As managed IT services have grown in popularity, you’ve probably heard the concept touted often as the answer to your business’s IT woes. Still, there can be plenty of mystery on the topic. What is managed IT services, exactly? How do organizations integrate managed IT services into their existing business and workflows? Also, who provides these services? In today’s business blog we’ll answer these questions and more.
What Is Managed IT Services Exactly?
Managed IT services is a broad term describing any scenario in which a company (that’s you) partners with a vendor, called a managed service provider (or MSP), to handle some or all IT responsibilities for the company.
The exact services that MPSs offer range pretty widely. Companies, too, vary widely in terms of their IT infrastructure and needs, as well as exactly which IT responsibilities they choose to outsource to an MSP. Some firms may contract with an MSP to handle absolutely everything about their IT infrastructure. More commonly, companies will outsource only certain portions of their IT workload.
It’s a little easier to understand the concept of managed IT services by looking at some examples of how they are currently being used in several types of organizations.
How Do Organizations Utilize Managed IT Services?
Businesses implement managed IT services in a whole host of ways. Here are a few examples.
Some companies look to a managed service provider to handle all or nearly all its IT needs. Growing small businesses, for example, may not have much (or any) in-house IT presence. They need capabilities that they don’t have, and they find it simpler and more affordable to contract with an MSP than to build out their own in-house IT team.
On the other end of the spectrum, a medium or large business with an established in-house IT team might look to a managed service provider to alleviate some stress on that team. A larger firm might outsource helpdesk-level support, for example. In doing so, the company would empower its in-house team. Free from the distractions of troubleshooting workstations and managing software installs, the in-house IT specialists can focus their attention on the higher-level tasks they were hired to do.
Businesses of any size can also look to an MSP to fill a specialized need. Some areas of IT have unpredictable costs, and others are simply cost-prohibitive for many smaller businesses to build on their own. Some areas can be difficult to hire for, too. Examples of specialized needs that can be met through managed IT services include cyber security, information security and compliance, and cloud services.
What Are Reasons to Choose a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?
Businesses who have embraced the managed IT services model do so for a wide variety of reasons. Some are unique to specific industries, but many are universal. Here are a few reasons it likely makes sense for your business to choose a managed service provider for your managed IT services needs.
Scaling for Growth
Scaling your IT infrastructure has real costs when you do it in house. You need additional equipment, additional floor space to house the equipment, and additional personnel to install, run, and monitor the equipment. Managed service providers, on the other hand, already have the equipment. They’re running servers for dozens of businesses, so they have automatic capacity when you need more. They can leverage the economy of scale in a way you can’t.
Growth isn’t just measured in headcount, either. Device count continues to increase, too. Employees expect to be able to interact with systems using their work computer, laptop, tablet, and phone—both on site and off. Your in-house team doesn’t have the time to support all these device issues. A managed service provider does.
The Talent Gap Is Real
If you have an in-house team, are you having trouble keeping it fully staffed with well qualified people? You’re not alone. One reason is that the US has reached full employment, making domestic hiring more difficult than ever before.
Another more serious reason is the digital talent gap. In 2017 (that’s before we reached full employment), 54% of companies were having difficulty finding workers with the right digital skills. It’s not gotten better.
Fill your business’s talent gap by partnering with an MSP. The right MSP will have the specialties you’re missing and will be able to work in harmony with your in-house team.
Who Provides Managed IT Services?
If your business is looking into working with a managed service provider, you may be asking who provides managed IT services. The good news is you have plenty of options. There are quite a few local providers offering managed IT services in every metropolitan area, and there are a few global players as well. We’ll get to that distinction, but first, a word on services offered and specialization.
Services Offered and Specialization
The first question businesses should ask is whether an MSP offers the services they need. Not every MSP has exactly the same offerings or experience, so don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. Don’t just ask whether they offer a given service; ask how many clients they’ve served with it.
Some industries, like healthcare or finance, have developed specialized IT needs. Accordingly, some MSPs specialize in specific industries or technologies. In short, look for niche players if you’re in a niche industry.
Local vs. Global MSPs
Choosing a local firm means getting local, boots-on-the-ground support. The best local firms offer a wide spectrum of services, including extended hours, and have the infrastructure and personnel depth you need. You’ll get individualized attention and you’ll support your local economy.
Choosing a global firm like Amazon’s AWS gives you access to more raw power and, often, innovative technology others can’t match. Customer service, on the other hand, can be a bit impersonal, and fixing on-site problems can take time.
If you’re looking for a quality local managed services provider, we’re here for you. Contact us today to get started.