What is Managed IT Services?The buzzword relating to IT Support is "Managed Services", and every day more and more businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. But what does managed services actually mean and how can you tell if an IT Support company is not just using the word as a marketing tool, but is in fact only offering "flat rate" services packaged as "managed services"? As a definition, Managed Services allows a business to offload IT operations to a service provider, known as a Managed Services Provider. The managed service provider assumes an ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for the IT systems within a business.
Managed Services vs. The Break-Fix Mentality
Managed services are also a philosophical change in the way that a business deals with its technology. Instead of following the old-school tradition of break-fix (literally meaning wait until the server, desktops or other critical networking devices fail, then scramble to fix them), a business operating with a managed service focuses on the prevention of these issues before they disrupt employees, management and/or clients.
If you fall behind in keeping up with things such as backups, patches and security, the odds greatly increase that you’ll face an IT outage or another problem down the road that will negatively impact your business. For instance, if your Email server, customer relationship management system, financial application or network goes down, you will likely face substantial productivity and revenue losses as a result.
Why are so many IT Firms now promoting 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 to us as always was a double-edged sword. If we do our job too well, we’re out of business, which happens to about 80% of all small IT Firms; they just don’t make it.
Do Managed Services Cost More Than Traditional Break-Fix Services?
Actually no! Surprisingly most managed services cost less than traditional break-fix services, especially when including the true cost of downtime. Remote monitoring, remote maintenance and the prevention of major issues allow a managed services provider to be more efficient than a similar break-fix company who is constantly rolling a truck to visit customer sites. Therefore the managed service company can offer a “better” service without charging more.
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, pricing is usually based on the number of devices, with different packages priced at different levels. Some providers offer on-site customer support as an extra fee.
Basic services often start with a monitoring service, which notifies “you” of problems, which you resolve on your own. At the upper end of the spectrum, service providers offer fully managed services that cover everything from alerts through problem resolution. (Learn more about Managed Service Savings)
Small IT companies come and go quickly and so do the Techs
If you’ve been in business for longer then 5 years, you’ve probably hired more then one IT support company, you’ve maybe hired many. You know the frustrations of having a new technician working with your network. The question becomes “Is your technician a trusted adviser” or just a guy trying to fix your computer problems?