What defines a Managed Service Provider?

Founder & CEO at Dynamix Solutions

As the market becomes saturated with “Managed Service Providers” it’s becoming more and more difficult to determine if an organization is a true managed service provider or just an individual, traditional VAR marketing themselves as a Managed Service Provider.  Dynamix Solutions has been operating with this business model since the company was founded in 2001. It took us a few years to develop and refine the correct infrastructure, process, procedures, and product offerings to truly call ourselves a Managed Service Provider.

The basic level of Managed Services can be defined by wikipedia:

“Managed services is the practice of transferring day-to-day related management responsibility as a strategic method for improved effective and efficient operations.  The person or organization who owns or has dire­ct oversight o­f the organization or system being managed is referred to as the offer-er, client, or customer.  The person or organization that accepts and provides the managed service is regarded as the service provider.

Typically, the offer-er remains accountable for the functionality and performance of managed service and does not relinquish the overall management responsibility of the organization or system.

This is a very generic definition of what a managed service provider is. I suppose that’s why we have so many versions of “Managed Service Providers” I’ve run into companies providing a person on-site for a defined period of time per month, and that’s their version. Others sell block time and draw against each time they perform a service for the client. Again, branded as their Managed Service Offering.

I suppose the question is:  how do I define managed services?  It seems to me it’s got to be much more than just IT Outsourcing or selling block of time.

Managed Service Providers should have at least provide the following

  1. Provide full IT Management
  2. An Accountability System that requires the provider to report to the client on a regular monthly basis.
  3. Remote Monitoring and Management
  4. Defined standard operating procedures
  5. Implement Best Practices for all clients
  6. Flat-fee IT Services. Easy to understand billing
  7. Definition of Services
  8. Vendor Management
  9. Guaranteed Response
  10. Guaranteed service level agreement
  11. Non-objective recommendations based on the best interest of the client,

It’s critical the Manage Service Provider has a good foundation in the above list in order to provide service to its clients. Responsiveness is critical in delivering the service.

Companies and parts of the industry define managed services differently, however, there are key components that must be included in any definition.  Today’s businesses need MSP’s to remain productive competitive and control their IT spending.

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