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What Is a Managed Services Provider?
A managed services provider is a company that manages other companies’ IT infrastructure to the degree that they require. Managed IT services are used by businesses of all sizes, from small, local companies all the way through large, multinational corporations. As this variety in usage suggests, managed services providers often tailor their services to meet the needs of organizations across a range of variables. We’ll discuss some of the most important variables in the sections below.
Fully Outsourced vs. Co-Managed IT: “Who Manages What?”
Managed services providers that offer customizable services will work with customers to establish a distribution of responsibility that best fits the customer’s needs and preferences. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) lack internal IT staff, and for such organizations, fully outsourcing their IT management to a managed services provider is often the ideal choice.
In the fully outsourced arrangement, the managed IT company would handle everything from start to finish, like installing new hardware and software, keeping up with software patches, adding new users, helping employees to troubleshoot and resolve tech problems, and so on. When SMBs outsource their IT fully, the managed services provider basically functions as their IT department.
Another common scenario is the company that has IT employees but prefers to outsource specific portions of their routine infrastructure management. The possibilities here are endless. One SMB may be in good shape to manage their on-premises infrastructure, but they may lack the in-house expertise to manage workloads in the cloud. For them, co-managed IT, in which they outsource only their cloud infrastructure management, might make the most sense.
Yet another SMB may have one or two senior IT leaders on board who handle everything from strategic IT planning to password resets. IT leaders in this position often find themselves so burdened with routine IT tasks that they have insufficient time for strategic activities, which is detrimental to the future growth of the business. For this company, a co-managed IT relationship that frees up the internal IT team’s time would be optimal. For example, they might choose to outsource time-consuming tasks like patch management and help desk support to the managed services provider, keeping all other IT tasks in-house.
Onsite vs. Remote Support: “Where Exactly Is Managed IT…Managed?”
Many SMBs are surprised to learn that the IT infrastructure of today can often be fully managed remotely. Through use of specialized software, engineers can “remote into” a business’ IT environment, giving them the access they need to perform routine tasks as well as diagnostics. This applies to both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure.
Of course, some managed services tasks must be completed onsite. For example, installation of hardware and networking must be completed by an onsite engineer. In addition, some businesses prefer the human touch of in-person IT service, which onsite engineers provide. However, not all managed IT companies offer both onsite and remote IT services; this varies from one managed service provider to the next.
Dedicated Engineers vs. Rotating Engineers: “Who’s Going to Answer When I Call?”
Managed services providers may also differ in terms of the engineers that assist their customers. Some customers prefer to work with a dedicated engineer who knows their business and people well. The dedicated engineer might make onsite visits or provide remote support, but the bottom line is that the company can turn to the same engineer for support time after time. Some managed service providers offer a dedicated engineer option, while others do not.
With rotating engineers, a customer receives support from multiple engineers. Although this arrangement lacks the familiarity of the dedicated engineer, customers can still receive knowledgeable and detailed support, provided that the managed services provider maintains a thorough customer environment database. If the service provider is not organized in this way, customers may find themselves having to reacquaint a new engineer with their IT environment every time they call for support.
Benefits of Managed Services: “What’s in It for Me?”
After reviewing the above, you might already be gaining a sense of how partnering with a managed services provider can benefit a business. But here are a handful of the most impactful benefits:
Reduce costs: Many SMBs find that it is less costly to outsource to a managed IT services provider than to manage their own in-house IT team, especially when the costs of high IT turnover are factored into the equation.
Fill holes in internal expertise: SMBs typically have few if any IT staff, and partnering with a managed services provider is a handy way of bringing in IT expertise that may be missing within their own teams.
Increase productivity: An overarching aim of managed IT is to keep a business’ infrastructure running reliably, or in other words, to prevent or reduce system downtime that cuts into employees’ productivity.
Bundle IT costs: Because some managed services providers also provide other necessary services, like cybersecurity and cloud hosting, SMBs can benefit from the convenience of working with a single provider for most if not all of their IT needs.
Free up time for higher-value tasks: By outsourcing routine, time-consuming IT management tasks to a managed services provider, top IT leaders like CIOs and IT directors can free up time in their schedules to attend to the strategic aspects of IT planning, which makes use of their specialized knowledge in ways that are more valuable to the business in the long term.
Offering customizable co-managed and fully outsourced IT plans, with dedicated remote and onsite engineers available, NexusTek provides managed services that are tailored to the needs of SMBs.
Would you like to explore how managed IT services could benefit your business?