication. I’m not afraid to tell a candidate when a job isn’t going to help them meet their goals because it frees them up to find the opportunities that are right.”

Q: What should a hiring manager know about your job to make the relationship more effective?

A: “Honest and open communication matters. Not only is this aligned with Managed Solution’s values and Code of Conduct, it’s truly critical for recruiting and other Staffing Services. A hiring manager needs to be honest and realistic about budgets, the true needs of their team, – and sometimes as an outside entity, I’m able to help them see another side of the coin. Whether that’s advising the client about the right pay scale for a position with a specific region or helping them see that their job description is unrealistic (or describes three different jobs), I really appreciate when hiring managers value this two-way feedback. I think it brings us more credibility as recruiters and ultimately helps clients fill their needs.

I think it’s also important for a hiring manager to understand that my role as a recruiter is to help sell the value of an organization or position to candidates. The time we invest up front in an intake call positions me to effectively communicate with potential candidates about the roles, and to proactively answer the questions they have. We’ll both spend more time talking to the right people if a hiring manager spends the time with me up front to help me learn how their team functions, what types of soft skills help someone thrive, and what perks/benefits exist within their organizations. I’ll definitely do the right homework on my side to read the job description, the company website, and more before that meeting, but there’s nothing like learning straight from the hiring manager how the team is doing and what it needs.”

Q: What are your hopes for Managed Solution’s Staffing Services?

A: “My hope is that we can continue building trust with our clients, as we succeed in connecting them with qualified talent. I know I’ve done my job when a client comes back for help with another opening or refers us to their colleague for assistance on a role. Continuing to help good people find fulfilling work with amazing organizations – that’s what it’s all about!”

Ready to hand over the heavy lifting to us? Email us about our Staffing Services today!

The advancements in business technology and the IT industry as a whole have increased the demand for outsourced IT support teams and managed services. 

If you are growing your business, your core competencies should be your primary concern. This can sometimes be hard to do with in-house IT teams since they demand constant management of their everyday tasks and training. Both are costly and time-consuming; however, they aren't the only issues you will encounter when maintaining a full-time IT staff. 

In this comprehensive guide on outsourcing IT, we will be looking at the advantages of outsourcing and also comparing the pros and cons of outsourced business operations. Here's a quick look at the chapters we'll cover and links to jump to the different sections:

  1. Outsourcing vs. In-house
  2. Who Should Outsource?
  3. Offshore Outsourcing vs Local Outsourcing
  4. Cost Reduction & Efficiency
  5. How to find the right managed services provider (MSP)
  6. Possible Issues and Red Flags
  7. When Should You Consider Outsourcing?
  8. Full Benefits of Outsourced Solutions

Outsourcing vs. In-house

When you want to grow your team and add new members to your business operations, things can become a bit complicated. Your hiring manager will probably have a hard time finding candidates with the right level of expertise, and when they do, usually it comes with increased operational costs. 

Compromising quality may become an issue if you can't find the right people to fill the roles. You want your IT project manager to be well-educated and tech-savvy with great management skills. Unfortunately, staff members like that are as rare as unicorns due to a limited talent pool. Having one person in such an important position also comes with a risk in the long run. One sick day can have a significant impact on your overall performance, while outsourced teams can't put you in such a position.

New members require training and equipment, along with additional office space. There's also an onboarding process and learning curve to consider. Current technology is continuously moving forward, so additional hardware and software updates are frequently needed. All of this requires additional management of internal resources and further investments in tech and training.

Partnering with a remote team from a business process outsourcing company increases productivity by removing most of the negative aspects of maintaining an in-house team mentioned above. Outsourcing allows better communication within the company, 24/7 support for employees, and a streamlined ticketing system that aims to provide maximum customer satisfaction. The outsourcing partner covers operational costs on their end, and you only pay for the services provided, thus ensuring efficient fund management and cost savings.

Who Should Outsource?

The benefits of outsourcing vary depending on your business model and planning. Companies that are looking to scale in the future are more likely to succeed if they use the services of an outsourcing company. 

Response times of an in-house team vary depending on their other responsibilities. This always leads to longer downtimes and communication issues that can slow down the complete business process within the company.

Your core activities can be completely slowed down if your backroom staff doesn't meet the required level of expertise. The location of your office usually determines what kind of talent you can attract - a problem that is easily solved with outsourced IT support teams.

