IT Managed Services – A Beginners Guide to…

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So what is this MSP thing?

IT managed services are a hot topic for IT support providers, although they have been around for some years they’re still very much misunderstood. Each IT support provider has their own opinion upon the service that is going to be delivered. Often it is the IT support providers that misrepresent the solution, they have noticed the trend of the ‘IT managed services’ and misunderstood the value it can deliver.

 So what makes true IT managed services?

In my opinion you need to ensure your Managed Service covers as a minimum the following:

  • Ongoing analytics and auditing
  • Realtime monitoring
  • Trend analysis
  • Automation and self remedy
  • Virtual IT Director (an interesting read here about the vCIO here)

Ongoing analytics and auditing

The initial audit is an ever evolving process, and IT meetings are integral to this. An MSP has to have regular quarterly meetings with your management team to ensure your IT strategy and business plan are working in harmony, so they can plan for your expansion plans or business goals. This can result in ensuring you have the most flexible and efficient IT provision and support.

Realtime Monitoring

Real time monitoring is an integral part to any IT managed service. In IT a nano second counts and IT Professionals need to endeavour not miss a single one. This monitoring needs to cover hardware, software, and performance metrics to always ensure you are operating at peak capacity.

Trend analysis

Trend analysis dovetails perfectly into monitoring. The ability to identify reoccurring issues and put processes in place to remove a trending issue is integral to your systems. An expert team is key to this process and need to be trained to identify these persistent issues. They need to be committed to constantly learning new ways of improving performance and maximising uptime.

Automation and self remedy

Automation and self remedy fall perfectly in-place with monitoring and trend analysis. If an IT professional is able to identify a key failure they can put automation in place to remove this failing. This will increase uptime by automating the fix, and removing the reliance on user interaction.

Virtual IT Director

With an IT managed service you are not just acquiring an IT Support function you should be acquiring an IT Manager and IT Director, giving you tangible benefits from experts in IT and business. In order for IT to be an effective business tool, it needs to be implemented from a business understanding with IT expertise. Justifying an IT cost to deliver a true business benefit should be how your company’s IT evolves.

Outsourced or inhouse?

Often an IT managed service is seen to be outsourcing your IT Support function, I have seen the greatest business benefit in a hybrid model. Businesses benefitting dramatically and positively from having an effective out sourced support desk, releasing their existing support staff for vital internal project work.

IT Managers and support staff should embraced this hybrid model, it gives them a knowledgeable and efficient resources to fall back on. Often on-site IT Managers and support engage more directly with MSP teams, asking for advice, second opinions and trusted expertise for support and project work. A fresh perspective to the challenges they face day to day can really improve the overall end user experience.

What does it mean for your business? 

Your IT will be run more effectively and projects will be implemented quicker as your IT becomes more dynamic and business focused.

I believe what makes an ‘IT managed service provider’ is not the expected ability to support your infrastructure. It is their commitment to evolving the end user experience and gaining true ROI from your IT. Their business model is not to provide just support, but to remove the need for it. Given how much a business now depends on the digital world, their dedication should be to evolve the IT experience for all users. Always questioning the status quo and trying to offer ground breaking solutions, utilising current and future technologies. They are always dynamic and will not allow their services to stagnate. Forward thinking and commitment is core to their managed service and allows them to ever evolve your companies IT and Service. This in my opinion is what an ‘IT managed service’ should be and its definition should be the evolving nature of your requirements.

For another interesting point of view on the subject

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