There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the definition of managed services – especially as it relates to costs and benefits. I believe that most, if not all, of the confusion surrounding managed services and MSPs (Managed Service Providers) stems from the way IT is traditionally dealt with and looked upon. In the past, many businesses handled IT support services as break-and-fix. This method was very reactive by nature and would lead to extremely variable costs and inefficiencies. So what are managed services? and how is it different than break-and-fix IT?
Managed services companies have a large set of industry tools that inherently allow them to better manage your IT infrastructure. These tools provide analytics and metrics on data points in your network like performance indicators on the hardware, throughput and network bottlenecks, etc. Another part of this software provides alerting on technology that is business critical – which allows these MSPs (Managed Service Providers) to take corrective action faster than reactive IT support companies. MSPs also get alerts for prefailure indicators like a failing hard drive. This means they can replace the drive before it fails and costs your business money. Managed IT solution providers also have a vested interest in managing your IT infrastructure well because all service they do cuts into their profit margins. A good managed service company will correct all systemic, recurring issues because its saves them money also. This is why managed IT solutions are more than a, “call when it’s not working” type of relationship. It’s a true partnership which requires that both parties communicate openly and take time to discuss new techology implementations, organizational changes, policy changes, etc. so that IT can best execute.
One of the major benefits of managed services is the cost control and the savings. Once entered into a managed services agreement you will get a flat monthly bill for all of your IT management and support. This allows your company to better plan and budget for your IT. As well, it’s less costly to have a full managed services agreement than to hire a full-time employee – plus you get more experience and expertise with a complete team of technical experts. Furthermore, not everyone is an expert in technology and it’s not the easiest thing to understand. We get it. This can, however, make it difficult to hire quality technical personnel. Beyond that – there are indirect savings like reduced downtime, greater performance (subsequently leading to greater employee productivity), better processes, and increased efficiencies all mean you save money. The benefits are clear but what about the managed services provider?
Picking a Managed Services Provider
Selecting a service provider can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Any good MSP should be able to provide customer references and have a good reputation. Also, it’s important to find out how long the company has been in business and how many years of experience they have. With any new service it is also important to make sure that the company you are looking at is able to fulfill your needs – your new provider should offer all the services you may require. Cost is always a factor when making a business decision so it’s also important to consider the cost vs. the savings realized by reducing downtime and recurring issues.
The benefits and methodology of Managed Services are clear which is why selecting a provider is important. Even if you decide not to leverage our services – Download our checklist of things to consider when selecting a managed services provider.
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