• Waqar Hussain

Real Estate Managed IT - Is it for your company?


Imagine this…


On Monday morning as you walk into your office, you learn that some of your servers have been attacked by ransomware, and the hackers are demanding ransom for releasing your data and documents on those servers. You are the CEO of a mid-size real estate company. You have a small IT team or a single IT resource on your staff. You do not have any service agreement with a managed IT service provider. Aside from the reasons as to why this hacking incident happened to begin with, what do you think is going to happen to your technology services in this scenario?


Most likely, your IT resources will be consumed with trying to restore the affected servers and their data. The employees in your organization may not get any service or support from your limited IT resources, until the hacking issue is resolved, which could take a long time. This is not just a tale, but in fact, similar incidents happen all the time. Here is an example of why, if for nothing else, you may want to consider acquiring services from a managed IT services company. Managed IT Service is not just an outsourcing service, but an insurance to mitigate risks against disruption of IT services in any adverse scenario, such as the one mentioned above or unexpected staffing issues. If you were to suddenly look for external help in situations like that, it may not only cost you a lot, but would also take longer to get service, because of the associated learning curve and transition activities.


To Outsource or Not to Outsource…that is the Question!


More and more real estate companies are turning to managed IT service providers. Reasons vary, by the size and nature of each company, as well as their business priorities. Although outsourcing doesn’t always mean offshoring of work, it is a politically loaded term, with an associated moral dilemma.


For smaller real estate companies, outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean laying off people and taking work overseas. When smaller real estate companies talk about outsourcing, they are thinking about getting IT services from specialized IT firms with expertise in various areas within IT services domain, something for which they don’t have the capacity or skill set to manage internally.


For larger real estate organizations, when they consider IT outsourcing, they are thinking the non-value add or repetitive IT tasks or off-hours coverage that can be handled by someone else, rather than consume the effort of their internal IT team. This way, the internal IT can focus on the strategic and value add work.



Here is a list of pros and cons related to IT outsourcing by a real estate company:


Pros


  1. Control IT expenditure: Converting fixed IT costs into variable costs, allows you to control your budget. You pay for what you need and when you need it.

  2. Trained, experienced, qualified, and certified resources: The depth and breadth of experience matters. For smaller companies, as opposed to an internal IT resource who would work in an isolated environment, quality IT firms have a broad range of experience, with different customers and technologies, along with certified resources in various technologies.

  3. Quickly implement new technologies: A quality managed IT service organization will have the resources to start new projects sooner. Handling the same project in-house might involve weeks or months to hire the right people, train them, and provide the supervision and support they need.

  4. IT support can be around the clock: Unless you belong to a large global corporation, most IT staff works regular business hours. Many IT outsourcing firms have some offshore staff as well, in different time zones and holiday schedules, where they can perform preventative maintenance, backups, and many troubleshooting activities during off hours.

  5. Focus on your core business: Businesses have limited resources. Even for larger companies, outsourcing non-value add services can help your business focus on your core competencies.

  6. Industry knowledge for risk mitigation and better performance: Industry competition, government regulations, financial conditions, and technologies change very quickly, and thus exposes businesses to inherent risks. A real estate industry specialized IT outsourcing company can assume much of this risk for you and perform better in aligning technology to your business goals, managing your projects, administering your systems and business applications, and handling security and compliance issues.

  7. Level playing field: Most smaller companies can't afford to match the in-house support services that larger companies enjoy. Outsourcing can help small companies by providing them access to the similar technology and expertise that large companies may have.


Cons


  1. Rarity of real estate industry knowledge in managed IT providers: Most generic managed IT service organizations do not possess specialized knowledge about the real estate industry. Although, at first glance, it may not matter to you whether the people who are managing your corporate network know much about your industry; it can make a huge difference when it comes to IT strategy, IT expenditure, business application project management, and coordination with real estate related application support. It matters when people who are supporting and administering your applications, systems, servers, and workstations, understand your real estate business, because they can do a better job at managing your systems when they understand who you are and what you do.

  2. You can lose some control: Many managed IT service firms tend to service multiple clients at any given time, and if solid SLAs (service level agreements) and not in place, you may not receive the focus you deserve. That lack of focus could be detrimental to your business.

  3. Hidden costs: Generally, IT outsourcing is considered cheaper, so be careful not to get ripped off. MSPs will often provide lengthy contractual agreements, and they’ll include plenty of fine print. If you don’t read the terms carefully, you could get hit with unexpected costs. Work with a trustworthy company and ask for references.

  4. IT support staff may be in different time zones: Many IT outsourcing firm have offshore staff. Where in some cases it helps because they can perform preventative maintenance off peak hours, you also need help during your business hours. Make sure that your MSP has coverage for your business hours, and require this included in your service agreement.

  5. Moral dilemma: Many people experience a moral dilemma when considering outsourcing anything. Some feel they are denying growth opportunities to local or in-house resources, by outsourcing work. However, you may research your MSP to ensure that they have a combination of both competent onshore and offshore resources.


Why QualIT One?


Here is why we believe QualIT One is the most suitable for managing the IT services of your real estate company:


  1. Our Industry Experience: We specialize in providing IT services for the real estate industry, because we have significant experience working with various segments of real estate and hospitality industry. With us, you are in good hands. Our real estate business acumen separates us from non-real-estate generic IT service providers.

  2. Business Acumen Advantage: Because we understand your business, we are well suited for aligning technology to your business goals, managing your projects, and administering your systems and business applications.

  3. IT Leadership Expertise in Real Estate: Our CIO Service is based on deep expertise working for real estate companies; devising IT strategy & vision, exploiting opportunities for business process improvement, managing cyber security initiatives, developing disaster recovery & business continuity plans, and controlling IT expenditure.

  4. Industry specific software products: As an example of our real estate business acumen take a look at our state-of-the-art real estate portfolio management solution called CRES. Based on our real estate expertise we can also develop custom solutions for your business needs.

  5. Proactive approach to IT Services: We believe in proactive IT service approach. This means regular and consistent preventative maintenance for network and desktop devices, real time 24/7 customer hardware and service monitoring available, as well as on-going risk assessment and mitigation for technology issues facing real estate industry.

  6. Smooth transition towards Strategic Vision: For a managed IT service transition, we first assess the current state and propose the ideal future state. Once we commit to the required service levels, we ensure smooth transition by stabilizing your current environment and starting user support, and then start transitioning to the ideal future state. All the while, we provide regular updates and reports to customer's management.

Conclusion


Managed services doesn't have to be a politically loaded term. In many scenarios, it can be a blessing. Most businesses are associated with a specific industry, and it is wise to get managed services from experts of that particular industry. Weigh the pros and cons of IT outsourcing to determine its suitability for your organization. It is important to get the right people on board who comprehend your business and can deliver you a high quality service, so that you can focus on your core business. At QualIT One, we take pride in our real estate industry knowledge and experience. Contact us for a free evaluation of your technology and IT services. This evaluation includes an eight hours pro bono engagement for the current state analysis and ideal future state for the following topics:

  • IT Service Management

  • Technology Evaluation

  • Cyber Security Analysis

  • Business Process Management

  • Document Management

 477 Madison Avenue, Sixth Floor, New York, NY 10022

Tel. (212) 692-7271

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