When you partner with a managed services company, constant access to a talent pool that can be adjusted to fit your exact needs helps with better fund management and resource allocation. However, scaling isn't the only reason you would want to partner with an outsourced team. If your employees or customers need constant attention and assistance, utilizing a full-service help desk leads to enhanced customer experience. 

| When you partner with a managed services company, constant access to a talent pool that can be adjusted to fit your exact needs helps with better fund management and resource allocation |

The bottom line - if your customers and staff require timely professional assistance, you should consider looking into outsourced solutions since your local staff may struggle with providing such high-quality aid most of the time.

Download our eBook: "Outsourcing IT vs Hiring In-House: What's Best for My Business?"

Offshore Outsourcing vs. Local Outsourcing

The term outsourcing may be universal for both business models, but there is a significant difference between offshore support teams and local solutions.

Offshore outsourcing does have one advantage, and that is access to global talent. The global outsourcing market is where many companies go to find a mobile app developer, virtual assistant, web developer, social media content creator, and full software development teams. Some organizations even outsource their marketing manager, market research, and lead generation. And for some, they turn to the global talent pool to hire freelancers that provide IT services. 

However, there are far too many drawbacks when it comes to offshore outsourcing, particularly when it comes to information technology. The problem with global outsourcing to offshore teams is that they usually have a language barrier and may be working different hours of your operation. This means that communication issues are likely to happen, which in turn leads to decreased productivity and longer downtime. On-site assistance is impossible due to their physical location.

Locally outsourcing your IT is slightly different. The fact that both your and your service provider are located in the same state/country, there is a high chance their staff members will fully understand the needs and goals of your company. If you hire a local help desk, your employees can provide professional and timely support whenever needed. In case of technical difficulties, on-site support is available and easy to provide. Lower downtimes allow uninterrupted business continuity for your company.

Cost Reduction and Efficiency

The exact cost of outsourcing depends on the type of services you are trying to get. Usually, managed services offer the following:

  • Remote Management & Monitoring which should include 24/7/365 device monitoring, ticketing system, antivirus, reporting & more
  • Full Service IT Help Desk that provides all of the above plus server & email maintenance, application support & incident management.
  • On-Site Engineering Services combine everything above plus preemptive maintenance, desktop & infrastructure support & resolutions, technology roadmap guidance, optimized uptime, and more with on-site physical support.

Depending on your current staff size and market growth, you can add or remove staff members on your remote team, depending on the outsourcing tasks you require. This type of financial freedom simplifies management and lets you calculate the exact costs of your operations. In the long run, you will be allocating more funds toward business plans rather than additional equipment and office space.

| This type of financial freedom simplifies management and lets you calculate the exact costs of your operations. |

As we already mentioned, a streamlined ticketing process enables quick and easy problem resolution with both your customers and employees. This type of data can become extremely useful for future incidents since it can indicate what issues keep coming back and how you can solve them permanently. 

Make sure your IT investment is worth your while. Learn more about our IT services.

How to Find the Right Managed Services Provider (MSP)

Your outsourced IT partner should have your best interests in mind, so if they aren't looking to solve your problems even before they occur, you might want to look elsewhere.

As with everything, asking questions is always a good start. However, if you don't ask the right ones, you might end up signing a contract with the wrong company. The quick expansion of the IT industry opened up more room for MSP companies, but not all of them are as good as they may want you to think. Their level of expertise and reputation are only a few aspects you should be looking into. Here are some questions you should ask:

  1. Are they operating locally or offshore?

Having a support team in your area can make a big difference when you need immediate assistance on-site.

  1. Do they have SLAs in place for resolution time?

Once you encounter a problem, you want it to be resolved as soon as possible. Waiting on hold can become a constant issue if your service provider doesn't guarantee timely responses and support.

  1. Is their team skilled enough?

They should know and understand your business from the bottom up. If they don't understand your goals and vision, they can't provide adequate support to the people who depend on your business. 

  1. Do they have a track record?

Reputable companies tend to stay in business longer, so your MSP should have a good history and a clean track record.

  1. Do they provide around-the-clock coverage?

Some managed solutions won't offer 24/7/365, and those shouldn't be on your shortlist. Constant monitoring leads to shorter response times and problem prevention. Overnight issues can't be resolved if your service provider doesn't work during night hours.

  1. Are they proactive or reactive?

Pro-active service providers solve issues before they even become a problem. They look for vulnerabilities and monitor your environment to spot possible threats and protect you from them. Reactive teams don't act in such a preventive manner.

