Beyond the Buzzword: What is a Managed Service?
Managed service is a buzzword. There’s a good chance that unless you have worked with a managed service provider (MSP) in the past or have experience in the IT world that you’ve never actually heard that phrase – and that’s okay.
Managed services cover a wide variety of modern IT services, most of which replace or complement more traditional IT solutions. Over the last 15 years or so, software that can be sold as a service has been gradually replacing older hardware. One great example of this is Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft Office has been ubiquitous in the business world for ages and is one of the most widely used pieces of software ever created, but Office 365 allows Microsoft to breathe new life into their old product by selling it as a service. Adoption rates for Office 365 are incredible, hitting 24.9 million American subscribers in early 2017.
This process is not a unique one, and it has many benefits. In the case of software as a service (SaaS) specifically, the vendor has the ability to correct errors, release periodic updates, and the customer receives stability and ongoing customer service that would be difficult to achieve with a traditional software purchase.
Managed services fall under a massive umbrella that covers a wide variety of services – and it’s only a growing market. Some researchers say that worldwide IT services spending will reach $966 billion in 2017. That’s a staggering figure, even for a worldwide industry.
Managed services are rapidly replacing traditional IT solutions, and consumers are seeing savings. As of 2016, 72% of businesses outsourced IT, and 31% planned on scaling up their IT outsourcing. Much like Microsoft’s example of software as a service, many other older technological mainstays are being phased out. Many small businesses are abandoning their old data storage systems for cloud storage. Others are ditching their old server to take advantage of virtualization options, often referred to as infrastructure as a service (IaaS). One of the latest trends is the adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as a replacement for (and improvement upon) traditional phone lines.
As managed services replace IT as we know it, it’s important to be aware of what kinds of options your business has. Businesses are seeing a wide variety of benefits, some of which may apply to your company as well.
Managed Services Grow with You
When traditional technology still reigned supreme, businesses often ran into trouble when they needed to scale their capabilities up or down, especially when such scaling needed to happen on a regular basis (as in the case of a seasonal business, for example).
This brings us to another one of those buzzwords: scalability. For our purposes, scalability is the ability of a service to increase or decrease its capacity in accordance with your business’s needs. In slightly more academic terms, there are four specific kinds of scalability that your business should be concerned with:
- Administrative scalability: the ability to add new users to the network with minimal effort
- Functional scalability: the ability to easily add additional functions to the network
- Geographic scalability: the ability to spread the network over a wider physical area without a notable performance penalty
- Load scalability: the ability of a network or system to handle larger or smaller than average workloads or inputs
Pretty dry, right? The good news is that at GB Tech, we generally try to avoid that kind of jargon altogether. A good managed service should meet all four of those definitions and grow to meet your requirements alongside your business – or in some cases scale down due to unforeseen circumstances.
Compared to managed services, older technologies are left wanting in terms of scalability. Remember the days when you had to buy a new filing cabinet every few months? With solutions like cloud services that can scale to meet your needs you’ll never have to worry about such annoyances again – and you won’t pour money into hardware that might soon be obsolete.
How You’ll Benefit from Managed Services
Your business will benefit from managed services in almost countless ways, but there are certainly a few highlights that will be evident at surface level and immediately affect the quality of your daily workflows.
1. You’ll Save Money on Labor
Assembling an in-house IT staff is expensive, especially if your business is still in the early stages of its lifecycle. To make matters worse, an SMB’s day-to-day IT needs are often modest, meaning that a full-time IT staffer will often be left without work to do, resulting in a waste of money on your part and a waste of talent on your employee’s part. By outsourcing IT, you’ll be spending less than you would on a full employee’s salary, and you can scale your service to your needs.
2. Managed Service Providers Are in the Trenches Every Day
The legendary German officer Helmuth von Moltke is remembered for his most famous quote: “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
Moltke’s words ring true in the face of nearly any crisis, including an unexpected IT disaster. No matter how much you prepare, you’re very likely to come across a problem that you can’t solve just by following procedure. No matter how well-trained and knowledgeable your in-house IT professional might be, they still spend most of the time within the bubble of your company. Conversely, the IT experts at a managed service provider like GB Tech are out in the field every day, and in our company’s 30 years of experience we’ve seen nearly everything there is to see.
3. You Can Supplement Your Current IT Investments
Working with a managed service provider doesn’t have to spell doom for the IT professionals you already have working in your company. Some companies see better results from outsourcing IT when they complement the outside service with internal investments; the savings actually come from other operational areas. Analysis shows that internal IT personnel are actually key to capturing the value of IT outsourcing – and the two forces working in tandem can provide massive value for your business.
It’s universally accepted that businesses need to invest in IT to survive in an increasingly digital world. As millennials step in for retiring baby boomers in the workforce, technology in the workplace is becoming less of a burden and more of a necessity. Opening up your business to a true technological transformation may not be easy – it actually requires a fearless, forward thinking attitude – but it will be fruitful. Managed services can make your business safer, more efficient, and more appealing to talented new employees.
At GB Tech we offer services in the form of the GB Tech Managed Services Package, a comprehensive set of solutions that we tailor to fit each one of our clients’ needs. We don’t believe in nickel and diming you for things you don’t need, nor do we cut corners to get you the cheapest results. We say that our offerings are mission critical, and we mean it – every project, no matter how large or small, will be held to the same high standards. You want to go to the moon, and we want to get you there.
All it takes to get started is a phone call or a message.