The digital infrastructure of an organization defines how they operate or provide support to their customers. However, managing the IT infrastructure is one of the biggest business challenges, especially when the core isn’t IT. Be it installation, maintenance, upgrading, or troubleshooting, the challenges are vast. These challenges consume time and attention away from your central business problems.
Here is where a professional IT managed service provider plays a major role. With a deep understanding and expertise of the IT infrastructure, your IT assets are always on the top.
What is managed services
Managed services are the delegation of IT tasks to a third-party organization responsible for keeping your applications, cloud, and infrastructure in optimum condition.
The third-party organization, widely known as the managed service provider (MSP), undertakes various activities depending upon the arrangements specified in the SLA (Service Level Agreement). Managed services include routine actions like repair, maintenance, installation, and servicing. They also consist of strategic activities like anticipating future requirements and proposing changes based on upcoming technology trends.
More on managed services
The managed services definition may sometimes appear inadequate because it can mean different things to different organizations and in different contexts. Here, we’ll take a close look at the meaning and scope of managed services.
When you choose to work with an MSP, the prime objective is to ensure that there are negligible to zero downtimes, interruptions, or breakdowns. However, in practice, there’s a great deal more.
The managed service companies will look after the application hosting, whether that’s on cloud or on-premise, and the associated server management. MSPs take care of the network layers that eventually provide a delightful experience to your customers, letting you continue to carry out the business as usual. The MSPs provide peace of mind to your organization as you no longer have to worry about handling another breakdown or security challenge.
The MSPs may deliver from a global delivery center or from your premises, on-site, where they’re tied to SLAs and KPIs. Your business can use the services of the MSP to partially or fully replace in-house teams. When it comes to the larger picture, the MSP helps in choosing one technology over another by finding a good fit for your requirements, budget, and technical bandwidth.
Benefits of managed services
In addition to getting a robust infrastructure and applications, here are the five of the top benefits of managed services:
Cost control and predictability
One of the most visible benefits of managed IT services is the way you save money and keep a tight check on your costs. As you’re accessing technologies only as and when required and not investing in IT upfront, you effectively avoid spending beyond what’s essential.
Backed with vast expertise, an MSP can reliably estimate the IT operational expense (OpEx). That means your costs are highly predictable and not subject to too many variations.
Access to expertise as and when required
Once you begin working with a managed services provider, you realize the kind of access you have to tremendous expertise. Their skills, experience, certifications, and ability to keep abreast of technological advances make them a great deal superior to your internal teams.
The MSPs will have a clearer idea of the technologies suiting your requirements and hence can provide you with elaborate suggestions and guidance not only for your existing operations but also for your future plans.
Your internal teams are restrained by the fact that they have a limited experience outside of what your organization offers, which effectively can cap their turnaround time.
Because of a larger, dedicated team, and their experience with an array of clients, managed services providers can provide you with solutions faster. Over time, they have honed best practices and optimized their processes for a spectrum of IT issues, which enables them to act quickly and deliver results.
MSPs provide you the just the right layer of security your organizations need. They have proven, established processes that enable them to have your back.
Importantly, they can work with your own internal legal teams and identify the regulations you need to comply with. That can be a huge plus, especially if you hold a large data set of customers, prospects or partners.
Proactive, forward-looking support
Maintenance that happens at the point nearby breakdown isn’t maintenance, it’s repair. That’s not a good practice and can raise questions about your organizational readiness to work with larger IT infrastructure. Real support is when it keeps your systems from failing in the first place and ensures it runs smoothly all the time, without downtimes, without interruptions.
As they say, real support is one that you can’t see, because issues are taken care of before they expand into being a serious problem. One of the key reasons why managed services are so popular and effective is that you get support that’s unobtrusive, consistent, and proactive – your problems are solved before they actually become a problem. And only a seasoned MSP can achieve this kind of support.
Who should use managed services?
There are at least two ways to answer a question like which businesses should use managed services.
One way to look at it is by examining which industries most commonly use it. Retailers, hospitality companies, healthcare providers, various B2C dealerships, manufacturing and OEM companies, and banking and financial services companies seem to have adopted managed IT support services more than others.
The other way to look at it is by looking at the size of the business that’s considering adoption of managed services. A general consensus is that MSME as well as large enterprises whose core business isn’t IT find it most attractive to partner with an MSP.
Either way, for a business, managed services represent freedom from non-core activities and access to better technology and expertise. Hence, any business that relies substantially on IT infra to develop, deliver, and maintain customers will find it prudent to opt for this.
When should businesses adopt managed services
Most businesses will find a tipping point when they realize they need to consider working with MSPs.
Here are the 7 points where businesses should strongly consider using managed IT services:
- When the cost of maintaining the systems exceeds the benefits
- When it becomes increasingly difficult to hire and train internal teams
- When you realise that the impact technology should create in your business isn’t happening
- When you see competitors performing better at product development, distribution, or customer support while you’re tied down to system maintenance and upgrades
- When you notice any increase in incidents you as a result of system downtime or under performance
- When you spend more time than is reasonable in choosing appropriate technologies
- When your technology starts becoming a liability that you must maintain rather than an asset that delivers performance productivity and profits
The moment you start considering managed services you should reach out to a managed services provider. They will help you decide what might work best for you.
What to look for in a managed service provider
Finding the right Manage IT service provider is not always easy. That is because different service providers bring different skill sets in terms of capabilities, technologies, and timeframes.
Here are five of the most important questions you should ask when you are trying to to shortlist service provider
- What range of capabilities does the service provider possess? Do they match my requirements?
- What kind of customisation of services can they provide to meet my unique needs?
- What is the most common turnaround time, SLAs and KPIs they can promise across different levels of services and support that my business needs?
- Is the service provider too large to pay me attention? Or too small to provide me the expertise required?
- What kind of resources from my internal teams will I be able to free if I choose managed services?
As the complexity of doing business increases, so does the technology that supports their functions. With that, the significance of using managed services has grown. In parallel, business organizations relying on internal teams are increasingly realizing how technical administration takes their eye off their core business activities like product development, customer support, or marketing. All this makes a very strong case for opting for managed services.
Our experience as a leading managed services provider has exposed us to a plethora of challenges to conquer. Our expertise is not limited only to being proactive for prompt issue resolution but also better predicting customer requirements to suggest appropriate technologies and platforms.
If you’re a business that’s considering moving to managed services or switching to an MSP with better capabilities, we’d be happy to help you find alternatives. Let’s talk and explore more!