More businesses are increasingly turning to managed service providers (MSPs) to handle aspects of their IT needs as part of a collaborative IT arrangement, according to new research from IT industry trade association CompTIA.
Although Managed IT services have been around for a long time, their adoption has been slow. CompTIA found that only 3-in-10 organizations had any of their IT in the hands of an MSP, says Carolyn April, senior director, Industry Analysis, at CompTIA. More than two-thirds of companies surveyed for CompTIA’s Fourth Annual Trends in Managed Services Study, however, say they have used the serviced of an outsourced IT firm within the past 12 months. South Florida is no exemption, more businesses in Miami, Aventura, Brickell, Miami Lakes, Fort Lauderdale and even Hialeah are switching to managed service provider for computer tech support and other IT services.
Organizations have become more familiar with managed services and are turning to them for management of particular IT functions notably, email hosting, customer relationship management (CRM) applications, storage, backup and recovery and network monitoring.
“While one-time projects account for some of these engagements, a significant portion is ongoing management of one of more IT functions by a managed services provider,” says April, who is also author of the report. “There is a much higher degree of familiarity with the term ‘managed services’ and greater adoption.”
The elite MSPs are now offering managed services around big data, business intelligence (BI) and advanced application monitoring – and April says there is increasing demand in those areas – but most MSPs have yet to extend beyond their heritage in managing network infrastructure and basic software infrastructure.
“I think mobile is an area where the channel is getting some traction but they’re really not tapping the full opportunity there,” she adds.
April goes on to establish that part of the awareness problem lies as a definitional one, and when discussing software-as-a-service (SaaS), the customers (and sometimes the providers) remain unclear about what actually constitutes a managed service.
“I think the definitional issue is an enormous one,” she says. “It’s one of the things that has made it extremely difficult to market size the managed services space and determine adoption rates.”
In addition, MSPs have done a poor job of marketing their services to the greater community, April notes, although because of the recent doubling in use, they have markedly improved.
When your business is not an IT business, outsourcing your IT needs to a MSP allows you to take care of all the other aspects of your business, like, you know, running your business.
CompTIA found that, for 56% of companies with 100+ employees and 47% of companies with fewer than 100 employees, improving the efficiency and reliability of IT operations was a main driving factor for going with an MSP. Though everyone’s issues are unique in themselves, chances are MSPs have seen a similar instance and have solved the problem before are quick to come up with solutions. This, in turn, saves time – and, as we all know, time is money.
The report noted enhanced security and compliance needs was a factor for 38 percent of companies of all sizes.
For many companies, the cost to employ an in-house IT department can be prohibitive. ROI/cost savings was a reason for one-third of companies with 1—100 employees.
Although MSP use has surged in the past year, they have yet to replace traditional IT departments.
“Very few of these companies get rid of their IT staffs just because they join up with an MSP,” April explains. For larger companies, MSPs value lies in their ability to free up internal staff for more sophisticated in-house projects. “It elevates the IT staff and brings them out of the shadows within the organization,” she continues. “It allows them to focus on a custom app dev project or cloud initiative – something highly strategic. I think that’s a win-win for your IT staff.”