What are Managed Projects? A Complete Guide for IT Solutions
Process

What are Managed Projects? A Complete Guide For Managed IT Solutions


Ajackus logo in circle

Siddhesh

May 06, 2024·17 mins read

Managed IT Solutions
Table of Contents


    Share on:

    For certain enterprises, establishing an IT department is customary, yet for small or medium-sized businesses, assembling a team of seasoned IT professionals in-house may not be feasible. Consequently, you might rely on an entry-level IT engineer who may not have the expertise to resolve every encountered issue.

    Alternatively, you might have considered managing your IT infrastructure independently despite lacking specialized knowledge. However, this endeavor diverts your attention from your core competencies, which involve effectively managing your business.

    Fortunately, many business leaders facing this predicament have found a solution: managed IT services. Through this blog, we aim to clarify whether managed IT solutions are suitable for addressing your business’s IT requirements and, if so, what they entail.

    Whether you’re unfamiliar with managed IT solutions or seeking answers to specific questions, we’ve consolidated essential information on this solution to empower you with a comprehensive understanding.

    What are Managed IT Solutions?

    Managed IT services involve delegating various IT tasks and responsibilities to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). These tasks encompass a wide array of IT functions, including but not limited to network monitoring, cybersecurity, data backup and recovery, software updates and patches, and help desk support.

    A distinguishing feature of managed IT solutions is their proactive nature. MSPs adopt a proactive approach to overseeing and upkeeping their clients’ IT infrastructure and systems, aiming to prevent issues before they arise. This proactive stance involves consistently monitoring, maintaining, and optimizing IT resources to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

    Managed IT solutions operate on a subscription-based model, where clients pay a subscription fee to access a suite of IT services and support. This model offers several advantages, including predictable costs, scalability, and access to a team of seasoned IT professionals without needing internal hiring.

    Managed projects allow businesses to offload the day-to-day management of their IT systems to experts, enabling them to concentrate on their core business objectives. This approach ensures that their IT infrastructure remains secure, dependable, and efficient.

    The Evolution of Managed Projects

    Let’s explore the progression of managed IT solutions over time:

    • Phase 1 (Break-fix model): In the early days of enterprise computing, managed IT solutions were primarily provided on a break/fix basis. Technicians would only intervene when computer systems malfunctioned. Typically, these technicians were those responsible for constructing or deploying the computer networks or systems.
    • Phase 2 (Dominance of large manufacturers): As time passed, systems assembly grew, with multinational corporations like IBM, Microsoft, and Apple dominating the landscape. This shift meant smaller IT dealers allocated less time to production and more to break-fix IT services. This reactive approach to maintenance was labor-intensive, time-consuming, and costly, limiting technicians’ ability to expand their businesses or acquire new clients.
    • Phase 3 (Rise in demand for managed services): Concurrently, the market saw a significant increase in the number of computers available each year, exacerbating the gap between specialists and the machines they could effectively service. In response to this demand, managed IT solutions emerged in the early 2000s, with third-party companies specializing in IT services delivered at scale.
    • Phase 4 (Efficiency becomes mainstream): A balanced approach to IT emerged, enabling routine preventive maintenance, software updates, system monitoring, and troubleshooting to prevent issues before they occur. The advent of automation and cloud computing facilitated remote management and issue resolution, leading to more efficient operations and resource optimization in the following years.
    • Phase 5 (Modernization and tooling of managed IT services): Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have made significant strides since the inception of managed IT services.

    Today, these specialists possess diverse IT skills and techniques to resolve issues swiftly. Tools like professional services automation (PSA) software assist MSPs in managing their operations, while other solutions enable the delivery of 24/7/365 managed IT solutions.

    These advancements ensure client data security, reduce client expenses, and enhance service quality.

    Factors Influencing Managed IT Services Costs

    Let’s go more into the pricing for managed projects.

    Device Quantity

    Take into account the number of servers when calculating pricing. Expanding your network’s server count increases infrastructure complexity, necessitating additional management, maintenance, and security support hours.