  1. Are you satisfied with their level of communication?

Communication skills are crucial. Again, proactive service providers will serve as better partners since they will communicate with your team members and try to adapt to your working environment rather than doing it the other way around. You should continuously be aware of how technology impacts your business, and your outsourced partner should be making sure you have easy access to such information.

  1. Are they paying enough attention to security?

Often, your employees will be the weakest link in your company. A good MSP should always educate your employees on possible security threats and offer training when necessary. Every company you speak with should have a comprehensive plan on how they want to address this issue.

  1. Is your data secure?

Your data backups are as good as your ability to restore them. If your MSP isn't handing it in the right way, compromising quality to save costs, or isn't testing it on a regular basis, you should consider talking to them about this issue. Sensitive data must be handled professionally, so you should always request professionalism from your MSP.

Stop wasting time and stop feeling frustrated. Learn more about our Managed Services to see how we can help. 

Possible Issues and Red Flags

Outsourcing trends are on the rise. But while all service providers may look the same on the surface, the level of their service can be drastically different. You can always expect to run into some dishonest providers, so keeping your eyes open for red flags is highly advised. Here are some things to look out for when comparing providers in the outsourcing market: 

Contract length and terms. Before signing any documents, get familiar with the terms and requirements of the contract. Reputable service providers like Managed Solution offer a 60-day, no-fee opt-out clause that guarantees high-quality service. If you are unsatisfied with the services provided, you should be able to terminate the contract or ask for a refund. Any other offer should be considered unacceptable.

Additional costs and fees. The number of users you have should be the main factor in your monthly pricing. Adding new users should increase the price while removing users should bring the costs down. If your MSP is offering something different, then be sure that you understand their pricing system entirely. If you get tied in a contract you can't terminate, there will be no way to avoid additional spending and high fees.

Search the web for reviews and impressions. Customer testimonials have become a benchmark of quality. If you can't find any positive reviews or you run into some negative ones, maybe that service provider isn't worth your time and money. Previous customers should have enough information on your potential service provider, so consider looking into their opinions as well.

Average wait times and overall efficiency. If one issue took 10 minutes to resolve, but another one lasted an hour, the average response time would be 35 minutes. The average wait time is probably the most important metric of all. Even if an MSP meets all of the requirements we mentioned so far, a bad response time can indicate all sorts of possible complications in the future. Average response times should be transparent, and they are calculated based on team performance. 

Understand that not every information technology-related problem is easily resolved. Depending on the complexity of the issue, it may need to be escalated to higher ranks, and the nature of the issue will determine how long the resolution will take. However, a quick response doesn't always guarantee a solution. You will want skilled IT technicians with low response times if you are looking to find an outsourced solution with a perfect balance.

The best service providers serve an extra layer of protection for you and your company. Although it may seem that an MSP only provides support for your business, it also has to act as your personal firewall. 24/7 monitoring and scheduled reporting give you clear insight into your business management and growth. 

In most cases, your outsourced partner will handle a lot of your sensitive data, so you want to make sure that they are competent enough to handle it in the right way. One security breach can have devastating consequences for your business, so picking a secure service provider is mandatory for most companies. Security threats within your network should be detected before they become an issue, so always be on the lookout for companies with a highly skilled talent pool.

When Should You Consider Outsourcing IT?

Constant advancements in information technology gave customers the right to expect a stress-free user experience with your services and products. If you find it hard to keep up with your customer inquiries and requests, maybe it is time you reorganized your in-house resources. Outsourcing provides more time to focus on core competencies and less time spent on problem resolution.

Small and medium-sized businesses may find it hard to scale after a certain period of time. Usually, the most important growth factor is technological readiness, and if you reached a plateau stage in your business development, maybe it's because of the tech. Outdated internal systems make it hard to keep a steady pace, and turning to technology outsourcing and adding a few experts on your team can make a big difference.

Steady business continuity relies on productivity, but your technological infrastructure may be bottlenecking your team's productivity. Sometimes, outdated software and hardware solutions will do more harm than good, resulting in broken deadlines and depleting productivity. When this becomes the case, outsourced solutions can help you understand the problem but also how to solve it.

It is often the case that companies rely on old applications that aren't supported by their developers. These can cause a long-term security issue that needs to be addressed professionally and securely. Security risks lead to data breaches that can bring down your whole operation in a matter of minutes.

