Managed Service Providers (MSP) have redefined how companies approach leveraging information management technology to dramatically improve their profit performance. They have also served to simplify expense management and accounting in many ways, most especially by converting what were previously wide ranging variable costs into a consistent periodic fixed fee far easier to budget and manage.
Fundamentally, MSPs manage IT or the use of IT tools to improve overall IT operations, or to help achieve specific business outcomes. In the latter case, an MSP may be engaged to provide outsourced expertise and usage of specific software tools to provide improved execution and savings as the expertise and operating system go hand in hand, increasing overall software performance through consistent parameter tuning.
Clients value these services as they eliminate the need to “go into the technology business” which many feel is a distraction from their core business. Financial executives appreciate the consolidation of many formerly variable costs into a fixed, periodic fee.
Especially as more companies are transitioning from on-premise to “cloud” computing, the value of engaging an MSP becomes even more profound.
Decisions around building a strategy including the involvement of a quality MSP are well served by a general understanding of how these highly knowledgeable service providers evolved alongside the personal computer and computer networking.
To trace the evolution of today’s MSP we need to start back in August 1981 when IBM introduced their personal computer, the IBM PC. This was a giant leap for IBM in many ways, not the least of which was that the user would need minimal training to obtain value from it, rather than the extensive training mainframe users required.
In a short time, these early service providers were monitoring not only leased lines and the equipment that connected them, they were also monitoring servers, storage, firewalls and other security devices, printers and user devices. This was a far more productive and profitable business. They could continue growing their business by managing customer networks and servicing the requirements that arose. The Managed Services Provider was born.
As you migrate from having your own personnel manage IT to having an MSP do it for you, and from on-premise information management to cloud-based services, many things change. Your people are free to pursue far more productive activities and servers and storage equipment are no longer there. But the one thing that changes most are the dollars.