    Cost Range per Device

    The fee for each managed device varies based on location(s), quantity, and types of devices needed. Increased complexity typically correlates with higher costs, with an average of approximately $95 per device.

    Number of Sites

    More extensive management requirements result in higher costs. IT management expenses vary significantly between single-location small businesses and larger enterprises with multiple sites.

    A reputable managed IT solutions provider should consider your organization’s growth plans. Will you be expanding within the next year? Five years? Your provider should assist in planning and estimating future IT service costs.

    Cost Range per Site

    Providing an exact price range per site is challenging. However, determining the total number of devices requiring management by your MSP is crucial for estimating costs. Use this formula to gauge your organization’s needs: Device Count = Office Locations + Servers + Desktops & Laptops.

    Remote & On-Site Employees

    Remote work adds complexity to your network. When tallying device counts, include mobile devices or tablets connected to your network.

    The rise in remote work has popularized the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, increasing security risks and complicating matters further.

    Price Variations for Remote & On-Site Employees

    Cost disparities depend on your existing IT infrastructure. If your organization operates in the cloud, you’re at an advantage. Transitioning to the cloud to meet collaboration, security, and storage needs may entail additional setup expenses. Implementing enhanced network security measures for remote employees can increase managed IT solutions costs.

    Duration & Type of Service-Level Agreement (SLA)

    Your SLA defines the services your service provider provides and their associated costs. More managed devices typically lead to higher total costs.

    Additionally, the agreed-upon contract duration can impact long-term IT management expenses.

    Impact of Your SLA on Pricing

    Many service providers offer incentives for longer contracts, potentially saving your organization money. However, careful consideration and selection of a reputable Managed Services Provider (MSP) are crucial when committing to a multi-year contract.

    Data Backups & Storage

    Consider the amount of data your MSP needs to manage and back up. More data management requires additional equipment and support hours, increasing costs.

    Pricing for Backups & Data Storage

    Prices for data storage vary widely, ranging from $500 to $3,500 per month. Cheaper options may lack maintenance, proper backups, or advanced security features, so carefully evaluating the included services is essential.

    Common Managed IT Services Pricing Models

    Now, let’s look at some pricing models you can look for that meet your requirements.

    Per-Device Pricing

    A prevalent choice among MSPs, this model charges a consistent monthly fee for managed devices. While flexible and straightforward, incorporating additional devices like tablets and smartphones can complicate pricing.

    Per-User Pricing

    Similar to device pricing, this model charges a flat fee based on the number of users. It benefits clients with multiple devices per user.

    Tiered Pricing

    This model’s cost fluctuates based on the selected tier, offering flexibility for upgrading or downgrading services according to current needs and financial constraints.

    Categories of Managed IT Solutions

    Managed IT services can be divided into the following types:

    Remote IT Infrastructure Monitoring

    An essential service in managed IT involves the remote management and administration of servers, workstations, and mobile devices. It’s a core offering for many managed service providers (MSPs), leading to intense competition and pressure on profit margins. As a result, specialized managed IT services have emerged to meet evolving needs.

    Security Services

    The increasing demand for managed services has led to the development of managed security services. With customers expecting IT systems and data security assistance, service providers offer outsourced cybersecurity solutions, either independently or in collaboration with security firms.

    Managed End-User Services

    These services revolve around the IT assistance channels and processes established for an organization’s employees and customers. From basic IT help desk support to resolving technical issues, managed end-user services aim to enhance the user experience, directly benefiting the organization.

    On-Site IT Services

    Also known as managed field services, this category involves deploying experts to designated areas to perform various IT tasks, such as equipment installation, maintenance, and site assessments. The provider manages scheduling, technician deployment, issue tracking, and communication post-task completion.

    Cloud Services

    Managed IT services now extend to cloud services, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and the implementation and management of cloud solutions. MSPs may specialize in managing AWS, Google, and Microsoft public cloud services.

    Project-Based Managed IT Services

    This category encompasses project-specific technology support, such as major system implementations or ongoing technical assistance for business applications. MSPs offer administrative support and technical expertise to ensure project completion within budget and schedule.

    Communication Services

    Managed communication services consolidate telecommunication and data networks, enabling employees to access various communication tools through a unified network. Tasks include ensuring uptime, securing communications, and managing VoIP licenses.

    Analytics Services

    Managed data analytics services help gather, analyze, and protect user and customer data, transforming raw data into actionable insights for business decision-making. Providers may offer enterprise-wide business intelligence or specialize in market or financial performance analytics.

    Managed Print Services (MPS)

    These services involve remotely monitoring printing hardware, providing support, maintenance, and supplies necessary for printing operations. MPS providers assist in assessing needs, replacing hardware, and optimizing printing activities to reduce costs.

    Managed Backup

    Providers offer comprehensive data backup solutions, including cloud backup and disaster recovery planning. They help identify backup requirements, determine backup frequency, and establish recovery programs to ensure data integrity and availability.

    Advantages of Managed IT Solutions

    Recognizing the necessity of an IT services provider stems from the advantages they offer businesses, aligning with and supporting business objectives. Key factors such as cost savings and tapping into expertise in areas like cloud computing, network infrastructure, and support services influence the decision-making process when choosing an IT service provider. Here are the top twelve reasons illustrating why managed IT services are essential:

    Time Savings

    Engaging a managed service provider lets you concentrate on your core business operations. By assuming full control of your IT environment, the provider frees you from grappling with technical issues, allowing your IT department to focus on business goals strategically. With a managed IT firm at the helm, your technology requirements are expertly managed, continuously driving your business forward.

    Cost Reduction

    Maintaining a full-time technician or an internal IT department entails significant expenses, including salaries, benefits, training, and coverage. Partnering with an IT service provider allows you to mitigate and manage operational costs while leveraging their expertise. Managed service providers deliver consistent service without the overheads of retaining key personnel.

    Additionally, with managed service providers, businesses can sidestep high capital outlays and predict monthly operating expenses. Monthly budgets are negotiated with IT service providers, with additional costs discussed before implementation. Thus, IT costs become a stable, easily trackable and comprehensible entity.

    Enhanced Productivity

    MSPs prioritize business processes and continuity, ensuring productivity and efficiency remain central to the IT environment. With minimal network downtime and robust data protection, MSPs facilitate swift access to critical information, even during network outages. Moreover, MSPs provide round-the-clock support services to address issues swiftly, ensuring business operations remain uninterrupted.

    To enhance productivity, proactive MSPs preemptively address IT issues before they escalate. Instead of reacting to problems as they arise, proactive MSPs like SysGen anticipate and resolve issues, preempting potential disruptions.

    Reliable Support

    Contrary to the help desk model, which can lead to inefficiencies and impersonal support, managed IT services offer personalized assistance. With dedicated technicians available 24/7 and possessing intimate knowledge of your company’s IT landscape, MSPs provide tailored support, ensuring swift and effective resolution of IT challenges.

    Data Security

    As data emerges as a critical asset for businesses, safeguarding it becomes imperative. MSPs integrate cybersecurity measures into your IT environment, deploying and maintaining the latest security technology to fortify your business against threats.

    Access to Advanced Technology

    Collaborating with an IT organization guarantees access to cutting-edge technology. By staying abreast of the latest innovations, technicians implement state-of-the-art solutions, sparing clients the expense of internally training employees on advanced systems.

    Comprehensive Understanding of the IT Ecosystem

    Documenting your network infrastructure ensures optimal IT performance and ongoing improvement. With an infrastructure inventory, MSPs optimize your IT experience, minimizing productivity declines and mitigating security risks associated with outdated technology.

    Expert Management of the IT Environment

    With an MSP, your IT environment is overseen by experts. In today’s digital landscape, highly skilled and specialized experts are required to optimize IT solutions. MSPs possess the requisite expertise, sparing businesses the costly endeavor of training in-house staff.

    These experts are held to stringent accountability standards through Service Level Agreements (SLAs), ensuring service excellence. Technical experts, both onsite and behind the scenes, deliver a certain level of technology experience backed by contractual obligations to uphold service standards.

    Increased ROI and Risk Reduction

    Partnering with an IT provider grants access to a team of IT professionals with specific qualifications, industry training, and certifications. Multiple dedicated resources with superior technical expertise and experience offer solutions grounded in industry best practices. Additionally, MSPs provide early notifications of government regulatory compliance, ensuring businesses remain compliant.

    Tailored Solutions for Business Needs

    Managed IT providers conduct objective analyses of businesses to align technology with business goals. By focusing on strategic IT deployment, MSPs guarantee enhanced productivity and goal attainment rather than adopting an ad-hoc, break-fix technological approach.

    Utilization of Vendor Relationships

    Businesses benefit from MSPs’ relationships with software and hardware vendors. Procurement services enable bulk purchasing and leasing options, saving businesses time and effort in vendor sourcing. Leveraging these relationships ensures businesses receive optimal value from their IT investments.

    Scalability

    IT organizations comprehend customer needs and develop requisite managed IT solutions. IT organizations understand businesses’ preferences and offer tailored solutions catering to small and medium businesses’ cloud computing needs. Businesses also gain access to services like two-factor authentication and dashboard monitoring, enhancing their IT capabilities.

    In simple terms, partnering with a trusted managed service provider offers businesses numerous benefits. It helps them confidently manage their IT systems, ensuring they run smoothly, stay secure, and boost efficiency while staying focused on their main business goals.

    Common Challenges in Managed Services

    Let’s address the most common challenges in managed IT solutions and how you can overcome them:

    Overcoming Support Delays in Remote Work Environments

    In today’s prevalent remote work setup, ensuring timely support is essential for uninterrupted business operations. To mitigate this challenge, fostering open communication and establishing robust Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are effective strategies.

    Addressing IT Expertise Gaps Among Managed Service Providers

    A lack of sufficient technical expertise within MSPs can lead to prolonged downtimes. Partnering with reputable providers known for their industry expertise can help overcome this challenge amidst a significant shortage of IT talent.

    Handling Resource Constraints in Cloud Migration

    Managing resource constraints during cloud migration requires MSPs to tailor resources to match the unique requirements of each business. This adaptability is essential for minimizing disruptions and ensuring a seamless transition to cloud services.

    Dealing with Cybersecurity Risks and Maintenance Gaps

    Proactive maintenance, including regular software updates and patching, prevents operational disruptions and mitigates cybersecurity threats. Implementing a robust disaster recovery strategy is also essential to maintain business continuity.

    Addressing IT System Compatibility Challenges

    Selecting a provider that thoroughly understands your current IT environment facilitates a seamless transition and minimizes the risk of technology misalignment. This approach prevents long-term negative impacts on business operations and finances.

    Enhancing Security Measures

    Given the evolving nature of cyber threats, partnering with MSPs offering comprehensive security solutions is crucial. This includes remote monitoring, threat mitigation strategies, and advanced data protection methods to mitigate risks effectively.

    Ensuring Network Stability

    Choosing MSPs committed to reliable network uptime and continuous monitoring helps minimize network disruptions, ensuring smooth operational flow. This proactive approach prevents potential issues from escalating, keeping your systems accessible and productive.

    Managing Cloud Services Effectively

    Effectively managing cloud services is paramount due to the growing dependence on cloud infrastructure. Partnering with MSPs specializing in cloud management is crucial to mitigate potential challenges.

    Streamlining Management of Large-Scale IT Infrastructures

    Efficiently managing large-scale IT infrastructures is crucial for maintaining business continuity and optimizing operations. Partnering with MSPs who specialize in handling extensive IT frameworks ensures smooth and effective IT management.

