What is Managed IT Support?
What is Managed IT Support?
Managed IT Support may be a term you’ve heard about, and you’re wondering, “Why does my IT support need to be managed”? That’s a very good question. This is usually the first question we get when we talk to prospects. So what is it?
Managed IT Support or Managed IT Services is a service that allows you to offload all or part of your IT Support to a Managed Services Provider. Intuitive IT is a Managed Services Provider or MSP.
The service is designed around the notion that the more time and money you spend on your IT infrastructure, the less time and money you have for revenue-generating activities such as working on your business or providing customer support.
The takeaway is this: You don’t want to manage your IT. You want to manage your business. So let an MSP take care of your IT so you can focus on what you do best.
What is Ad-hoc IT support?
Some of those customers also ask, “Can we just use you ad-hoc?” or “Can we buy block hours?” but the problem is, managing your IT this way isn’t managing your IT properly.
Adhoc IT support is when you call for help when you need it. This means the only time an IT Company works on your systems is when you are paying them. This is “Reactive IT Support”. And when something is reactive, the problem has already occurred.
This does not prevent downtime or reduce how long your support calls take. Those issues will continue to occur, and those hours spent need to be compensated.
Block hours are an extension of ad-hoc support. When you buy block hours, you commit to purchasing a pre-determined number of hours. So if you buy 100 hours, you are committing to spending the money whether you use them or not.
And block hours don’t have any real value unless they are used in time increments that might be too small for your needs but too large for your budget.
Block hours can be used to proactively manage your IT, but if a problem takes longer than anticipated, you could be up for a bigger bill than you expected.
Why do businesses need Managed IT Support?
So why do businesses need managed IT Support? Well, there are a few reasons:
Unlimited IT Support Requests
When an MSP manages your IT, you can make an unlimited number of support calls for a fixed price. That’s right, unlimited. No matter how many tickets are lodged or long they take, you will not suffer from bill shock. There is also no need for someone in your business to authorise a ticket to be lodged. If someone has a problem, they call and get it fixed. There is no need for “sorry, can it wait for next month when we have some more budget”. The problem is raised and fixed so people can return to doing their job.
Patching and Monitoring of Computers and Servers
As part of your Managed Services agreement, all the servers and computers in your business will be monitored for issues. These are sent to the MSP for action in the form of alerts. This allows your MSP to potentially solve problems before they cause your staff any inconvenience. Again, this allows people to continue to perform their work instead of battling IT issues.
Guaranteed Response Times to requests
Any decent Managed Services agreement will come with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These guarantee response times from your IT provider. Depending on your chosen plan, it could be as low as 2 hours. Block hours or Ad-hoc support don’t provide these guarantees, and you’ll have your issue looked at when a technician becomes available. This is problematic if your business requires prompt attention to issues. See our SLAs here.
IT Management and Strategy
When your business is in partnership with an MSP, the MSP can be sure you are committed to them. This allows the MSP to think strategically about your business. They can begin by understanding the business goals and form short, medium and long-term plans to help your business achieve those goals. Think about ad-hoc support. The IT support provider is only contacted when something goes wrong, so they can’t step back and see the bigger picture. With IT becoming increasingly omnipresent, a strategic long-term relationship is a must for any serious business owner.
Are Managed IT Services right for your business?
Now managed services aren’t for all businesses. And there are a lot of IT providers out there that will do ad-hoc support. Look at the statements below and see if they explain your current situation.
- I’ve just started a business. You’ve got a few other things to sort out here, but it’s unlikely you have a server and fleet of computers to manage. Managed IT is something you should consider in the next six months
- My IT needs are minimal. You may have a small staff footprint, don’t use anything other than Outlook and Word, and don’t have a server. Paying $100 per user per month might be overkill. If you have regular check-ins with your IT provider to ensure the systems you have are patched, your Anti-virus is working, and security is the best it can be, then you can stick with ad-hoc.
How does Managed IT Support work?
So how does a Managed IT Support agreement work? What does it actually entail? Well, in simple terms, you sign an agreement with the MSP for a set number of users in your business. Depending on which plan suits your business best, you pay a cost per user per month. When you grow your headcount, an additional user is added to the invoice. If you contract, then your IT costs reduce with it.
Each month, you’ll receive a report from your MSP to outline the areas of concern and also provide recommendations on what the IT infrastructure needs to be more stable, secure, or changed to better align with your business goals.
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.