According to the definition in Wikipedia, “Managed services is the practice of outsourcing on a proactive basis certain processes and functions intended to improve operations and cut expenses.”
Companies have begun to hire IT service providers for proactively monitoring IT workstations and infrastructure while they can focus on other core goals of their business. The IT services are often unlimited and are provided at a flat rate (mostly, fixed monthly rate).
In other words, vendors providing managed services will help you put the focus back on the IT firm. The moment your organization faces any problems, the IT firm will assign a team to monitor it thoroughly. The provider would also suggest different ways in which the problem can be solved, and aids in curbing a recurrence in the future.
Though companies of all sizes strive for operational efficacy, not all of them can devote the time, staff and resources to do so. Small businesses and startups do have limited resources, and they could lag in their network management and updates. This, unfortunately, makes the company prone to attacks and breaches. The only solution would be to turn to managed services. According to a report by Comptia, the growth rate of managed services will rise up to 12.5 during the period from 2017 to 2020.
Traditional support services also known as break/fix solutions actually benefited only big companies. When a technical glitch occurs, the IT person steps and corrects the solution within the shortest time.
This was the standard procedure, but it had a couple of downsides too:
1. The technological developments in the last few decades have been tremendous. Waiting for a problem to arise and then searching for a solution could pull you away from the market, perhaps irrevocably. And the increased dependence on digital databases and automated systems only screamed for a different kind of solution. If a network fails or if an email server goes down, the loss of revenue and the cut back in productivity can be devastating.
2. Startups cannot afford to hire their own IT firm, so they generally do not have anyone to step in and save them in case of technological outages.
These two issues lead to a better solution to prevent system failures and to nip potential issues before they turn critical.
There have been substantial changes in the Managed Services arena, probably due to the growing popularity of cloud services. The role of the MSPs (Managed Service Providers) is also changing and evolving.
Now, how do you align your strategies so you can bring in more value and make the best of this shift? This article describes it in detail.
Small to mid sized companies and startups can engage MSPs if they want somebody reliable to outsource their steady-state IT operations. You can switch to them in such a way that it is consistent with your IT strategy, by checking whether it can move your company to the direction the market is headed and of course, your budget.
There are traditional MSPs and cloud-based MSPs, and if given a choice, you can choose the latter because it is newer, constantly evolving and would definitely be more result-oriented.
The latest trend in MSPs is where there is a combination of cloud by choosing the SaaS or Software as a Service model, and the on-premises solution. In this, the company’s existing systems are migrated to the cloud, and MSP takes full ownership of the systems management. The MSP then sells the business function back to the company by following the “as-a-service” scenario.
The biggest benefit of MSP is that businesses can keep their processes focused around the ERP system without worrying about the infrastructure and that too at a predictable cost model.
Apart from that you can enjoy various other benefits too.
Cloud Managed Services is all about speed. So if speed is of essence to you, right from building the applications to monitoring and alerting in case of any issue, this is the ideal solution. As the physical hardware is already in the cloud, and up and running, it is easier to provision the servers quickly.
Traditional MSPs on the other hand, are far slower because it is all about installing, testing and waiting. This eats up time and could keep you for days on end. The provider for cloud services gives you high-speed cloud resources that you can use to mine through massive amounts data quickly. This in turn leads to faster time to market and better infrastructure utilization.
As the cloud is redundant, you can perform updates, do the monitoring and maintenance from any location. This makes it quick and efficient. On the other hand, a traditional data center will be at the premises and hence it is hardware based, with the data stored within a local storage network. Cloud MSP is a better choice because there is sufficient protection against outages. Most cloud vendors have multiple data centers in different locations.
Fixing things while following the traditional practices for storage can be tedious because you have to wait for the infrastructure to be updated; you have to order the resources, wait for them to get shipped, get them installed and so on. But for managed services that are in the cloud, you don’t have to worry at all, because it is the vendors’ s job to it.
The vendor can scale up and down the resources as and when required, and they can take care of things much faster. The CSP sets up, manages and protects the cloud environment against hacks and outages, so businesses can focus on their strategies and goals.
