IT support services, also known as managed IT, is a third-partied service which provides infrastructure, software, and other support services to companies. You may also hear this kind of business referred to as an outsourced service, short for managed service provider. What it means is that the company that offers IT support is an independent entity. It may be an offshore or onshore company based in one country, or an actual location within the company’s own walls.
As IT support continues to grow, many IT support vendors have popped up. There are a lot of these out there. But not all of them are created equally. When looking for an IT managed service provider, some important considerations must be made. To start with, look for:
It may include or not include: Onsite or Distance Learning. Outsourcing IT has a lot to do with the way IT professionals learn. It may include hiring a classroom in order to get hands-on training. Onsite providers typically offer more information technology training courses. They also, of course, may include hiring a professional instructor who will teach students everything from management to maintenance.
Expertise and Service. Just like any other service provider, IT service providers also provide expertise. However, their expertise differs. For instance, there are IT service providers who can design and develop websites. On the other hand, there are those who specialize in the repair, installation, maintenance, and configuration.
Information Technology Leadership. Like other businesses, an IT managed service provider should also have a strong information technology leadership team. These are the individuals who handle the company’s strategy and vision. Aside from managing departments within an organization, these leaders play a key role in educating others about current IT trends and practices as well as in developing training courses as per industry requirements.
Business Value. IT managed service providers understand the value of an organization. While most IT managed providers work in-house, some offer managed services outside of an organization. For instance, there are information technology consulting firms that provide consulting services to small and medium-sized companies.
Cybersecurity Leadership. As mentioned above, the role of an IT managed service provider is to develop the strategy and tactics needed to secure networks and to protect the company from intrusions and attacks. While most third-party consultants offer this same service, IT managed consultants are different because they specialize more in internal network security. Moreover, an IT manager has direct access to the source code that resides on the company’s servers. In essence, he can solve cyber threats to the company’s critical information.
Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure. When it comes to IT support services, cloud infrastructure is quickly becoming the choice for companies that want to combine the advantages of in-house and external resources. There are two types of cloud infrastructures: public and private. Private cloud infrastructure is usually run within a self-service or self-managed environment provided by an outside provider, while public cloud infrastructure is housed within the same company as internal resources.
Management of Virtualization. VDI (virtualization) refers to the use of different types of software on the same server to allow users to access different types of virtualization tools. This is typically done through a service such as Hyper-v or Virtualization Server. An IT manager can provide advice on choosing the right VDI managed services to meet a company’s needs.
Successful Engagement. It may be tricky for an IT service provider to engage with a client when the concerns are sensitive and involves a contractual agreement. Therefore, it is important to establish a trusting relationship when it comes to the handling of classified corporate information. Achieving successful engagement requires a mutual understanding between the service provider and the client.
IT managed service providers have the option to adopt several IT management techniques to compete in the market. However, the key to achieving maximum profitability lies in effective utilization of IT resources and pricing models. There are three basic pricing models that service providers have to choose from: pay per click, pay per play, and pay per play models. For instance, pay per click models are commonly adopted by companies who have a limited budget. They can measure the success of their marketing strategy by measuring the number of clicks generated from their advertisements. Alternatively, pay per play enables the service provider to track the effectiveness of its marketing campaign by collecting data related to purchase transactions.
Different types of IT support are delivered by IT service providers. They can deploy different strategies to meet a client’s unique needs. When selecting an IT service provider, the best approach is to understand the nature of your business, identifying the IT needs that you need to be addressed. Once the IT provider has understood your unique IT requirements, they can then develop a tailored solution to best meet your business objectives.