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25 Tips and Tricks, Blog

Tips and Tricks 14: Services vs Managed Services: Help?!

by Graycon I.T.

August 7, 2014

To commemorate our 25th Anniversary, Graycon will be running a series of 25 ''Tips and Tricks' for successful IT.

Services vs Managed Services: Help?!

Written by: Jeremy Leonhardt, Director, Solutions and Services

The majority of us use computers every day whether it be for work or play. While most of the time those systems hum along without problems, there inevitably comes a time when you encounter issues preventing you from completing what you were doing. At that point you are either able to quickly resolve the issue yourself or you’re forced to contact someone for help. You likely already have a phone number for your IT Guy/Gal but what do you do if their “Google-fu” is unable to solve your problem?

Hopefully your IT Guy/Gal is part of a team that your Service Provider delivers to keep your IT systems running smoothly. If so they will have a team of support professionals at their disposal to figure out what the problem is and get you back up and going quickly. If not there are still a few support options available to you including asking your nephew/niece, posting a Facebook request or talking to the fellow at Geek Squad. While those avenues will work from time to time it’s likely a good time to consider finding a (different?) Service Provider to help out with those difficult situations or to consider taking on a larger responsibility in keeping your IT systems running smoothly.

Most IT Service Providers have a number of solutions designed to help out in your time of need and are designed to help out small, medium and large businesses. The most common solutions available are called Managed Services with the alternative being a non-managed service which may take on a variety of names including ad hoc support, staff augmentation, reactive/responsive, on call, best efforts, etc.

What are Managed Services?

Managed Services specific to IT can be as broad as outsourcing all of the responsibilities for performing daily management, maintenance and support of your IT systems or could be assuming responsibilities for a smaller subset of your IT systems such as help desk, monitoring, backups, or security amongst many others.

Managed vs unmanaged service:

A Managed Service assigns your provider responsibility for all or part of IT execution; accountability for processes, tools and overall delivery; ensures knowledge is documented and transferable; and transfers risk of transition and operations. Additional benefits include providing committed deliverables and timelines; and establishing a fee structure tied to volume and service level.

An unmanaged service provides you with resources with relevant skills with limited commitment; and pricing tied to effort and availability. Responsibilities for processes, tools and overall delivery including additional contracting needs remain with you; knowledge exists within individuals and all the risks also remain with you.

Are you seeking an outcome or an input? Managed Services are designed to provide you value based on a defined service, specific outputs and planning whereas unmanaged services need to be directed, managed and ultimately there is no commitment that the activity performed will achieve the desired outcome

Next time you contact your IT support team consider what you are getting – are they providing you information or is it the other way around?