We speak to businesses regularly about Managed Services and know that as much as you can be told the benefits, many have very real and legitimate concerns which do need to be addressed.
We also hear glowing reports of the benefits that the same services have brought to other businesses.
It’s time that these very real concerns about Managed Services were treated seriously – and considered next to the equally real potential benefits.
Let’s set the scales up and take a look at the arguments for and against Managed Services:
Managed Services – The Case Against
It is a very big ask indeed to hand over the management of your network to an outside supplier.
This is why it is crucial that, in choosing a Managed Service Provider (MSP) you must vet not only their credentials but also their processes.
They need to be able to prove conclusively to you that their incident and change management controls follow IT service management best practices.
This is a similar issue to trust. If there is an email outage, for instance, with a MSP your business is in effect held ‘hostage’ to the response times of an external provider.
Again, this is a vetting issue. You must be 100% comfortable that the skills, knowledge of your MSP and their ability to react swiftly are actually greater than your in-house team.
If not, then that particular MSP is most definitely not for you.
- Technology as a differentiator
For those looking to gain a competitive advantage through their IT there is an argument that you should not use an MSP whose service offering is available to all.
Yet, as we shall see, one of the key advantages that MSPs enable businesses to achieve is the time to focus on their strategic use, development and deployment of technology on the network. In this case it doesn’t really matter if others are benefitting from the same platform - it is what you use it for that provides the true differentiator.
- Getting stuck in the middle
Another fear is that you risk getting caught in the middle as issues fall between a vendor and the MSP.
The simple solution to this, however, is to ensure that your MSP has working relationships with your vendors and takes responsibility for fixing problems within an agreed SLA.
Managed Services – The Case For
Keeping engineers up to date with the rapidly changing products that appear on the IT landscape is costly in terms of both head count and training.
With an MSP you place the responsibility for this expertise outside of your balance sheet.
Keeping up to date takes a great investment of time, too.
Of course, all the time your IT department spends on 'keeping the lights on' is time that they could be spending deploying new sales applications or future proofing and competitively positioning your IT strategy. There is an element here of getting that balance right and using resources effectively to deliver high quality service to your end users.
- Skills and knowledge
As your business uses more applications across more devices there are greater demands on your IT department. In the current climate of squeezed budgets this can only lead to a dilution of knowledge.
Removing responsibility gives you focus – it allows your team to concentrate on using your network in the most secure, most efficient and most effective way possible for your business needs.
- Fast deployment and constant vigilance
Switching over to an MSP can happen overnight with minimal disruption.
Suddenly your systems can be proactively monitored and managed 24/7. You gain complete visibility of issues that occur, instant alerts about any resources that are reaching their threshold and seamless fixes that are typically made within hours.
What do you think?
With any decision which involves a third party, there are bound to be reservations. Overall you need to ask yourself whether your business has the resources to manage the network effectively in-house, or whether outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider will improve your capabilities. A strategic approach when choosing who to opt for is crucial.
If you are considering whether opting for a Managed Service is right for your business, and want to explore the pros and cons in more detail, you can download the guide below, which should help you to understand the benefits and implications: