Managed services: the benefits and key aspects
Today we take a closer look at managed services: what they are and what are their benefits and key aspects. Let’s dive in.
What are managed services?
Managed services are a type of business model where a company outsources the management and support of its IT infrastructure and applications to a third-party provider. The provider, known as a Managed Service Provider (MSP), assumes responsibility for maintaining and monitoring the client’s technology environment based on agreed-upon service-level agreements (SLAs), with up to 24/7 coverage.
The service is handled by IT Service Management experts, namely Service Delivery Managers, who are operating on ITIL-based processes enhanced by DevOps, Agile & Lean IT practices. Those should be tightly implemented into the IT Service Management Tool which serves as a dedicated customer portal.
What are the benefits of managed services?
Managed services offer a range of benefits for businesses across various industries.
The most significant ones include:
Expertise and specialisation
Managed service providers (MSPs) are often specialists in their field. They bring a high level of expertise and knowledge, allowing businesses to access skills that might be too expensive or difficult to hire in-house.
Managed services can often be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house team for certain tasks. Businesses can avoid costs associated with hiring, training, and retaining employees, as well as the expenses of infrastructure, hardware, and software.
Focus on core competencies
By outsourcing certain tasks to managed service providers, businesses can concentrate on their core competencies and strategic goals. This can lead to increased productivity and better allocation of resources.
Managed services are flexible and can adapt to a business’s changing needs. Whether you’re experiencing growth or downsizing, MSPs can adjust their services to match your requirements.
24/7 Monitoring and support
Many managed services include continuous monitoring and support, ensuring that potential issues are detected and addressed promptly. This can minimise downtime and disruptions.
Managed service providers often have robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place, minimising downtime in the event of system failures or data breaches.
Access to the latest technology
MSPs stay updated with the latest technological advancements, allowing businesses to leverage cutting-edge tools and solutions without the hassle of constant research and implementation.
Security and compliance
Managed service providers often have expertise in cybersecurity and compliance requirements. They can help businesses maintain a strong security posture and adhere to industry regulations.
Managed services often come with predictable monthly costs, making it easier for businesses to budget and plan for their IT and operational expenses.
MSPs are experienced in implementing various solutions, which can speed up the deployment of new technologies or services compared to building and implementing them in-house.
Managed service providers can help businesses mitigate risks associated with technology, data management, and compliance by implementing best practices and industry standards.
Focus on innovation
With routine tasks outsourced to MSPs, in-house teams can focus on innovation and strategic initiatives that drive growth.
Improved performance and reliability
MSPs often provide high-performance infrastructure and systems, leading to improved reliability and better user experiences.
Access to a wide skill pool
Managed service providers often have a diverse team with expertise in various areas, ensuring that you have access to a wide skill pool without the need to hire multiple specialists.
MSPs can manage relationships with multiple vendors, streamlining procurement processes and ensuring smooth operations.
Continual service improvement
MSPs offer an ongoing enhancement of operational efficiency, service quality, and alignment with business objectives through systematic assessment and refinement.
While managed services offer numerous benefits, choosing the right provider and establishing clear communication and expectations are crucial for a successful partnership. The suitability of managed services depends on the specific needs and goals of each business.
Types of collaboration models
Governance and reporting
A crucial aspect of any managed service is governance, which involves the establishment of structured procedures and mechanisms to ensure effective oversight and management of outsourced services. A Service Delivery Manager oversees regular reporting on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), aiming to uphold service quality. A Continuous Service Improvement (CSI) approach is employed to iteratively enhance service processes and outcomes.
Jointly with the customer, quarterly and yearly service reviews are conducted to maintain alignment between the provided services and the customer’s business objectives and long-term strategy, fostering consistent optimisation and strategic coherence.
Proactive or reactive managed services?
Proactive and reactive managed services differ in their approach to handling IT operations and issues:
Proactive managed services
Proactive managed services involve anticipating and addressing potential IT issues before they become major problems. The focus is on preventing disruptions and optimising performance. This approach includes continuous monitoring, regular maintenance, and preemptive problem-solving. Proactive managed service providers (MSPs) work to identify vulnerabilities, bottlenecks, and other issues early on, aiming to maintain a stable and efficient IT environment. This approach is characterised by a proactive stance towards IT management, aiming to minimise downtime and deliver a seamless user experience.
Proactive managed services also utilise automation to continually monitor and maintain a client’s IT infrastructure, minimising manual intervention and enhancing efficiency. They focus on implementing technological improvements, ensuring that the client’s systems stay up-to-date, competitive, and optimised for both cost and performance. Additionally, proactive managed services prioritise security measures and reliability, employing real-time threat detection and 24/7 support to safeguard against disruptions and cyber threats, ultimately ensuring consistent, dependable operations.
Reactive managed services
Reactive managed services on the other hand, primarily involve responding to IT issues as they arise. When a problem occurs, the MSP takes action to resolve it. While this approach can address immediate concerns, it may lead to downtime and disruptions while waiting for issues to be identified and resolved. Reactive managed services are generally more responsive rather than anticipatory, which can result in a less stable and more unpredictable IT environment.