Isolated siloed systems should be your last indicator that you need outsourcing services. Technological advancements are hard tof keep up with, and a large number of companies are still relying on legacy computer systems. Upgrading the whole infrastructure can take forever and is also considered counterproductive. Rather than completely overhauling your current tech, you can consider letting an MSP do that for you.

Full Benefits of Outsourced IT Solutions

Let's recap and recognize how much of an impact an outsourced team can have on your business.

  • Lower in-house operational costs and better resource management
  • Data protection and full disaster recovery plans in case of a data breach
  • Shorter response times and efficient problem solving
  • Skilled staff members with a high level of expertise without a costly onboarding process 
  • More time for your executive members to focus on the core issues within the company
  • Reliable support for both your customers and employees
  • No downtime due to a large talent pool that is entirely customizable and manageable based on your needs
  • Fast and easy on-site problem solving with local outsourcing solutions
  • 24/7/365 system monitoring and clear pricing systems

Your scalability will always depend on your ability to accept and adapt to new technologies. In-house staffing requires a lot of work and resources, something a modern business environment can't afford right now. Additional spending on training and equipment leaves fewer funds for business growth and scaling. With outsourcing providers like Managed Solution, you can always count on discounted equipment prices and maximum security. CSP licensing is also an option since Managed Solution is a Certified Gold Partner of Microsoft. At the end of the day, outsourcing can be defined as an all-in-one solution for businesses that are struggling to capitalize on new opportunities and face scaling issues.

Many employers around the world have realized that the traditional way of running a business no longer works with the present-day trends and changing face of the modern workplace. The old way, not only reduced the overall efficiency of a company but it wasn't able to meet the new challenges that accompany the so-called Internet of Things.

Long are the days of the cubicle. Today, more and more people are conducting their work from remote locations, either from their home or another place that has an internet connection. Under the traditional workplace and with the rigid practices that it involved, employees could not effectively communicate with each other over long distances. Modern companies use social and collaborative software such as Skype, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Docs to break any distance barriers and work together in real time and across borders, in many cases.

The Changing Face of the Modern Workplace

Today's rapid technological evolution has led to much experimentation in the area. Some businesses, for instance, went on to adopt a sort of shared workspace. It implies an office where the common equipment shares among all staff members that need it. So, instead of having five desks with five computers, and with five of everything for each of the five employees, this shared business model could use only three of everything for those five employees. We don't live in the Age of Efficiency for nothing, after all.

Other companies, however, go for the work-life integration approach as a means of providing an engaging environment for both employees and future recruits. Unlike the more common work-life balance, work-life integration does not aim to make a clear divide between one's personal and professional life.

It, instead, focuses on mixing the two throughout the day so that people can achieve both. With work-life integration, employees can, for instance, come a bit later to work, do some tasks for an hour or two, go to lunch with friends, come back to work for several more hours, go to their child's recital, and finish up work at home, later in the evening. This schedule is more in tune with what digital technology already provides us as opposed to a strict 9-to-5 schedule.

But the changes don't stop here. Some organizations such as Google, among others, are hosting various innovators and start-up right on their premises. Known as a community or coworking spaces, these provide ample benefits for all involved. On the one hand, these start-ups have the opportunity to take part in many events, seminars, or training offered, while Google provides its employees to interact with other experts in their field, while at the same time, they can keep an eye out for top talent that may be present.

In other instances, companies encourage their employees to go off-site and work from various hubs or remote locations that freelancers usually frequent. Like before, it allows the company's staff to get an outside perspective, maybe get some new ideas which can also be implemented by the company, itself.


There's no denying the fact that the world is currently going through a transition phase. This transition affects everything, including how modern offices operate. Now, whether these initiatives presented above will stick over the long-term or not - it's probably too early to tell. What's for sure, however, is that we will never return to the traditional way of doing things.

Read more about the modern workplace in our blog, "The New Look of the Modern Workplace".



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Jeromy Giacosa
IT Director
Accriva Diagnostics

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To download the full magazine and read the full interviews, click here.
Jeromy Giacosa is the IT Director for Accriva Diagnostics with experience as a Director for over 15 years. He holds an MBA from USC's Marshall School of Business, and a BS in Management of Information Systems. Jeromy specializes in analyzing the needs of different departments and determines the best way to meet business objectives by modifying existing systems and processes or developing new ones. He drives the entire organizations technology needs including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Infrastructure. Mr. Giacosa is an active member in the San Diego IT Directors Group, sits on the Advisory council for the California Technology Summit and Interface Summit, was a nominee for the Top Tech Exec Awards, and has been heavily involved in the IT community for over 20 years.


