Managed Services is the practice of outsourcing day-to-day IT management and support responsibilities as a strategic method for improving your business operations.
Managed Services is a proactive approach to handling your IT needs. It is complete outsourcing of all IT to make sure your employees are efficient and not interrupted by IT problems. In short, an Managed Services company takes responsibility for your IT services for a fixed fee.
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 MS 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.
Managed service is different because there should be a performance guarantee. That way the MSP loses money (just like you do) when there is a significant IT problem. MS focuses on avoidance of problems vs. recovery from problems.
Many businesses rely on IT technology, but technology support and networking is not their core business focus. In that case, you need to ask yourself if spending time away from your core business is really cost-effective.
You can go the “wait till it breaks” route, but you need to understand what lower performance and reliability is really costing your company in lost productivity and lost opportunity costs.
- Focus on Business Activities Time spent on your business vs. time spent on tech support adds to your bottom line.
- Reduced Stress Dealing with non-expertise areas is stressful, which adds to the fact that problems in these areas may cost thousands of dollars.
- Controlled Cost You can budget expenses and hold the MSP accountable for the results.
- Reliable Performance The service level agreement should guarantee performance or you do not pay.
- Efficiency of Scale MSPs have the experience and knowledge from supporting many networks. This experience cannot be gained by supporting one network.
- Increased Security Managed Service vendors generally have resources that proactively manage and maintain business critical components such as firewalls, employee usage, and virus/malware suites.
- Full Back-up and Business Continuity You no longer have to remember to backup media and tapes, MSPs provide automated systems that provide back-up and business continuity services to return your business to operational within minutes.
- IT Accountability Have you ever wished you could have more control over your IT results? Without an MSP agreement, you are trading hourly IT help for money, and often you do not get what you desire. An MS level agreement is based upon a performance guarantee.
If you relate to 4 or more of these categories, you can benefit from a managed services approach:
- You just want it all to work!
- You did not choose your career to monkey with IT issues.
- You understand what it costs your company for you to not focus on your top priorities.
- You do not want to be in the IT business.
- You do not want to deal with IT.
- You are done trying to get techies to understand what you really need.
- You realize the hourly cost of downtime and business interruption is so much more than a technician’s hourly rate.
- You are finished with trying to manage depreciating assets.
- You are done with finding, hiring, and managing IT staff.
- You realize that like death and taxes, your business depends on IT technology and IT technology cannot be avoided.
- You never want to deal with Technology vendors blaming each other while you pay their bills.
- You realize that many support engineers are incentivized to your problems. They stay in business by waiting for things to break and fix instead of proactively supporting you and hurting when you hurt.
- You put up with IT support issues because you do not want the trouble of changing to another support provider.
- You are a do-it-yourself type and only want help when you cannot figure it out yourself.
- Why pay someone else if you can figure it out yourself?
- Your IT plan is kept runing until the wheels fall off. Then we will deal with it.
- You do not measure the performance of your business and employees.
- You are dependant or content creating “work-arounds” to problems.
- You do not care how your employees use business resources during business hours.
- You think “Those IT problems” are not too bad, we can just work harder.
- You believe a PC should last 5+ years.
- You enjoy spending free time learning how to fix computers.
- You really do not care if employee efficiency or morale can be improved.
- You depend on "non-professionals" to help you out with IT.
- You maintain that business productivity and performance are secondary to IT costs.