How is Middleground IT different than other IT service vendors?

We follow a tested and proven IT service model based on ITIL™ methodology that took us years to develop, which allows us to provide extremely fast response times to handle support requests. The majority of tickets (97%) are closed within 2 hours of being received by our support staff. We utilize cloud software to manage, monitor, document, and deliver our service to our clients – something that many IT companies fall short in providing – and this software is provided for our clients. Our staff also holds the latest industry certifications.

What are Managed Services?

Managed Services are an effective way for an IT firm to proactively manage and maintain your network to help identify and resolve problems before they grow into bigger business outages. For more information, please click here to learn about the differences between Managed Services and Break-Fix.

What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

In the information technology world, a Managed Service Provider is a technology company that provides partially or fully outsourced IT support and management for your organization.

How is a proactive Managed IT Service different from "Break Fix" reactive IT Service?

There are two basic areas of distinction:

The support approach of proactive vs. reactive:

  • In a reactive model, many companies setup their systems, get them to a functional state and then leave them alone until a crisis occurs. They tend to avoid their IT technology until there is a major issue and business operations are impacted. Then, when there is a crisis, they call in help. The help then charges an hourly rate to work on the problem.
  • A proactive approach is about consistently doing the things that help keep systems performing well. Routine maintenance, patches, updates and system work are performed to keep things in shape. Systems are monitored and when resources or problems start indicating a problem it is reported prior to a major event and service is dispatched to address the concern before it impedes the business.

Financial alignment: In the reactive model, the IT vendor makes their money when you are in crisis. They are really incentivized when there is a problem. They feed when you bleed. If there were no problems they would go out of business. Their focus is on recovering from issues, not avoiding them. In short, they gain when you are in pain.

How would my company benefit from managed IT services?

Some of the proven benefits of our managed IT services include:

  • Reduced technology costs
  • Improved network access and performance
  • Improved IT continuity
  • Improved security and availability
  • Higher employee satisfaction
  • Peace of mind in knowing your IT services are in the hands of experts 24/7

There are so many IT companies to choose from, what should I look for to know I am choosing the right one?

This is a great question, because the search for the right IT services provider you can trust is a very daunting task. Many companies out there promise you the world, but once you are signed up, the level of customer service and support usually diminishes quickly. We understand this pain point and have developed an eBook to assist you on the journey to finding the right IT provider. You can download your free copy by filling out the form to the right!

What type of industries do you support and am I good fit?

We support ALL industries in the entire Chicago area and suburbs! Currently we manage and provide Managed IT services for organizations with 5-300 PC’s. No matter which software you use, the version of Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac, or the network or server you have we can service you!

How is your pricing determined and can you fit our budget?

Our pricing is determined by the number of users, computers, servers, locations, and general overall complexity of the network. Our customers see an average savings of $31,211 annually by switching to our managed services. We uniquely customize each solution to align with your budget and keep your costs low and predictable. Billing becomes simpler and we never over bill on any quotes we provide; we provide full transparency on itemized costs and always ask for your approval and review before proceeding.

Do you charge for setting up new users?

No, unlike the majority of other IT firms, we do not charge to create and setup a new user. We can even order all of the equipment for you, have it configured, and even come to your office and set it all up for no additional charge!

If I sign up for this program, what is my commitment?

We request that clients sign up for a 12-month commitment to allow us to allocate the appropriate resources to your account. However, for first-time contracts, we will allow an initial 6-month commitment to allow you to test out our services and see if this program works for you. You may also cancel this agreement at any time, without penalty, as long as you give us a 30 day written notice.

Are new hardware and software installation costs covered under this agreement?

Yes, if you sign up for our Managed IT Service, you will receive a discount on our rates for installing and configuring new hardware and software. Note: The costs of the new hardware and software are NOT included. However, we will act on your behalf to research, recommend, and purchase new hardware and software at no additional cost!

How do we place a support ticket and how do we track the status of issues?

All of our managed services customers have access to our online ticketing system called Client Portal. This application is used to track the status of support requests that may come from our clients or when automatically created by managed computers when issues arise. We make this portal available to all of our customers and their employees (if desired). It provides the ability to check on the status of support requests and serves as a direct line of communication between our clients and our stellar support team!

How will you transition us from our existing IT vendor?

