Managed Services can have many meanings, and the scope of managed services varies widely. The service could be a single operational function such as networking or a complete end-to-end service.
About fifteen years ago, a group of managed service provider (MSP) leaders created a definition that still applies to the technology industry today.
As if that definition weren’t broad enough, managed services have expanded to almost every area of business, many of which have little to do with technology.
An MSP remotely monitors a system or asset for the customer to anticipate problems and customer needs. The provider can often prevent a service interruption, or respond immediately either remotely or on-site with no trouble call. This is a benefit in any situation where downtime affects business operations.
MSPs operate on a subscription basis where the customer pays a recurring amount for the service based on a service level agreement (SLA). This makes the cost of management and maintenance predictable. It also stabilizes revenue for the service provider, which helps them retain top talent.
For decades, technology services operated using the “break-fix” approach. When a service goes down, the customer calls a trouble desk. The MSP fixes the problem and bills the customer. In operations where the revenue stream depends on uninterrupted service, break-fix makes little sense. It requires a more proactive approach.
Requirements other than infrastructure and networks benefit from a managed services contract. One is application support where a provider serves as the administrator for a software platform. An example is an LMS or talent management platform where a customer doesn’t have the staff or expertise to manage it. The services can extend to many functions, and can range from on-call support to complete proactive system management, where the provider is an extension of the customer’s workforce.
Benefits of an MSP can extend far beyond services and predictable pricing. A good provider is a partner who can help your company achieve its business goals. A good MSP will provide the following services:
- Developing a thorough understanding of your business model and objectives, exploring the right mix and level of services to maximize your investment and capitalize on opportunities.
- Creating collaborative working relationships among all stakeholders, including internal service users and external vendors. In learning, the service includes maintaining relationships with innovative learning providers and integrators. In staffing, it includes maintaining an array of suppliers with rich, deep candidate pools.
- Continuously improving the value of services and introducing new opportunities for expanding your capabilities. This includes staying on top of new technologies and methods and working with you to evaluate the benefits and costs of each.
- Providing change management expertise, fostering a collaborative approach to project and process management.
When you engage a managed services provider, you should expect a proactive approach. A good MSP will anticipate your needs by understanding your business, your goals, and your culture.
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.