28 Oct A Guide to Managed IT Services
What is a Managed Service Agreement?
If you’re reading this, you may not understand the value of having a Managed Service Agreement (MSA) as part of maintaining the IT assets which drive your business. Managed Service Agreements are nothing new. It’s an agreement between you and your IT service provider, promising to maintain a standard of support and pro-activity to keep your business operational and as secure as possible. This is a guide to for humans. No jargon, no legal double speak, just a quick overview of what they do, don’t do and why we recommend them.
What does a Managed Service Agreement cover?
Traditional service providers across many industries wait to hear from you (usually when something is broken), attend your office or home, resolve the issue and send you the bill. The problem is they then live in a world of broken things which requires all their attention and resources. No time or effort is spent on improving and maintaining your existing investment in infrastructure or people! YES, PEOPLE! We make sure they are always improving too. But more on this type of agreement.
A Managed Service Agreement is an agreement outlining the services you can expect your IT specialist to provide .
Your IT service provider will usually consider a few simple key points about your business when developing the agreement. This includes;
- How much equipment your business uses.
- How many people need assistance?
- What times of day that assistance is required?
- The complexity and risk of your network and infrastructure
- The quality and compatibility of your systems with your business.
Often what worries people the most are the exclusions on the agreements. As a rule of thumb, any material change to your IT environment is not covered under the terms of the agreement. New equipment / new systems or new initiatives are generally charged over and above the agreed rates as additional time and planning is required to successfully deliver on those projects.
What are the benefits of having a Managed Services Agreement?
It simplifies the IT management of your business, providing the customised services your business needs, distilled down to a fixed fee. This gives you clarity on what your monthly expenses should look like and allows you to budget for the future.
Based on the traditional IT service model, often IT providers will try to absolve themselves of certain risks (such as virus removal, which can be very time consuming). With a Managed Services Agreement we prefer not to carve out specific items as it’s our job to educate and provide you with robust technology solutions that meet and exceed the requirements of your organisation.
My favourite (and the paradoxical) part of these agreements is that the better we are at our job, the less you need from us, a sort of stitch in time saves nine proposition. But we don’t see that as something to fear! It incentivises our team to find the best solutions to common problems, because the less computer issues you have means a more productive and profitable business you own.
At the end of the day, isn’t that what we are all aiming for?