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Do I Need A Managed Service Provider?

25 May 2021      
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Managed service provider

Your server room is clogged up, you’ve got support tickets coming out of your ears, and you need help. If you’re at the point where you’re asking “Do I need a managed service provider?” then the answer is likely yes.

Now we’ve established that it’s time for the easy part: justification to the business and finding the right managed service provider for you.

Okay, we’re pulling your leg. But, that’s why we’ve put together this guide.

In this post, we walk through the following:

  1. Why you need a managed service provider
  2. What is included in managed IT services?
  3. What does a managed service provider do?
  4. What are the benefits of managed IT services?
  5. How much do managed service providers charge?

Why you need a managed service provider

Let’s assume you know why you need a managed service provider. They prove a better alternative than you and your team trying to manage every aspect of your IT stack when you don’t have enough resources to do so.

Your business may have grown from tens of people to hundreds, or hundreds to thousands. While new recruits were being onboarded and your team was assigning new devices and creating accounts for different software, you haven’t had time to stop, breathe, and reassess everything you’re managing.

Or maybe you have but you don’t have the internal resource to support new additions to your IT stack. If you have a new department with specialist equipment, rather than spending six months training how to manage it, you need it to be secure and reliable from day one.

Enter the managed service provider.

But you knew that already.

So, let’s work on justification to the rest of your business.

Business case for a managed service provider

If you need help, it’s obvious to you. But to the rest of the business, the part that pays the invoices, you’re in charge of IT and should be able to manage everything.

Right?

No, we didn’t think so.

Part of the modern IT manager’s role is to manage the managed service provider.

To get to this stage, you need to audit all the hardware, software, and services in your remit. 

This sounds daunting at first but you can make a simple spreadsheet and split into three sections: hardware, software, services.

Add another column for time, skills, and resources.

Then complete the sections and you’ll have the time, people dedicated to each section, and what skills you/they need.

Your spreadsheet will look something like this:

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Managed service provider audit

In this example, you’ve got 46 hours assigned across a whole team. If the resource dedicated to all these areas was the same person, you’ve got 46 hours assigned to a 40 hour working week.

This is bearable based on fluctuation of working weeks. For example, you might not spend any time on IP phones and PBX one week. So you get those six hours back. Or those six hours could be claimed as overtime.

When you create your justification spreadsheet, we bet it will look a little different!

To start your own justification spreadsheet, make a copy of this one. Don’t forget to move out the cells with totals as you add more rows. You’ve probably got more on your plate than our example.

Once you have figures, it’s a lot easier to identify gaps and present information. When justification is made, it’s time to work out what’s included and what you need from a managed IT service.

What is included in managed IT services? 

The Nasstar managed IT services package ranges from as much or as little support as you need.

Whether you need 24/7 monitoring and management or reactive support when the unexpected happens, managed IT is scalable to suit your needs.

Long gone are the days where you had to choose option A or option B. We rely on you to tell us what you need from your managed service provider and create a service to suit.

Typical services we look after include:

  • Ad-hoc IT support
  • 24/7 IT support
  • Network infrastructure management
  • Network infrastructure monitoring
  • Cyber threat prevention
  • Cloud services management
  • Collaboration administration
  • Planned maintenance and upgrades
  • Cloud hosting
  • Storage and backups
  • Anything else you might need to outsource from your weekly routine

So now we know what is included in managed IT services, let’s cover what a managed service provider actually does.

What does a managed service provider do?

A managed service provider will take over the day-to-day running of the services you need them to.

Be it simple checklist items that keep the cogs turning or large projects outside of your original scope, a managed service provider takes care of everything so you and your team can spend time where you’re most valuable.

For example, moves, adds, and changes (MACs) are often the most common query incoming to IT. With the sheer volume of requests, it’s hard to park them even if you mark them as low priority.

Just because they are low priority compared to your next desktop refresh (to you), that doesn’t mean the requestor can’t function without what they’ve asked for.