Very carefully. We have transitioned many clients over to our team, and are well aware that transitions can be risky and disruptive, and we devote a great deal of attention to minimizing that risk. The first step in any contract is to develop a detailed plan, jointly with you the client, for transition and transformation. This plan will be different in each case, depending on your needs and wishes. We also try to build a positive relationship with the incumbent vendor - perhaps by buying replacement parts or software tools that they have invested in for the project - so that we can learn as much as possible from their experience. Our end goal is a smooth and painless transition to our support team.

Some IT companies provide only telephone remote based assistance. Why does Middleground offer both on-site and remote technical support?

Since 2008, Middleground has provided our unique brand of technical support services to hundreds of growing businesses. We've learned that organizations benefit the most from personalized, dependable face-to-face service. But by supplementing on-site support with our 24x7 remote Help Desk, customers receive an ideal combination of interactive service and responsiveness.

Too often, businesses wait until a major problem arises before contacting their IT provider — which almost always results in costly emergency repairs and impulsive decisions. Middleground's proactive IT support — featuring frequent on-site check-ins, ongoing system evaluations, regular consultations and rapid response from certified experts who know your network intimately — is the best way to safeguard your network and keep your business running smoothly. Our technical services are rooted in our knowledgeable and vastly experienced staff — not gadgets or gimmicks.

Where do you get your people?

We maintain a large database of IT consultants, many of whom have been working with us for years. We also recruit on an ongoing basis through our website, consultant referrals, and other types of outreach.

What certifications does your staff have?

How do they keep their skills current? Our staff possesses professional certifications from leading hardware and software providers including Cisco, Dell, IBM, HP, Apple, Microsoft, VMware, and others. We help staff keep their skills current by deploying them on an array of advanced technology assignments and cross-training them on client systems, so that they can take on increasing responsibility and solve a wider array of client problems.

Why should I choose Middleground when I am happy with my current provider (external vendor/internal IT department)?

Because Middleground may provide you with benefits you are not currently achieving. If you want to reduce your total cost of operation, improve service levels, implement consistent processes and control, and leverage a highly skilled staff, then you should strongly consider Middleground’s service offerings.

Who are your references?

Most of our contracts are done under NDA agreements, which means we handle references on a case-by-case business. Our sales department will be able to provide references that are specific to your industry once we have met with you and your company and have determined the right fit for our services.

Will Middleground recommend and/or purchase hardware and software products for us?

We can usually meet or beat advertised prices on hardware and software products, and we are always happy to offer unbiased product recommendations. Middleground never accepts fees or gifts to recommend certain products or brands, so you can be sure our advice will always be objective.

What happens if the number of people in our environment changes? Do we sign a new contract?

No, our contract allows for growth (and shrinkage). The bill is adjusted as new people are added to your company. Also, when people leave your company, just let us know and we'll reduce the billing accordingly.

Due to nature of our systems, it is not possible to perform maintenance tasks during business hours. Can you perform these tasks outside office hours?

All maintenance tasks are performed at times that suit you. We perform out-of-hours work at no extra cost.

How are patches and updates applied?

Service packs and software updates are applied after being fully tested. We publish white and black lists of updates for those patches that cause problems. All updates are performed after business hours or according to the customer’s schedule.

Can you explain in detail what you mean by “Server Management”?

Microsoft releases security updates, service packs, feature packs and/or update rollups for many of its products throughout the month. These updates are critical in keeping your computers and/or servers running at peak performance, as well as protecting them against the latest security threats. These patches are deployed to our testing environment shortly after Microsoft releases them; we verify that they do not cause any immediate issues and schedule them to be deployed to our managed services machines within 2-4 days. Windows Update, normally, installs only recommended updates and not service packs, update rollups for server products or larger updates to the operating system. This is due to licensing restrictions/anti-trust regulations that Microsoft is under and therefore we test and handle the deployment ourselves; eliminating the possibility of a computer missing a necessary update.

Do you provide residential or home office service?

Unfortunately, no. We have tailored our services specifically to address the needs of businesses with 5 or more people.

Does Middleground offer website design?

Yes and no. No, we do not provide this service in house. However, yes we partner with several talented web development firms in Chicago to provide you this service, should you require it for your business. Just let us know what you are looking for and we will guide you in the right direction!

Do you support our mobile devices and tablets?

Yes, because we understand that your users will need to access information away from the office, and implementing a properly designed mobile management solution is critical to safeguarding company data. All of this is included in our comprehensive managed IT plans.