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Managed Services

Managed services explained

Author —Nathan Murray5 min read7 Jan 2022

If you are like most businesses competing on the bases of core competence, partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) makes a lot of sense. That’s because such a specialised service provider can take a lot off your back, freeing you to focus on strengthening your core offering and driving growth.

But before we get into questions like ‘Do I need an MSP?’, let’s first understand what a fully managed service is.

What is fully managed service?

The practice of assigning IT operations and processes, their maintenance and issue resolution, and providing strategic advice for investing in and advancing IT assets is called fully managed service.

Now let’s make it simpler: a managed service provider takes care of your IT infrastructure and frees your organization to focus on your business. As a result, your in-house IT teams can concentrate on strategic activities like improving your service delivery or developing new products. This will give you some idea about why managed services are important.

Managed services market

IT is the backbone of practically every single business in the modern times. To be able to effectively leverage IT and use it as a competitive advantage, businesses aim to keep it robust and updated.

As a result, businesses across different industries are increasingly opting to work with managed service providers.

In pursuit of answering the question ‘How big is the manager services market’, PRNewswire, a leading media intelligence and PR firm, reports that the market size will grow from USD 178.5 billion in 2019 to USD 309.4 billion by 2025 (Source). A Markets and Markets study estimates that the global market for managed services will be USD 329.1 billion by 2025 (Source).

The reason the market for managed services is so large is simple. It allows businesses to chase growth without having to worry about whether their IT infrastructure will live up to the promise while serving customers.

What is the difference between Managed services and outsourcing?

While managed services and outsources both support your IT infrastructure, the two aren’t the same.

Both alternatives have their own merits so what you choose depends upon your goals. The analysis of managed services vs outsourcing can be summed up with the following points:

1. Degree of involvement

Outsourcing remains an external vendor while managed services is like your company’s extended team.

As a result, your outsourcing partner deals with the more immediate problems on hand. A managed service provider, on the other hand, aligns their services and expertise with your long-term goals.

2. Extent of cost control

Your outsourcing company will keep solving problems as they crop up. That means you have no idea beforehand how you much would or should be spending on the running of your IT services.

Against that, your SLA (Service License Agreement) will have fixed monthly charges that you pay them against their managed services offerings. That way, you know in advance your spend.

3. Difference in turnaround time

Outsourcing is typically an on-demand approach: you call them, they’ll solve the problem. But there could be a time-lag between when the problem was reported and when they can fix it.

The importance of managed IT services lies in the fact that they can respond faster and, in many cases, better because they understand aspects of your business that your outsourcing partners may not.

4. Gap in accountability

Because of the way their roles are cut out, managed service providers turn out more accountable in strategic context. One of the reasons for this is that MSPs work closely with your teams and hence can better predict or prevent failures.

In case of outsourcing, they’re more often called in to fight emergencies. That keeps them a little short on your long-term dynamics.

5. Span of influence

Managed service companies work with your teams strategically. They can guide your course of action for your growth goals and help you better prepare for uncertain times.

Outsourcing companies will work on well-defined problems but not on uncertainties.

Managed services model

The growth in remote support for IT assets and the gap that outsourcing left have led to the creation of the managed service business model.

Managed services companies mainly offer the following three types of managed services:

1. Infrastructure management services: Your services partner will manage your technology, both hardware and software. Their objective will be to keep the entire system in proper shape and ensure that your business works at its best productive levels.

2. Application management and support: In this case, your service provider will maintain and monitor one or more business applications on your behalf. That would include security, updates, patches, bug-fixing and so on.

3. Cloud managed services: Under this, you partner with a cloud managed service specialist who will provide the management, technical support and trouble-shooting for your cloud infrastructure.

Managed Services Benefits

Now, let us address the question: What are the benefits of managed IT services?

1. Better efficiency at lower costs

MSPs are cost-effective. Building your own in-house team that can match the skills and experience of an MSP is expensive. Besides, MSPs can better predict IT costs and help you with IT budgeting.

2. Peace of mind

MSP are 24 x 7 x 365 solution providers. That means they will be safeguarding your IT infrastructure round the clock even when your own team may not be around.

3. Access to strategic expertise

MSPs bring a long-term vision. They specialize in staying updated and hence can better understand trends. As a result, you can be sure that your systems will always be as advanced as your business requires.

4. Help with compliance

MSPs understand and handle security risks related to IT and data. They specialize in compliance challenges and regulations, which helps you mitigate security risks.

5. Minimal downtime

MSPs can bring you near zero downtime for your business, leading to virtually zero interruption in your services. Your systems remain in top working condition round the clock, so your customers and prospects view you as a reliable business.

Why do we need Managed services?

As a technology leader of your organization, you have probably wondered whether and how managed services bring more value to your business.

While analysing that, it’s important to remember that the role of MSPs lies between technology and strategic management. With that in context, it’s much easier to tell if you need managed services.

In general, the following instances find managed services most useful:

  • Small or mid-sized business: Chances are your IT department is already burdened with tons of requests. In such a situation, they might not be able to forefront on the latest technology. As a result, your business doesn’t get to enjoy those benefits.
  • Limited budget: If you were a very large corporate you’d have a bigger budget. But your current budget can only have so many people. And often that number isn’t enough to handle maintenance as well advancement.
  • Smaller IT teams: Small or mid-sized IT departments can only do so much, so it’s not rare for them to be caught off-guard.
  • Overworked teams: With the current situation, you know your teams are swamped with requirements. Roping in a managed service provider would take lots of things off your plate.
  • Need for more secure systems: You’ve recently noticed some loose ends in your security. Or maybe current regulations like the GDPR and CCPA sound a little overwhelming.
  • Frequent outages: Downtimes can be really expensive, in terms of lost customer confidence and weakened brand value.
  • Strategic decisions: Maybe you’re planning to introduce new services. Or maybe you intend to venture into new areas.
  • Better cost control: Managed services, as explained earlier, can give you a unique cost control method. When taking a call on cost-control for your business, you want to consider managed services.

Conclusion

Choosing managed services is like working with a strong technology partner who has your back. That way, your business can concentrate on what you know best and do best: product development, business growth and customer service.With managed services, you can save on costs and enjoy the domain-expertise of your service provider.

If you’re facing any of the instances mentioned above, you’ll probably soon be considering managed services. Surely we can help. Let’s talk!

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