Managed IT service providers allow companies to delegate their IT management responsibilities to an experienced professional third-party firm that specializes in managing such responsibilities. These third-party companies, commonly called managed service vendors (MSVs), are charged with the entirety or parts of a company’s IT systems. In addition to managing hardware, operating systems and network equipment, they also deploy and maintain server applications, software and other system upgrades and maintain the quality of the network infrastructure.
Many companies find that hiring an in-house or out-of-house managed service provider can be expensive and time consuming. Additionally, an in-house or contractor-based staff often does not have the IT resources, skills and training to effectively manage company IT. This is where an MSP comes in. A managed service provider has extensive technical skills in network security, servers, software and data recovery, computer upgrades, memory and storage management, diagnosing and repairing network problems, etc. However, an MSP also has specialized knowledge in specific areas like enterprise architecting, enterprise architecture, software development, internet application development, web site design, e-commerce application development, Java and XML server development, database management, workstation management and desktop management, telecommunications management and wireless networking. In addition, an MSP also has strong leadership and management skills and the ability to guide the company through any technical problems or emergencies.
For companies looking for a managed service provider to outsource their IT needs, they can seek the advice and recommendations of experts such as venture capitalists, business analysts and venture fund managers. Typically, these consultants will conduct interviews with the company representatives to understand what kind of solutions the company requires. Then, these consultants will conduct a thorough analysis to assess the suitability of different vendors. Based on their findings, the entrepreneurs will be able to select the most appropriate and cost-efficient vendors. The selection of the vendors is dependent on factors such as reputation, cost, security measures, availability and compatibility of required technologies, compatibility with existing software and ease of management.
The top managed service providers in the market are Microsoft Business Solutions, NetERP, Compiere, IBM WebSphere Application Services, Secure Technologies, Secure Computing and many others. These companies offer a wide range of integrated services including Microsoft Windows server, SQL, Java applications, XML server solutions, web server solutions, corporate imaging, enterprise reporting solutions and enterprise mobility services. A Microsoft Business Solutions provides the following key capabilities: Data archiving, data recovery, information security, collaboration, marketing and E-commerce, project management, project consulting services, technical support, infrastructure management and web site design and development. NetERP on the other hand offers the following key capabilities: enterprise content management, desktop management, file management, full text processing, project management and desktop publishing.
In addition, the companies provide other services as well like application service, application deployment, application service provider, cloud computing, direct server, health care, networking services and remote assistance. These services are delivered by the selected network providers in the local area or via the Internet. In the recent times, almost all large companies are opting for this method of outsourcing. The primary reason behind this trend is cost effectiveness. Now every entrepreneur has a chance to acquire the knowledge of IT projects and at the same time avail of cost-effective and easily accessible resources.
Another advantage of using third-party vendors is to control the integration. Since the end users already have a complete database of all their data and requirements, the process of integration becomes much easier and standardized. Some of the advantages of the managed services provided by the managed service provider are as follows: end user lock-in, integration with existing systems, security and scalability. As far as the security and scalability is concerned, the experienced professionals of the companies keep updating the system on regular basis so that the end users are not at a loss while trying to implement an enhancement in the business. Thus the companies are able to deliver the best solutions to their customers.
Moreover, there is another major benefit provided by the managed service provider which is called the subscription model. With the subscription model, the company gets complete ownership of the infrastructure and thus can change it according to their wish. However, the managed service provider has an option to resell the infrastructure. This model is based on the fact that the resources are offered on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
Today, nearly all the leading companies prefer to hire the services of the Managed Service Provider to deliver their applications and web services. Apart from the fact that they get control over the entire infrastructure, they also get an opportunity to deploy and upgrade the application quickly. In addition, they do not need to invest in installing and configuring the servers for their websites. Thus the Managed Service Provider enjoys several advantages which are difficult to identify individually.