    Enhancing Customer Service Quality

    Effective communication, regular updates, and transparent documentation from MSPs contribute to superior customer service quality and a fruitful partnership. This ensures that clients are always informed about the status of their services and any changes or improvements being made, as well as have clear records of the services provided.

    Determining When to Hire a Managed Services Provider

    As nearly two-thirds of organizations have incorporated managed services into their IT functions, it’s essential to assess your options for managed services based on key considerations:

    Time for Strategic Focus: Determine if your in-house IT team could benefit from more time to concentrate on strategic endeavors.

    Embracing the Cloud: Consider if migrating your data to cloud-based platforms aligns with your business objectives.

    In-House IT Team Size: Assess if the size of your business warrants a full-fledged in-house IT team or if outsourcing is a more cost-effective solution.

    Disaster Preparedness: Evaluate if you have a robust contingency plan for safeguarding critical data in the face of unexpected disasters.

    Budget Predictability: Determine if a fixed monthly fee encompassing all IT requirements would provide budget predictability.

    Enhancing Communication: Consider if a more collaborative and flexible communications system would benefit your employees.

    Remote Workforce: Assess if you have remote workers or plan to incorporate remote work.

    Data Sensitivity: Determine if your business handles sensitive data requiring heightened security measures.

    Scaling IT Needs: Anticipate if your IT requirements will outgrow your existing solution in the future.

    Advantages of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

    Enhanced Cybersecurity and Risk Management

    In the modern business landscape, cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated and pose significant risks to small and growing enterprises. A study by Accenture revealed that 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, with 60% of these suffering closure within six months.

    Managed IT service providers offer specialized expertise and advanced tools to defend against cyber threats, ensuring the protection of vital data and the preservation of an organization’s reputation. Opting for managed IT solutions can thus provide substantial benefits to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

    Cost Savings and Predictable Budgeting

    Outsourcing IT services to managed service providers enables most SMBs to optimize cost management. According to the Gartner Peer Review survey, 48% of respondents see managed IT services as integral to their IT strategies. The global managed services market, projected to exceed 300 billion U.S. dollars by 2027, indicates the growing availability of subscription-based models for SMBs.

    Predictable budgeting is a key benefit of managed IT services, eliminating the unpredictability of unforeseen IT expenses. This stability allows businesses to allocate financial resources more effectively, avoiding sudden strains caused by unexpected IT issues or costly hardware upgrades.

    Focus on Core Business Goals

    By outsourcing non-core IT functions, businesses can concentrate on their primary competencies, fostering growth and excellence in their core activities. For instance, WhatsApp outsourced its managed IT solutions, enabling it to focus on business expansion. Businesses can divert attention and resources to refining user experiences, introducing innovative features, and expanding global reach by entrusting IT management to dedicated teams.

    Access to Expert IT Knowledge

    Small businesses often struggle to afford top-tier IT professionals. Managed IT service providers bridge this gap by offering access to highly skilled experts with diverse knowledge and experience. These specialists stay updated with the latest technological advancements, ensuring businesses remain competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

    Scalability and Flexibility

    managed IT solutions are designed with scalability to meet evolving demands. Whether businesses are expanding operations or facing seasonal fluctuations, providers can swiftly adapt to changing requirements. Additionally, they offer access to cutting-edge IT solutions, aiding SMBs in keeping pace with technological advancements.

    Compliance and Data Security

    Small businesses must prioritize data protection and regulatory compliance. Managed IT service providers offer expertise in compliance requirements and data security protocols, ensuring businesses adhere to standards and regulations. This proactive approach reduces the risk of legal penalties and enhances trust among customers and stakeholders.

    Guidelines for Choosing the Right Managed IT Service Partner

    Effectively managing IT operations can be intricate and time-consuming, prompting many businesses to seek assistance from managed IT service providers. The following steps are pivotal in helping businesses select the appropriate managed IT solutions partner to fulfill their requirements.

