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A simple guide to Managed Services

What do we mean by Managed Services? Our Director of Managed Services, David Bradbury answers some key questions.

Managed services can sound complex, but in reality, it simply describes the practice of working with a customer to understand their challenges, helping them select from a set of appropriate products and services and combining them into a single service, usually with one monthly bill. Often many MSPs will position that Managed Services are an end to end service provision which is true for some customers, however, this can be a full model from a service desk, on-premise engineering, licensing, service management and security through to something as simple as a standalone fully managed DR solution. Managed Services often utilise differing metrics for service billing like ticket volume or hours consumed rather than the more traditional insurance-based model.

So what is an MSP?

An MSP (Managed Service Provider) describes the business model that supports the delivery of managed services. They will provide an end to end service in some cases or be a specialist provider in one area only e.g. security or disaster recovery. Any good MSP will utilise state of the art tools to deliver the services including the basics of a PSA (Professional Services Automation) and ITSM (IT Service Management) solution along with RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) and a host of connected 3rd party toolkits. This is a complex area picking the right solutions and achieving the automation levels required to deliver an efficient and effective service. When selecting an MSP it is always advisable to review the toolkits and services they utilise to ensure they are using marketing leading technology.

What makes Managed Service agreements different from traditional IT support contracts?

A traditional support offering would usually be an off the shelf solution with unlimited ticket volumes paid in advance that is often priced using a speculative insurance style model i.e. based on your kit age, number of users, etc. Whilst in some cases this can work in the favour of the customer, often the customer ends up paying a premium for services they don’t consume. With Managed Services, the cost is designed to be centred on the value delivered through the services selected.
Traditional contracts are often reactive and have few measures in place for service metrics and this can lead to unreliable systems or platform issues going unnoticed in the general noise. A properly managed service will identify these problem areas through tooling and through proper service management reviews seeking to improve the overall service delivered to end-users, rather than just provide a quick service desk fix.
In addition, many traditional IT service agreements lack the clarity that a full Managed Services Agreement will contain. The Managed Service Agreement will usually provide detailed clarity about not just the elements covered, but also the responsibilities of both parties and detailed clarity on the SLA (Service Level Agreement) expected.

What about Co-Managed Services?

Co-Managed IT Services have become popular over the last few years as a way to describe a shared service delivered between in house teams and the MSP. A Co-Managed service will outline the levels of cover provided in detail, for example, the inhouse team may deliver Line 1 and field support to their HQ, whilst the MSP will pick up line 2 and line 3 for the HQ and full cover for all the customers' branch offices.
True Co-Managed agreements allow the inhouse teams to have the option to share the MSPs resources, for example, secure access to a shared ticketing platform and elements of the RMM toolkits. This allows both parties to deliver one joined-up service that is governed by one setup of reportable SLA’s and service management to drive continuous improvement.

Why choose Managed Services?

Managed Services have been the preferred route for many years in the enterprise service contract space. They provide more predictable billing, consistency of service, a better understanding of ownership responsibilities and can reduce the overall service costs.

Read more about our new Managed Service here, and our launch story here. Or give our Director of Managed Services, David Bradbury, a call to chat through in more detail. Call David on 0191 4770365.

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