1. Why do organizations bring in Managed Service Providers?
There are several reasons organizations use a Managed Service Provider (MSP). Usually, I frame the MSP value as three T’s: time, talent and trouble.
When it comes to time, an MSP can hasten the time to value and save the client’s staff a lot of time spent in the execution phase of Digital Transformation.
What about talent? Clients hire sharp, sophisticated IT team members who have the capabilities and experience to perform their important core, day-to-day responsibilities. However, for most companies, it would be a waste of money to hire a full-time expert in a highly specialized area—that would mean risking under-utilizing the resource after the completion of the Digital Transformation initiative.
And alleviating trouble is key. Reduced risk is chief among the reasons for selecting a service provider. An MSP can provide vendor (e.g., installer, trainer, manufacturer, etc.) management to eliminate the risk of ‘failure to perform’, and project management to ensure that expected project deliverables stay on-time, within budget and at the quality expected.
Primarily, clients are seeking to hire an organization or individual who has expertise their organization doesn’t possess already.
Nearly every week, I am asked to share best practices for clients, in order to avoid falling out-of-compliance with federal regulations.
We all hire service providers to do something for us, hoping that the provider has the capabilities we don’t have.
2. Have new security threats changed the way organizations manage their in-house IT?
Absolutely, new security threats have changed how all of us manage IT.
Specifically, clients are sharing that they used to harden the network and lock down end-user devices—along with access to services and information—in a way that limits their ability to serve their own customer needs. It’s become necessary to limit or eliminate that behavior of locking down access to services and information proves to be damaging to the business relationship with clients. For example, as clients request or demand they be able to do business online or with one of the organization’s associates—whether via mobile app, company website or social media.
Now that edge devices are the ‘new network perimeter’, that significantly broadens the threat, as the attack surface grows. CIOs and CISOs are sharing that a chief concern is that traditional IT Security Protections (e.g., lock-down, training, testing and simulation) sometimes fail to secure their endpoints. And, with threats such as ransomware and phishing scams, everyone feels as if they’re being attacked every day and they don’t know what to do about it.
Organizations can engage an MSP or Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) to extend their IT Security capabilities. Most organizations don’t have the time to monitor and manage their systems and are at a loss of how to ensure protection at all levels of their systems and data, and to ensure detection of threats within their network.
3. How has the movement to the cloud changed the mentality around using managed services?
Movement to Cloud has pushed the mentality around Managed Services. On the most basic level, organizations are concerned and confused about where to begin their journey to the Cloud. Others attempted to move workloads, on their own, to the Cloud. Businesses that tried working independently found that for some workloads, performance suffered or service level agreements (SLAs) weren’t met by their provider.
That’s why more organizations are seeing the benefits of offloading the management and maintenance of hardware, software and services they need. But, they didn’t really know what to do.
However, with guidance and the support of a Managed Cloud Services Provider, they believe—for select workloads, for which Cloud computing is appropriate—they are convinced they can gain benefits (e.g., fixed costs, predictable performance, enhanced capabilities and a quicker time to value) that they were promised. They further understand that using an MSP, in tandem with Cloud, they can more effectively select and collaboratively implement the right solution to better serve their clients’ needs while decreasing their time to market.
4. Why is having a Managed Service Provider so imperative to Digital Transformation initiatives?
Digital Transformation really includes so much more than what an organization must change technologically. It encompasses everything that an organization must change (i.e., technology, people and processes) to remain viable, relevant and trustworthy.
Having an MSP working in tandem with or independently of an internal IT Organization, empowers Organizational Executive Leadership and Line of Business (LOB) leadership to achieve their desired business outcomes.
Because MSPs bring an objective and fresh perspective to help everyone on the team effectively examine and dissect the organization’s Critical Success Factors (CSFs). And discover how to gain the desired outcomes to support those CSFs with an IT solution.
5. What is the single greatest benefit of having a Managed Service Provider?
Having an MSP can help an IT team get out of their own way. All while speeding up time to value delivered by fully-successful and complete desired business outcomes.
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About the author
Scott Jeffery manages MicroAge’s Business Development Representative team and is a leader in organizational technical training and instructional design. He has been at MicroAge for more than five years and was recently recognized as Associate of the Quarter.
Read his recent blog on spear phishing, here.