    Understanding Business Needs

    Businesses must comprehend their distinct requirements before seeking a managed IT service provider. This involves evaluating the current IT infrastructure, pinpointing pain areas, and delineating short-term and long-term IT objectives.

    Expertise and Experience

    A critical consideration in the selection process is the expertise and experience of the managed IT service provider in the industry. Businesses should seek providers with a proven track record of delivering exemplary managed IT solutions to similar enterprises. A reputable provider typically boasts a team of certified professionals with diverse skills and expertise.

    Scope of Services

    Businesses should evaluate the array of services offered by each IT provider. Depending on specific needs, a company may necessitate services such as network monitoring, data backup, cybersecurity, cloud solutions, and IT consulting. It is crucial to ascertain that the chosen provider can fulfill all requisite IT requirements and possesses the flexibility to scale services as the business expands.

    Response Time and Support

    Given the significant impact of downtime on business operations, prompt response times are imperative when technical issues arise. Businesses should inquire about the provider’s average response time and support availability, particularly outside regular working hours.

    Security Measures

    Safeguarding sensitive business data is paramount. A dependable managed IT service provider should implement robust security measures to shield information from cyber threats and potential breaches. Businesses should seek providers that adhere to industry best practices and comply with data protection regulations.

    Client Testimonials and Reviews

    Businesses can leverage client testimonials and reviews to assess the quality of service a managed IT provider provides. Feedback regarding the provider’s responsiveness, problem-solving capabilities, and overall customer satisfaction can indicate reliability.

    Pricing and Contracts

    While cost should not be the determining factor, businesses must consider pricing and contract terms. Comparing pricing structures among different providers and scrutinizing contract terms will aid enterprises in understanding the level of service they can expect to receive.

    Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance

    A proactive approach to managed IT solutions is vital in preventing potential issues from escalating into major problems. Inquiring about the provider’s monitoring and maintenance processes enables businesses to ensure timely identification and resolution of issues.

    Compliance and Certifications

    For businesses operating in regulated industries, verifying that the managed IT solutions provider complies with relevant standards and possesses requisite certifications to mitigate legal and regulatory risks is imperative.

    Conclusion: Managed IT Solutions

    As businesses undergo rapid digital transformation, their IT infrastructure inevitably undergoes significant growth and complexity. In this context, partnering with a managed IT service provider offers numerous advantages beyond simplifying maintenance tasks.

    Firstly, managed IT solutions alleviate the burden of managing a sprawling IT environment, allowing internal teams to focus on strategic initiatives rather than mundane upkeep. This outsourcing enables businesses to leverage the specialized expertise of the service provider, who is equipped with the latest knowledge and tools to manage and optimize IT resources efficiently.

    Moreover, managed IT service providers serve as valuable allies in navigating the constantly evolving landscape of technology. They offer guidance on adopting emerging technologies, ensuring that businesses stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on innovations that drive efficiency, productivity, and growth.

    Additionally, partnering with a managed IT service provider facilitates seamless integration and implementation of new technologies into existing infrastructure. This ensures smooth transitions and minimizes disruptions, allowing businesses to swiftly realize the benefits of modern IT solutions without the complexities of DIY implementation.

    Furthermore, managed IT solutions provide scalability and flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of businesses. Whether scaling up to support expansion initiatives or adapting to fluctuations in demand, the service provider offers agile solutions that align with organizational goals and priorities.

    Overall, the role of managed IT services extends far beyond simplifying IT maintenance. It encompasses strategic guidance, technological expertise, seamless integration, scalability, and flexibility, enabling businesses to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape with confidence and efficiency.

    Want to navigate your projects effortlessly with our managed projects services? Schedule a consultation call today.

     

    Start a Project with Ajackus

    Start a Project with Ajackus

    You may also like

    Awards

    Recognized and appreciated by leaders and entrepreneurs just like you.

    Clutch GlobalClutch ChampionGoodfirmsgreat place to work