Managed services providers are becoming the preferred partner for companies without internal resources to support their business technology needs. MSPs are like IT teams on demand that provide third-party technical support based to suit particular needs and budgets. This sector is only expected to grow. The managed services provider industry was valued at $161.37 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $311.31 billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets.
MSPs are used as information technology-related support for companies who lack the in-house resources needed to maintain their systems. MSPs offer support to businesses in all verticals, from healthcare to retail to B2B, and provide services offerings of all shapes and sizes. Businesses look to bring in outside help if they don’t have the budget for a full-scale team or the consistent need for full-time help on their team.
MSPs function as an external IT department for companies who have a lack of internal support. Most MSPs will have IT professionals with multiple skillsets on hand to help foster successful relationships with clients and to ensure their technology needs are fully supported. Here are some functions you can expect from an MSP.
Project Management: A good MSP will not only know how to support your technology, but also how to drive a project to ensure success. This may involve resource identification and allocation along with providing processes and best practices and ensuring that projects stay on schedule and within budget. Many MSPs use remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions to keep companies on track.
Auditing: Many MSPs will audit your current IT systems to better understand your capabilities and gaps. This may be done onsite or through a discovery process and the purpose is to help them best implement and/or support a particular solution.
Integration with other critical systems: Part of your MSP’s support profile involves knowing how technology interacts with and impacts other critical systems. Your MSP should be able to consult and advise on best practices and impact of different support activities.
Strategic guidance: MSPs will go beyond task execution and can help you better understand how to strategize to reach your specific business goals.
Ensures compliance: Depending on your industry, you may have to meet certain compliance standards. Your MSP should be able to help with solution design or management in a way that ensures that you will remain compliant.
Process improvement: MSPs should be able to assess your current environment and provide process improvement ideas and automation capabilities.
Enable other successful business initiatives: Part of ongoing support from your MSP should involve helping to meet business objectives. They should understand those goals and support your advancement toward those initiatives by leveraging technology solutions to do so.
MSPs operate mainly on a third-party business model and tend to be most prevalent for small and medium-sized businesses. MSPs staff their teams with a variety of specialized skills so that they can attend to general or specialized IT needs, while providing consultative and support services on an ongoing basis. Here are the categories for MSPs.
According to CompTIA research, 63% of MSPs are structured as hybrid, with 37% falling under the pure play category in 2022.
MSPs maintain a relationship with other technology vendor companies. Vendors will provide service level agreements (SLAs) that help you adhere to certain performance standards. SLAs will outline your vendor’s obligations and metrics for what constitutes a violation of the agreement.
Often, service providers can be found through procurement departments or a vendor management system (VMS). MSPs and businesses agree on a service plan that suits their technology needs and the provider supplies ongoing support to fill the skills or hiring gap.
MSPs can be used to help you augment your services or be utilized as a comprehensive resource outside of your organization.
MSPs can be structured in many different ways. They may specialize in a particular subset of technology, such as security, or offer general support services. Here are the types of MSPs you might expect to encounter.
Sourcing your IT services to an external provider can be very beneficial for your business. MSPs can offer significant cost savings for businesses with skills gaps and limited IT staff, helping to ensure business continuity. Managed services are also scalable, allowing your relationship to grow or shrink alongside your business needs. MSPs can also help to make your IT services more productive.
Providers can also help you better anticipate your IT needs and stay ahead of problems before they get out of hand. Accessibility to IT expertise helps you to stay on the cutting edge without the need for internal staffing.
While MSPs can provide some real benefits, there are some hurdles to overcome.
MSPs may struggle in the following areas:
Managed services providers can operate under various pricing models and invoicing structures. Outsourcing your IT can range from subscription-based models based on usage, number of users or tiered coverage, to ad hoc pricing for dedicated projects.
Check out CompTIA’s MSP resources.