What are managed IT services? In a nutshell, managed service providers (MSP) offer professional IT outsourcing services to companies like yours so that you can focus your energies on other strategic business initiatives. For most business leaders, trying to navigate the fast-changing complexities of technology and hire the talent needed to support an IT infrastructure is a difficult and inefficient use of their time. And that’s why more and more companies are choosing to hand over part or even all IT responsibilities to partners who specialize in providing a full range of IT services. The MSP market has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last decade and is set to nearly double by 2026.
How Are Managed IT Services Structured?
As the name suggests, Managed IT is an arrangement where companies turn over key technical tasks and objectives to an MSP. The services to be provided, performance parameters and other facets of the relationship are governed by a service contract that generally includes service level agreements (SLAs) and service level objectives (SLOs).
These agreements define the services that are to be offered, the pricing for those services, and the performance standards that the MSP is committed to meeting. This provides a clear way for the customer to understand what is being provided and to judge the performance of the vendor.
Building a Relationship of Trust
While you need to decide which outsourcing model works best for your organization, the most important thing to look for in an MSP is not in the contract – but in their ability and commitment to deliver value to your business. Therefore, what you most need to look for in an MSP is one that you can trust to be open and honest with you. One who you believe can:
- Understand and analyze the IT needs of your business
- Intelligently map their service offerings to your business needs
- Fairly estimate what it will take to offer those services with consistent quality
- Provide flexibility when business needs change
- Deliver services as promised!
Whether you decide to keep some IT operations in-house or to hand over the reins completely to your MSP, the challenge is the same. Find a partner who has a solid track record of reliable service and who will work with you to understand your business and construct an IT support contract that meets your needs.
What About the Break/Fix Services Model?
There was a time when some businesses could rely on a simple break/fix model: i.e., call in an outside IT service vendor only when something breaks.
But because of the increasing reliance on Information Technology in almost every facet of the business, and the rapid growth in complexity of the supporting IT infrastructure – even a few hours of downtime can mean thousands of dollars in lost productivity, so the break/fix model has become much less relevant. On the other hand, when applied to the right situations, as part of a hybrid managed support model, some elements of break/fix can still provide good business value. It’s simply a matter of applying the most efficient solution to each situation.
What Types of Services Do Managed IT Service Providers Offer?
Managed IT service providers can offer a wide range of services, including
- Remote Monitoring and Management
- Network management
- Server management
- Cloud services
- Mobile device management
- Email and messaging solutions
- Backup and disaster recovery planning
- Managed security services
- IT automation
- Help Desk Services
- Remote and on-site Technical support
Each provider may offer different services, and some might offer “bundled” packages, so it’s important to do your research. Find out exactly which services will be part of the contract and what tasks/functions each of the services include.
What Are the Biggest Benefits to IT Managed Services?
There are many benefits to using managed IT services, including
- Increased efficiency – By outsourcing your time-consuming day-to-day IT needs to a specialized provider, you can free up your staff’s time so they can focus on their primary responsibilities.
- Reduced costs – Managed IT services are often more cost-effective than hiring internal staff to manage your systems. Outsourced overhead is easier to control and managed service providers usually have a variety of service and pricing options to fit a wide range of budgets.
- A full range of IT skills – One of the biggest benefits of using managed IT services is access to a much wider range of technical skill sets and services than would normally be available to an “in-house” support team. From senior network and systems architects and cybersecurity experts to seasoned C-level IT consultants, the best MSPs have the depth of expertise needed to keep a modern business running.
- Increased flexibility – Managed IT services are highly flexible and scalable and can be adapted to meet the changing IT needs of a business over time. Providers can work with you to create and/or adapt a custom solution that fits your specific requirements.
- Streamline business processes – Managed IT services can help businesses automate their business processes, making them more efficient and productive.
- Improve user satisfaction – Reduce user frustration and improve productivity by improving the reliability of your IT infrastructure and making sure that users have easy access to well–trained help-desk personnel.
What are the Pricing Models for Managed IT Service?
The pricing models for managed IT services vary from provider to provider. However, most providers employ one or more of the following pricing models, or may even take a hybrid approach, combining the features of several pricing models:
- Per-user – This is a common pricing model and simply charges businesses per user for access to the services.
- Per device – This pricing model charges businesses for each device that is connected to the network.
- Tiered – Some MSPs sell their services in the form of bundled packages.
- Flat fee (or all-you-can-eat) – With this pricing model, businesses pay a flat monthly fee for all of the services they want.
- Pay as you go (or break/fix) – Under this model, businesses only pay for the services they use.
- A la carte – the “a la carte” pricing model lets organizations pay only for the services they need. This approach allows you to build the exact suite of services your organization needs most. A la carte models are very cost-effective for many companies, but due diligence is necessary when building desired packages.
You Could Be Managing Your IT Much Better:
What Kinds of Managed IT Services Are Best for Your Business?
In the end, MSP service and pricing models are less important than the company that will be delivering them to you. What you need most is a trusted partner and advisor. One who understands IT and will take the time to understand your business so they can deliver great IT service at a fair price.
For over 25 years, ITSco has been delivering trusted IT services to customers in Raleigh-Durham, and across the Triangle and North Carolina. Our reputation is built on engineering expertise, fair pricing, and a commitment to customer satisfaction.