Proactive vs reactive
In summary, proactive managed services prioritise prevention and early detection of issues, while reactive managed services focus on addressing problems after they’ve occurred. Many businesses prefer a proactive approach because it helps maintain a stable and reliable IT infrastructure, reducing the impact of potential disruptions and improving overall operational efficiency. Proactivity also allows the business owners to focus on daily business as the service is maturing & improving efficiently.
Successfully managed service delivery requires a range of competencies to effectively manage, optimise, and secure the services provided. Here’s a breakdown of different roles and their scopes:
- ITSM Consultant– An ITSM (IT Service Management) consultant is responsible for designing, implementing, and improving ITSM frameworks and processes. They ensure that the services align with business objectives, and they provide expertise in areas such as ITIL practices, service catalogue management, and continual service improvement.
- Service Delivery Manager – The Service Delivery Manager oversees the overall service delivery, ensuring that SLAs are met, service quality is maintained, and customer satisfaction is achieved. They act as a bridge between the service provider and the customer, managing relationships and addressing any issues that arise.
- DevOps (Site Reliability and Platform Engineering) – DevOps professionals with expertise in Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and platform engineering focus on ensuring the reliability, availability, and performance of applications and infrastructure. They automate processes, monitor systems, and implement solutions to prevent and resolve incidents.
- DataOps – DataOps specialists manage data pipelines, ensuring efficient and reliable data processing, integration, and analysis. They collaborate with data engineers and data scientists to optimise data workflows and ensure data quality.
- SecOps – SecOps professionals specialise in cybersecurity and focus on securing managed services against threats and vulnerabilities. They implement security measures, monitor for security breaches, and respond to incidents to safeguard the integrity and confidentiality of data.
- FinOps – FinOps practitioners manage the financial aspects of managed services, optimising costs and resource allocation. They track expenses, identify cost-saving opportunities, and align spending with business priorities.
- Software Developers – Software developers create and maintain applications that power the managed services. They write code, design solutions, and collaborate with other teams to deliver features and functionalities that meet customer needs.
- Software Quality Assurance – Quality assurance professionals ensure that the software and services delivered meet high standards of performance, functionality, and reliability. They conduct testing, identify defects, and work with developers to resolve issues before deployment.
Each of these roles contributes specific expertise to ensure the smooth and successful delivery of managed services. Together, they form a collaborative and multidisciplinary team that addresses various aspects of service management, technical implementation, security, quality, and customer satisfaction.
Key aspects of Future Processing’s managed services
In the present day, managed services continue to be a critical and growing sector within the IT industry. They encompass a wide range of services and solutions designed to address the evolving technology needs of businesses.
- IT Infrastructure & Application Management – comprehensive management of IT cloud infrastructure & platforms, be it cloud-native or hybrid solutions. It ensures optimal performance, security, and scalability while handling routine maintenance tasks, upgrades, and troubleshooting.
- Network and Security Services – providing network management and security services to protect businesses from cyber threats. This includes implementing technical solutions like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security functions like SOC enhanced by SIEM and SOAR to safeguard against unauthorised access, data breaches, and other security risks while constantly improving the security baseline.
- Cloud Services – with the growing popularity of cloud computing, Future Processing offer services related to cloud infrastructure & application architecture, management, migration, and optimisation. Future Processing assists clients in selecting the right cloud platforms, managing cloud resources, and ensuring data backup and disaster recovery.
- Remote End-user Support – delivering service desk support and end-user assistance to ensure smooth and efficient operations. Future Processing provides technical support, addresses user issues, and resolves IT-related problems.
- Data Backup and Recovery – offering data backup and recovery services to protect critical business data. This includes regular backups, off-site storage, and the ability to recover data in case of data loss or system failures (Disaster Recovery). This is a part of a Business Continuity Plan.
- Vendor Management – acting as a single point of contact for coordinating with various technology vendors. Future Processing manages relationships, negotiates contracts, and oversees vendor performance to ensure the smooth integration of different technology components.
- Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance – employing advanced observability tools and technologies to track system performance & resiliency, identify potential issues, and proactively address them. This approach helps minimise downtime, enhance system reliability, and optimise IT resources.
- Operational Excellence – achievement of optimal efficiency, reliability, and service quality through the systematic implementation of ITIL’s best practices and processes, such as incident management, problem management, change management, and service level management, resulting in streamlined operations, minimised downtime, improved customer satisfaction, and continuous service improvement.
- Governance – encompasses the establishment of policies, procedures, and rules that guide the delivery and management of services. Governance ensures accountability, compliance, and adherence to best practices, helping to maintain quality, security, and efficiency in the provision of managed services. It also provides a framework for decision-making and risk management, contributing to the overall success and reliability of the services offered.
- IT Consulting and Strategic Planning – offering IT consulting services to assist clients with technology strategy, planning, and implementation. Future Processing helps businesses align their IT initiatives with their goals and provides insights on emerging technologies and industry best practices.
Future Processing’s Managed Services are characterised by their focus on providing comprehensive, proactive, and customised IT management and support to businesses of all sizes. The end goal is always to enhance operational efficiency, improve cybersecurity & resilience, reduce IT costs, and enable organisations to focus on their core competencies while leaving their technology needs in capable hands.
Are you keen to know more and take advantage of Future Processing’s offer? Do get in touch!