MSP 101: Your introduction to the managed service provider



The popularity of managed service providers as an alternative or supplement to traditional in-house IT teams had grown significantly in recent years. In a recent report from the research firm CompTIA, two-thirds of organizations surveyed said that they had used the IT services of an external provider at some point within the last year. You could say that using a 3rd party to augment your IT is essentially managed services but there is much more to it than just that.

If you’re one of those business leaders who has heard about MSPs, but has yet to try working with them, then this post is for you. We’ll look at some of the advantages of working with an MSP, while also clearing up some of the misconceptions you might have about MSPs. You’ll end up with a much clearer picture of what it’s like to work with an MSP, and how you can expect to benefit from a managed services model.

An MSP can provide just about any IT service you need

When we say “any” IT service here, that’s truly what we mean. An MSP offers the flexibility to fill any holes that might exist within your current IT environment. This could mean helping with a single aspect of a one-time project, taking over the ongoing management of the entire IT function, and everything in between the two extremes.

The first step toward getting great results from your relationship with an MSP is to determine exactly what you need from them, because the chances are pretty good that the MSP will we able to deliver it for you.


MSPs can augment IT, rather than replacing it

A popular misconception about MSPs is that they are the natural enemy of the in-house IT team, and that choosing to bring in an MSP would logically mean budget cuts and job losses for IT. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, and in fact, it usually isn’t. MSP deployments that entail completely replacing an IT team are rare.

In many cases, IT teams can actually benefit greatly from the decision to bring in an MSP.  By offloading certain tasks to the MSP,  the IT team is able to focus more of their own time and effort on the core competencies that they do best.


MSPs can alleviate headaches for the HR team

The world of IT is very fast moving these days, and this makes it difficult to ensure your organization always has in-house resources with the proper experience and certifications. Another aspect of the fast-moving IT culture is high turnover rates, which makes getting and keeping the right talent even more of a challenge.

With a managed service provider, you can offload the challenge of finding and educating IT resources to another organization that specializes in doing just that. This frees up your HR team to focus its talent acquisition efforts on other key areas, without your IT function suffering for it.


MSPs can give your business the flexibility it needs

Finally, the key concept you should take away from this post is the fact that MSPs allow your business to get the IT services it needs, even if those services wouldn’t justify your business investing in its own IT infrastructure or hiring its own full-time resources. In short, by working with an MSP, you no longer have to make the same kinds of decisions about IT that you may have made in the past—neglecting to take advantage of a particular IT service just because it didn’t seem like it was worth the investment at the time.

We hope you have enjoyed getting an introductory look at managed service providers. Look for our next post soon, where we’ll be delving into MSPs in more detail.

– Jim

James Cunningham serves as the Chief Technology Officer at Cima Solutions Group. His experience in Healthcare operations and infrastructure support has enabled him to effectively move workloads into various cloud computing models. With 19 years in the IT field he carries several industry standard certifications, specializing in x86 and virtualization. Prior to Cima, James spent 15 years in Healthcare IT. He was Manager of Infrastructure at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He has also spent over 10 years at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, in Systems Engineering and EMR System Support.

John Alday

John Alday

John Alday is the CEO of Cima Solutions Group. His professional experience includes twelve years at IBM Corporation performing various sales and sales management duties including Business Unit Executive in IBM’s MidMarket sales organization. He served as a Regional Vice President of Sales for Onyx Software, an enterprise CRM software company and General Manager for an IBM Business Partner firm. He started Cima Solutions Group in 2005 with the focus on delivering reliable and efficient IT solutions that create financial value for the clients they serve. In 2012, John co-founded Cowork Suites, a company that brings multi-tenancy and resource sharing concepts to the workplace environment through coworking.
John Alday