What’s the #1 area of focus IT Director’s should concentrate on? 
I feel that Director’s should always focus on better, cost effective, and faster ways of doing business through the use of technologies. You should always be up to date on the latest technology trend. When I joined Accriva IT was holding the company back. I was shocked to discover many systems and applications were over 10 years old and hadn’t been upgraded due to perceived complexities with process for approving changes through the quality department. I standardized, simplified, and upgraded the company’s IT infrastructure while working closely with quality to streamline the process for approvals to make changes with production systems. You have to look forward with technology, if you are looking back than your company is going to be left behind and any disadvantage in today’s market could be a huge loss for the company.
What’s your take on Public Cloud? 
I believe the cloud has pros and cons like any solution and it should be used if it aligns with the business needs. If you are a small company you can give the appearance of being large by having some of the tools and up times of the larger organizations. You do not have to manage any of the day to day support of Cloud based systems which saves the company a lot of time and money. I recently did some work for a small company that has offices all over the world and I recommended that they go with a complete cloud solution from virtual desktops to servers in order to maximize efficiencies for the workers all over the world. At my current company, We use of the cloud for systems where it makes sense like Office 365 for e-mail and Google Cloud for our R&D department; however, most of our systems including ERP, Document Control, Active Directory, File Services, etc. are hosted internally.
Are there any hiring challenges? 
Thankfully in this day and age the knowledge base of the applicants is rarely a worry. It is finding the right personality and if that persons strengths fit in your IT team that is the problem. So when I hire people I like to take them to lunch and have key staff members join us to see if they think they can work with this person I am considering.  It is not always a perfect fit so I like to ask them some key questions to understand their strengths. Documentation was lacking when I first came to Accriva so I made sure that the person I hired was a good fit but also had a strong background in documentation. Ideally, I like to find candidates with passion, intelligence, integrity, and communication skills in addition to technical competence. Once hired to be successful associates require responsibility, accountability, authority, and autonomy.
What do you like to do? 
I love to travel, see new places, and meet new people. I just got back from a trip to England and it was amazing to see how the country has changed in 20 years since my last visit.
What kind of messaging is coming from the CEO about their partnership with IT? What are they expecting you to look at? 
IT can be challenging because the CEO and other C-level executives turn on their devices and expect them to work the way they want them to work 100% of the time. They have some idea of what my job entails but they do not know the day to day. If I am doing my job right, they do not have to be bothered with the day to day. My job is simple; everyone in the company should think the technology is just their and not give it another thought. When things do go wrong it should be minutes and hours never days to get things right. You do this by engaging the CEO with your vision of seamless technology meaning that no one should ever be idle in the company for any period of time. If one person is not working that means the company is not being productive and if the company is not making any money which makes it difficult to ask for additional funds to further streamline systems.  CEO’s are looking for faster, cheaper, and better processes so that the company can maximize profits. You can do this a number of ways like standardize, centralize, and simplify your environment while maximizing the use of technology to your company’s advantage which I am proud to say I have accomplished at every organization I have worked with.
What are some exciting new projects coming up? 
Accriva has recently has been acquired by Werfen. We are currently integrating our processes and systems into theirs. We are finishing up migrating our e-mail from Office 365 to IBM Verse and are actively working to integrate our JD Edwards ERP system into SAP. It’s exciting to implement or integrate ERP systems that you haven’t worked with before providing an opportunity to learn new systems. After this integration, I will have been involved with the implementation and support of 6 different ERP platforms including Oracle Financials E-Business Suite. We have a lot of training coming up to educate the end users on the new way they will not only be conducting their business but also give them an opportunity to voice concerns and problems. I like to do this before implementation so that I am aware of any struggles they may have and address it before it is a problem. I always like my company to have a 24/7 up time with happy and productive associates.
What superpower do you want most?
I would like to know what people are thinking. Many people do not like to ask for help, but if help is offered many accept. I think if I had this superpower I could help a lot of people with their problems. I love solving problems.
What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid? 
I always wanted to be a policeman because I love to help people and solve problems.  I would have made a great cop, but I am glad that after I graduated junior college I got a job with an IT consulting company that ultimately led to a 20+ year career in IT, a Bachelors in Information Systems, and an MBA from USC. IT is my passion and I often find myself telling people IT is not a job or a career, but a Life Style.
What mistake have you learned from? 
One mistake I learned from over my career is determining how quickly to let an associate go (terminate their employment). It’s common knowledge to hire in haste, regret in leisure; but something I learned is to focus time and energy on my top performers and for those that don’t cut it let them go as quickly as possible. I realized that by keeping certain people around it was actually bringing my entire team down. If someone is not working out you just have to cut them loose otherwise their attitude goes viral and before you know it your whole team is dysfunctional.
There are certain traits that are extremely difficult if not impossible to change and you either have them or you don’t which includes: passion, intelligence, integrity, and communication. I look for these traits when I hire or build teams because these traits cannot be taught or learned. Technical competence is only part of the puzzle and to have a fully functional team begins with the right team members who can then be inspired, encouraged, led, and managed for personal and professional growth which leads to meeting department and corporate objectives for the success of the team and the company.
If you won the lottery what would you do?
I would travel and see the world with my family. I think it would be and eye opening experience for my children. I would never stop working in my field and thankfully I could do my job anywhere in the world because the language may be different but the technology remains the same.