Another example is the new start onboarding process. Setting up of new accounts is time-consuming and can be taken care of by pooled resources by a managed service provider.

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new hire checklist

Instead of routine changes that sap your time, you could be spending time driving change and productivity in the business. We will work with you to create a new hire checklist then take over the setup every time someone new joins.

British Cycling, for instance, uses Nasstar to provide IT support and monthly reporting to work in harmony with their internal IT team’s fluctuating requirements. 

This includes unlimited first and second line incident support to end-users allowing internal IT to focus less on the day-to-day tasks and place emphasis on strategic projects that would enhance the delivery of services to their clients.

Read the full British Cycling case study here.

Or it might be the complete opposite. Perhaps your team is highly skilled and efficient in addressing MACs. 

If you’re lucky enough to have enough resources to whizz through MACs, you might appoint a managed service provider to run your larger projects.

When new technology is introduced, it’s often more efficient and cost-effective to outsource to a team with experience implementing it.

What should you keep in-house?

You don’t have to outsource everything to a managed service provider.

In fact, we recommend the opposite.

Here are a few things you should keep in-house to ensure efficiency:

  • On-site support: in-office support is best suited by the local IT manager
  • Custom-built software: if you develop proprietary software, keep this in-house until you’ve comprehensively trained your managed service provider

Finbarr Goode Begley, Senior Research Analyst at Cavell Group, says:

“With the advent of cloud, many services can be successfully outsourced. Cloud services are getting smarter and better at configuring themselves to new environments.

But, that doesn’t mean that all IT resources should be outsourced. It is a good idea for any company running custom operations or large networks to maintain an in-house team that understands and supports those systems.”

Finbarr continues to say “Ideally you would outsource collaboration, calling, network management, and device management. Depending on the size of the company, it’s a good idea to keep some level of security, IT, and network expertise - or you will find switching providers very hard.”

What are the benefits of managed IT services?

The major benefit of managed IT services is when you find the sweet spot.

We’re talking about the crossover point between being overloaded with tasks and projects and firing on all cylinders.

When you reach this nirvana, expect to benefit from:

  • Reduction in capital outlay and a predictable monthly bill
  • Futureproof services
  • Automatic upgrades
  • Resilient infrastructure
  • Centralisation of IT management
  • Increased service levels
  • High-level and low-level reporting
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Pooled expertise
  • Disaster recovery

But most importantly, peace of mind. And this is what most managed service providers forget. 

The most important benefit of appointing a managed service provider is that you can continue with your day-to-day tasks without worrying if your firmware is up to date or whether your support tickets have been escalated to the right person.

That’s why our customers like Cardiff University and Center Parcs trust us. We know what they really need and don’t apply our sole focus on the technology.

You might be a growing organisation that simply needs to offload menial tasks. You could be an organisation that needs to outsource work so you can grow.

Whatever your circumstance, we’re confident you’ll benefit from all of the above. And we’re confident we can create the right package for you.

How much do managed service providers charge?

Packages differ both from vendor to vendor and on a per customer basis.

Some customers prefer to take remote IT support only. In this instance, the service costs less on a monthly basis. But that’s because you’re opting for reactive support rather than continuous management.

Some customers bring us in to project manage their next big project. We’ll work with you to plan your migration, refresh, or implementation. 

The next step then is to ensure the ongoing maintenance is looked after - so you’re not left in the lurch when it’s done.

Under this same banner is user adoption, admin training, and any remedial work. As you get to grips with your new service, we can either handover or continue managing the service.

How much does remote IT support cost?

If it’s remote IT support you’re after, rather than a fully managed service, we can help out here too.

Typically, remote IT support is packaged by number of users. Dependencies also include bespoke software and hardware requirements, timing of support, and agreeing a service level agreement.

Like most as-a-Service products, we understand the importance of only consuming the right support for your business. 

So, instead of picking from an off-the-shelf model, let’s work together to find out what we both need.

To start tailoring your own package, fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch.