When organizations are considering leveraging managed services, they often ask – what does managed services mean? The definition of managed services will certainly vary depending on what provider you ask – but we have a few considerations to make below that can help you refine a managed services definition.
What Managed Services Means to Us
To begin, we want you to understand how we define managed services (but we won’t stop there!). In our mind, managed IT services should give the customer leveraging them the ability to focus on their core business, while we as the managed services provider take care of all of their technology needs. This involves a variety of things, from solving one-off issues with the help desk, to larger technology strategy such as budget planning, or a 5 year plan to develop technology infrastructure that contributes to business growth. If you’re a bank, for example, you want to focus on your customers, loans, and other business assets. Your managed services provider focuses on the technology that supports this.
Simply put, managed IT services is a business partner that takes care of your technology and technology strategy so that you don’t have to. This means being not only reactive, but proactive, so that you have fewer issues and more productivity. You’re not an IT company – you want to focus on your business goals, and beyond that, use technology to help achieve them!
Considerations when understanding the definition of Managed Services
One of the biggest questions to ask when you are defining managed services with a potential MSP – do they define it as an all-encompassing solution? Does it include items beyond the help desk, such as on site-visits and strategic planning? What will you have to pay for outside of your monthly fee (such as fees for new hardware and more)? It is important to be on the same page when defining managed services with a potential partner. Fully understanding what you receive for your monthly fee (and what you don’t) is essential.
An MSPs managed services definition should also include the partnership method mentioned above. The goal of managed services is to have a business partner for the long term, that wants to work with you to achieve your goals. If it seems like an MSPs definition is lacking this, and focuses more on fixing issues than proactively helping your business, you will want to consider what kind of services you are looking for. If you are just looking for help fixing what “breaks” in your technology, this could be a suitable option. But if you want to leverage technology to grow, you likely want more of the business partner we mentioned above.
Verifying MSP Quality
When discussing what managed services means to a particular MSP, it is important to dive deeper and understand their level of expertise. Some questions to ask to understand their depth and experience:
- What certifications do their engineers hold?
- What areas do they serve within the technology bench? Cloud, disaster recovery, security, storage solutions? Do they have a proven track record on assisting clients with these areas?
- Can they help resolve issues strategically? What do their Service Level Agreements look like, and what is their history of delivering on SLA-defined metrics?