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The Insider’s Guide to a Managed Service Provider

By: Barry Utesch

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Managed service is a term that gets mentioned a lot in the tech industry. I want to discuss what it is, some of the advantages and disadvantages and why you might be interested in considering it. 

My definition of managed services is: When a business outsources its Information Technology (or a portion thereof) for a set monthly price. This is probably most commonly seen in an organization that does not need a whole IT person. When a business finds that they need 10-20 hours per week of IT support, then this is the right time to look at a managed service offering. This does not mean that the solution will not work for an entire IT department. Many large publicly traded businesses outsource their Information Technology to firms like IBM and HP. They find it to be more cost-effective to outsource their IT even when it is dozens of people. 

Hear what our clients have to say about TCS’s Flat Fee IT program.

Possible Disadvantages of Managed Services:
  • You will not have the same level of control with an outsourced firm that you will with W2 employees.
  • Your primary application(s) will still require a “resident expert,” so Managed Service cannot do 100% of what you need.
  • If you hire an employee, they will be your resident expert on all things technical, and you can probably just hand everything to them. Managed service providers are more of an IT department where you need to submit a ticket.
  • Account Managers can sit at the conference table and discuss strategy or needs for the future. Some Managed Services firms have this capability – you might want to ask questions around this because you are going to need it. * See diagram below
  • Expect some turnover within the Managed Services firm and the necessary learning curve. 
Some Advantages of Managed Services:
  • No PTO or training costs for IT.
  • Multiple people are familiar with your account, not just one.
  • Understanding and best practices brought from experience at other clients. Internal IT may not even know the right questions to ask.
  • You want IT to be working towards IT goals, not being an independent department.
  • Quality of “tools” used to manage your network superior to what would usually be purchased.
  • Ability to put extra hours on a problem due to the size of Managed Services providers work force.
  • Internal IT benefits by keeping everything the same because that means less work. 

TCS has been a Managed Service provider for almost 15 years, long before there was the term ‘Managed Service.'  For some of our clients, it is an all you can eat buffet for one monthly price, and for others, it is a particular set of services for a fixed monthly price. Call us today at 336.804.8449 or fill out a form here if you would like to be contacted by one of our representatives to learn more about TCS’s Managed IT Services.