The New Managed Services: Flexibility, Acountability, and Control
In this brief, Stratecast revisits our definition of managed services, updating it for today’s more complex business and technology environment. In doing so, we recommend ways for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to meet the current and future needs of enterprise clients.
Back in 2008, as service delivery expanded beyond the equipment-centric “break-fix” model, Stratecast offered a definition for “the new managed services”—one that focused on collaboration between provider and customer.2 In recent years, we have seen another shift in the way enterprises purchase technology services, necessitating that we revisit our definition.
As business technology solutions grow in number, complexity, and strategic importance, resource-strapped IT departments are increasingly turning to outside experts to help them manage those technologies and the business processes they support. According to Frost & Sullivan research, nearly half of U.S. businesses have invested in some sort of managed communications or technology services, with another third planning to add or expand such services in the next two years.3
But what exactly do those managed services look like? It turns out that there is little consensus as to what comprises a “managed service.” Some providers appear to use the term to denote a premium version of their standard service, one that involves a higher level of customer support. Other providers use the term to denote the inclusion of management tools or a self-service management portal that is provided to customers. In a few cases, the word “managed” appears to be gratuitously appended to a service name to make it fancier (and presumably to justify a higher price point)—like calling a roadside diner a “café.”
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