What is Managed Services?
Today the key phrase connected with IT Support is “Managed Services.” What does managed services mean though? Managed Services is essentially moving IT operations to a service provider also known as a Managed Services Provider. The Managed Services Provider is responsible for the 24-hour monitoring, managing, and solution finding for the IT systems within a business. Today every business is hopping on the Managed Services bandwagon!
Where Did Managed Services Come From?
It all started with break-fix.
In the 90s, small to medium sized businesses’ primary option for technology support was to contact their local computer guy or company to fix an issue when something broke. It was too costly for most businesses to hire a full-time person to manage their IT, so they relied heavily on technology companies to respond to occurring problems. This type of technology service is referred to as “break-fix,” meaning that when something went awry the business called in the break and the IT company came running to fix it.
As time progressed, technology companies would occasionally come on-site to do a system review and look for hints of issues before they became big problems. The issue with this approach, however, was that the support people could only see what was happening on that day.
Around the same time, large fortune 500 companies were starting to develop tools to have their systems signal problems as early as possible. These newer tools that could watch these systems and turn all the data into usable information were complex to manage, geared to large networks, and were too expensive for small business.
In the early 2000s, smaller companies wanted to take advantage of the same features and benefits as the large companies. This started the Managed Services movement, which would help small to large businesses alike.
The Need for Reliable IT Resources
Nowadays, both small and large business rely heavily on technology to work. However, even as dependence on technology grows, the resources needed to support this growing technological environment may not. Many small businesses can be quickly overwhelmed with their limited IT resources.
When businesses fall behind in patches and security or keeping up with backups, the risk of an IT outage greatly increases. If an IT outage is to occur, it will negatively affect the business. For example, if your backup had been failing for months and your server crashes, the damage costed to your business is almost immeasurable.
Managed Services vs. The Break-Fix
The availability of Managed Services also allows for a philosophical change in the way that a business deals with its technology. Instead of following the tradition of break-fix (waiting for something to fail), a business using Managed Services focuses on the prevention of a problem from even occurring.
Today, no business can really afford the risk of break-fix maintenance service. Since businesses are too dependent on having a reliable IT system, they cannot just wait for something to break and hope it gets fixed quickly with limited backlash.
Wouldn’t Managed Services Cost More Than Break-Fix Services?
Perhaps surprising, but most Managed Services cost less than traditional break-fix services, especially when including the true cost of downtime. Remote monitoring and maintenance along with the prevention of major issues allows a Managed Services provider to be more efficient than a similar break-fix company. While a Managed Services provider can do maintenance prevention services for several companies from one office, a break-fix company must physically go to visit customer sites and fix a presenting issue. Therefore, the managed service company can offer a “better” service without having to charge for more.
Why are IT Firms Now Promoting Managed Services?
IT Firms are pro-Managed Services, because it puts the IT Support Company on the same page as the business they are serving. With traditional break-fix services, the only way for an IT Support company to make money is if something goes wrong — which for the IT company is a double-edged sword. If the company does their job too well, they are out of business. This happens to about 80% of all small IT Firms — they just can’t make it on break-fix alone.
How are Managed Services Priced?
Managed Services providers usually price their services on a flat-rate monthly basis. Depending on the services included in the program offered, some are based on the number of devices and include different packages priced at different levels. Most flat-rate service providers offer fully managed services that cover everything from alerts through to problem resolution.
But Adding Another Monthly Fee Wasn’t Exactly What You Were Looking For …?
We completely understand! Today it feels like every company we deal with is trying to figure out a way to charge us on a monthly basis. Our business is not immune.
That being said, Managed Services is not a short-lived fad, or a way for IT companies to fatten their wallets at your company’s expense. Managed Services is a way for businesses to eliminate problems before they even occur, manage their IT budgets better, and create a solid long-term partnership with an IT firm that is protecting one of their most important assets… their information.
The Real Benefits of Managed Services
Simply put, one of the biggest benefits of Managed Services is discovering and fixing problems before they can negatively affect your business.
A well maintained, proactively serviced network will always run better than the alternative. With proactive network monitoring, patch management, and desktop optimization performed on a regular basis, you will notice a tremendous difference in your day to day and long term operations.
Another notable benefit is reduced costs. Businesses are now able to control and reduce their overall operating costs thanks to the flat-fee billing model. The dream of cost-effective access to enterprise-level support is now the reality thanks to Managed Services!