As written by Thomas Kohnstamm on

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Earlier this spring, 45 schoolgirls in matching uniforms crowded into the computer room at the custard-colored North Thanglong Economic & Technical college on the outskirts of Hanoi, Vietnam. Beyond intermittent ripples of laughter and excitement, the 15- and 16-year-olds stayed focused throughout the day on the hard work at hand: playing Minecraft.
Together they built 3D models that reimagined the darker corners of their neighborhood as a safer, more functional and more beautiful place for them and their families to inhabit. But this wasn’t just an exercise in imagination. The girls were taking part in the newest project from Block by Block, a program from the United Nations and Mojang, the makers of Minecraft, that uses the power of Minecraft and designs sourced from local residents to improve public spaces around the world.
Thoughtful, inclusive approaches to urban development like this are increasingly critical as the world’s population increasingly moves to cities. Through a combination of birth rate and rural immigration, Hanoi has nearly doubled its population since the year 2000. And it’s not alone. Cities around the globe are swelling by a total of some 200,000 people per day.
Read the full story.



Fun for Every Father: Connecting through Xbox One and Windows 10

By Maddie Murray
Happy Father's Day! With technology constantly coming out with the latest and greatest in new games and graphics, it's no wonder dads are developing a love for gaming just like their tech-savvy kids. Now, new Xbox games top the wish lists of fathers across the nation, and what better way to spend a day fully dedicated to him than trying to beat his high score!
Just in time for the holiday, Microsoft Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, announced this month that Microsoft is providing easier ways to connect with people on Xbox Live through new features "Clubs" and "Looking for Group". He also rolled out the new features on Xbox Live coming to Xbox One and Windows 10, all in his annual presentation at the E3 stage talking about the future of gaming at Microsoft.

phil spencer

"Throughout the week, we celebrate all that is great about gaming – the gamers, the creators, the characters and stories, and everyone responsible for an industry focused on FUN" says Spencer. "It’s about the spirit of connection, competition and achievement amongst a group of like-minded friends, and we feel a responsibility as a team to build and protect that experience for everyone while offering more choices in how they play, who they play with, and the devices they play on."
He then goes on to explain Gaming for Everyone, a new project TEAM XBOX has been working on.
"We saw the opportunity for the industry and felt compelled to do more to make gaming an inclusive environment that embraced everyone. We fundamentally believe that what we build for our fans and the way we show up – inside and outside the walls of Microsoft – is a reflection of who we are. We designed the program to reflect the core values we have as an organization and believe that the program could result in positive change – not only in our workplace but in the products we build for the gamers we serve."


He talks about the past of Xbox, and how they "haven’t always facilitated fun and gaming for everyone," but the Xbox Team has never wavered in their goal of trying to get better. "Everyday. We continue to listen to our fans and make Xbox a place where everyone is welcome, respected and supported," says Spencer. "I’m incredibly excited about what the future holds as we put all of our products through the lens of reflecting the diversity in our audience and inclusion, support and choice for all gamers"
So this Father's Day, whether you're spending it together or across the nation, with help from new features at Xbox, family members who share a love of gaming will never be truly apart.


Happy Father's Day from all of us at Managed Solution!
Learn more about Phil Spencer's work with Xbox One here.

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