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The Differences Between Outsourcing and Managed Services Providers

As your company grows, your IT Department may end up stretched too thin, or unable to keep up with the everchanging threats of hackers and intrusion. From blind spots to infrastructure failure and application monitoring, these disruptions can significantly impact your ability to run your business.

These vulnerabilities may have convinced you that you need to find a better way to run your department or even seek outside assistance for operations. However, not all outside IT companies are created equally, and when you’re outsourcing your technology operations, it’s easy to find independent IT companies that specialize in outsourced technology solutions.

Outsourcing By Another Name

There’s another option for businesses whose IT Department is overextended, or for smaller businesses that can’t afford a dedicated IT department full of specialists for different aspects of technology. No matter the size and scope of your company, you could benefit more from businesses that offer “Everything as a Service” (XaaS) for technology.

It’s easy to assume that managed services companies are simply different terms for “outsourcing,” and while this type of company and outsourced tech providers share similarities, there’s quite a bit of difference. Outsourcing has had a (somewhat deserved) poor reputation as a cheap source of tech support from remote workers that may be located halfway across the globe.

Managed services providers, on the other hand, are more than just outsourcing by a sweeter name. While it’s true that these are external service providers, the scope of work from managed services providers is much different from simple outsourcing.

Comparing Managed Services to Outsourcing

Managed IT Services

Outsourcing firms often offer specific types of services or narrowly defined aspects of a multi-phase project. For example, some companies may choose to outsource their helpdesk operations or to outsource a certain phase of a software development project. Other functions of outsourcing can include simple tasks like data entry or preparing files for conversion to a new operating system. When you outsource, often you’re selecting a firm to fill a discrete need.

Managed services providers offer a more comprehensive approach to technology services, and typically offer a range of services that can include a one-top-shop for a complicated project, or different kinds of tech services that can help take some of the stress off an overextended internal IT department, like 24-hour troubleshooting services, or updating infrastructure. A good managed services company will employ a large team of skilled IT professionals with specialties in different areas, allowing clients to pick and choose from a wide range of options for IT applications.

The Managed Services Experience

Let’s take a closer look at an example of a managed services provider in action. For example, let’s say that your sales management software is ready to go live, but still needs a few additional features to allow teams in the field to more effectively use it.

In this situation, the managed services team can provide an assessment of the program to determine what needs to be done to allow your team to effectively use an expensive new program, from additional training to turning on certain features or aligning the program’s features to how you actually operate your business. The service provider can also assess your hardware and performance-compromising issues. If there isn’t an upgrade to your sales software on the market, a managed services provider can even write one for you, customized for your needs without affecting the operation of your business.

Foresight and Vision

It’s not just the comprehensive service and specialized talent that makes managed services companies so different from traditional outsourcing firms. It’s also the difference between a vendor, providing the exact service you specify and nothing more, and a visionary partner, one with the expertise to offer actionable insight into how you can run your business more efficiently.

Managed services providers work with you to find changes that can streamline your service, helping you grow your business, and propose solutions that you may not have thought of. For example, they may find a place that you can use AI services to reduce repetitive busy work and free up your team for enhanced client services, or automate much of your marketing, allowing your sales team to have more time to source new leads.

How Can I Find the Right Managed Services Provider?

Understanding what you need from your managed services provider can help you find the right fit for your company. Plus, some less reputable outsourcing companies may brand themselves as managed services providers, but not offer a truly holistic technology service.

Ask for referrals from others in your industry for a great managed services company, or feel free to ask for referrals and testimonials from the company itself. If a managed services company has successful partnerships with other businesses like yours, it indicates that they have an understanding of the unique needs and challenges of your industry, and they’re likely familiar with industry-specific software.

Managed IT service providers are a partner, not just order-takers for a certain need. They should have multiple specialists on their team with a variety of skillsets, plus offer both on-site and near-site support models. As you grow, your managed service needs are likely to grow, too, so look for a company that’s both flexible and scalable.

Let’s Get Started!

The team at NetCov has the expertise and flexibility to deliver solutions for all your IT needs, including ones that you haven’t thought of yet. We offer competitive pricing and custom quotes to meet your specific needs, plus insight into how we can help you become more efficient and productive. Give us a call today or visit us online to learn more!

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