The Managed services have become one of the keywords of IT, enough to be relied upon by experts, analysts, and trade as one of the key solutions to solve the problems facing businesses from an infrastructural point of view (and beyond).
But why is everyone talking about it today? What are the mistakes not to make? What are these managed services in practice? Let’s see it together.
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Where Does The Demand For Managed Services Come From?
To answer all these questions and truly understand the importance of managed services, it is necessary to make a brief introduction: ICT technology has now become fundamental for the success of companies’ businesses; moreover, this addiction only increases year after year.
So much so that, as we saw during the pandemic, even with the offices closed and the employees at home, most of the companies were able to continue to operate (almost as before).
Indeed, by now, most of the company’s strategic choices (investments, projects, new products) are made based on what ICT technologies suggest, in particular after the analysis of the available data.
In short, trying to be successful in today’s business environment with an inadequate IT infrastructure is a bit like trying to win a formula one race with a small car: that is, simply impossible.
Having said that, for a common company, engaged in its difficult market competition, keeping up with technology and its pace of innovation, which has further accelerated in recent years, is a difficult undertaking.
For example, especially for the industrial world, the IoT is having a huge impact in terms of the optimization of industrial plants. This improvement, however, first of all, requires the installation of hardware and software applications that must be managed, monitored, and supported, as well as a huge amount of data (in continuous and tendential growth) that must be stored and analyzed.
Can a company on its own, even if it has an internal IT team, respond to an effort of this kind? No, very often companies prefer to assume conservative attitudes, keeping their IT resources focused on managing basic IT functions, perhaps giving up more innovative IT projects.
But this type of choice is destined to quickly enter into conflict with the dynamics of the market, which in the long term must necessarily be faced with innovative solutions.
MSP: A definition
This seemingly unsolvable problem is solved by managed services and, in particular, by managed service providers (MSPs).
According to the definition of Gartner, a managed services provider (MSP) provides services, such as network, application, infrastructure, and security, through continuous and regular support, guaranteeing their active administration at the customer’s premises, in a data center (hosting ) owned by the MSP or in a third-party data center.
The MSP can provide their native services along with other service providers. There are Pure-play MSPs that focus on a single vendor or technology, while others offer different types of solutions.
In the past, the term MSP was traditionally applied to infrastructure-centric or device-centric types of services, but today the term has expanded to include any ongoing and regular management, maintenance, and support.
In any case, the MSP has the task of preventing any type of problem that may occur concerning the service under management, ensuring constant monitoring of the customer’s infrastructure or solution, as well as, of course, ensuring the necessary support and taking care of interventions.
The great advantage for the end customer is that they no longer have to worry about all the technical aspects relating to the management of the outsourced service, thus being able to use internal resources for other activities.
The remuneration of the MSP usually takes place on a fixed and monthly basis, thus protecting the end customer from budget variances due to sudden expenses.
The Benefits Of Managed Services
Broadly speaking, the adoption of managed services makes it possible to significantly reduce IT costs for companies.
But this is not the only advantage of using this formula: in particular, the scalability that managed services can enable represents another very powerful incentive.
Fast-growing companies can find themselves in difficulty from a technological point of view, since the physical infrastructures they are equipped with may suddenly be insufficient to support the advance of the business. But when the service is managed by an MSP, it is not a problem to negotiate higher hardware and software available that allows solving any scalability problem.
Another great benefit, which is often not adequately underlined in the case of managed services, concerns the burden of risk, which with this formula passes entirely to the responsibility of the MSP.
In essence, therefore, relying on a Managed Services Provider allows the company to concentrate its resources and keep the focus on the true core business without interruption. Furthermore, it must be considered that IT assets – in times of Digital Transformation – are subject to rapid obsolescence and continually require hardware and software updates. This activity, fundamental but also extremely expensive, falls entirely on the MSPs, which can guarantee the availability of the best technology.
Pay Attention To The Choice Of The MSP
These benefits can only be obtained provided that the contracts are written in an extremely clear manner, in particular by indicating without a shadow of a doubt the SLAs, or the Service Level Agreements that must be guaranteed by the MPS.
When things have been done correctly, the SLAs are defined and measured according to ITIL best practices that trace the guidelines of the KPIs, the Key Performance Indicators, the performance indicators through which to “measure” quality and efficiency. of the services provided.
Furthermore, of course, extreme attention must be paid to the choice of the same MSPs, now more and more numerous on the market but which, of course, are not all the same.
A useful piece of advice is to verify the existence of an organizational model of the SPOC type (Single Point of Contact): in this case, the analysis and sorting of customer requests and problems are carried out by operators who only perform this function. This allows better service to users thanks to the speed with which requests are dealt with, better accessibility to assistance through a single point of contact, and better internal communication between the various IT departments and external communication with the Customer’s structures.