When you have a cloud managed services as part of your cloud infrastructure, testing and deploying process is very easy and quick. Everything can be done at the click of a button. Whereas, when you manage traditional managed services, it would take months to get the testing process done, and if you don’t have the right people in-house, you have to hire them separately.
One of the areas where cloud services can impart a profound impact would be in data management. There is a growing demand for secure, extremely fast robust data centers, and a number of these services are offered by the providers in the form of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.
Data security was quite an expensive deal until the cloud processes came in vogue. Companies could not afford to spend so much in hardware investment and maintenance and they tried hard to keep up with the data security demands.
Now, a careful and methodical search by companies would reveal to them that there are reliable service providers who provide their services with transparency when it comes to data security and management, and offered scalability whenever needed. This is how managed services simplifies processes.
Speed is one of the biggest advantages for a startup when they hire cloud managed services. Everything, right from building up the infrastructure to monitoring them and being alert for breaks and hacks is done much faster with managed services. As the physical hardware is already running in the cloud, it makes provisioning of servers also much faster. Startups can make the configuration faster if their MSP uses DevOps and converts the environment into following IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service.
Traditional services will not be able to do this in such a short time because they have to wait for the spare parts arrival and other technicalities. Cloud, can on the other hand, finish the tasks on the spot. The provider can resolve an issue from any network locally. For a technical server, the technician has to arrive at the spot.
Cloud infrastructure is growing exponentially every year. Once the MSPs have the right infrastructure in place, then can provide cloud services at a price reasonable enough for startups. This way, they expand their own services. That is, if the startup just needs a few services in the beginning, they can always scale up to the necessary capacity. This reduces the time and cost they need to get started. If you have a business idea in mind, managed services providers makes it so easier for you to enter the game.
MSPs make targeted migrations possible, and this helps them deliver more value to customers. Targeted migration from workplace infrastructure to the cloud system makes it safe and seamless. To do this successfully, you and the vendor (if you have already selected the MSP) can establish the scope and business care to establish the intended scope of systems that are yet to be migrated.
Though this initial pass on scope doesn’t have to be perfect, it would still give you an idea on the initial sizing. You also need the workload characteristics to know what kind of migration is needed, i.e. analyzing the size, nature (transactional/static), security requirements and complexity of the workload. Targeted migration also needs to check the application type, i.e. whether it is a mobile app, collaboration platform, consumer portal or a decision support dashboard.
When you are aware of your customer touchpoints, you will be able to successfully build a picture of your customer’s journey and how they value your business. Touchpoints are “points” that your customer comes into contact with your business. The idea is to bring the customer’s expectations to life, and once you have mapped their journey, you will be able to focus on the touchpoint.
Customer interests are constantly changing. While you keep an eye on the infrastructure at the premises and the subsequent issues that follow through, you may fail to catch up on what they need.
A highly reputed MSP would be focused around your business goals and they can help you gain a competitive edge the entire time. The vendor can help you develop the right mix of private and public cloud and on-premises IT to meet the business challenges. This is because they have a “Business-First” perspective - your business. This leaves you free to innovate on your products and services, promising better business continuity.
It is now clear that Managed Services is a practice of outsourcing a company’s IT infrastructure and complex networks to a professional managed service provider, preferably a vendor who provides it through the cloud. It could be Azure, AWS, Google Cloud or anyone with whom you can match your needs and requirements. The providers would then monitor your company’s IT operations and infrastructure remotely, as they have full ownership of the system’s management. They also focus on providing cloud ready solutions using the best set of technologies available. As the cloud is redundant, they will be able to perform all the updates as and when required.
The MSP can fill the gap created by the IT departments in a company and the growing demand for stability, fast performance, quick time to market and better business technologies. And they help greatly to control the IT costs.
So businesses can focus on their profits by improving operations. And startups normally have only very limited staff because they cannot afford to have more. So with MSPs, you no longer have to worry about hiring and training IT staff. So in short, the fact is that you enjoy more value and more ROI by taking this decision.
Managed services are here for the future because they can successfully identify and rectify any technical issues before they take a toll. And through ‘system centralization’, you will be able to see what’s happening the entire time.
Want to know more about how managed services can add value to your company? We can assist you!
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