Full transparency in any business contract is necessary and expected for success. In service-oriented, technical fields like Managed IT Services, a complete understanding of service plans is especially important. Often referred to as Managed Network Services (MNS), Managed IT Services can seem a complex and intimidating venture. The more you understand your IT needs and available options, the more confident you’ll be making the right decision in a business partner.
If you’re debating the need for Managed Network Services (MNS), there are a few things to consider. There is a misconception that outsourcing services automatically means eliminating in-house IT staff. The choice isn’t that black-and-white. Most companies find a collaboration between the two entities works best. The accessibility of your MNS partner allows your IT staff to focus attention on your actual business, rather than trouble-shooting computer or printer issues. Proactive solutions and the predictable budget that MNS providers offer gives peace of mind to office managers and IT staff alike.
Technology is moving lightning-fast. By outsourcing with MNS experts, your internal IT department can be utilized for business growth and competitive advantage. With the right MNS partner, you’ll find balance and synergies between your internal staff and outside experts.
Of course, for most business owners, the financial bottom line is paramount. The cost and pricing models for managed services varies by the level of support that is needed. Understanding common pricing models can help you choose the level of support that you need.
A popular service model among many companies, customers are billed a flat fee for monitoring specific devices, such as desktop computers or printers. This offers predictability and flexibility, since its tied to individual units. However, it doesn’t offer big-picture monitoring of your overall network performance. Plus, the more you grow, the more devices you need, and the more expensive this option becomes.
This simple model offers advantages to growing businesses with clear service agreements and accessible support. You’ll pay for each user, across devices, with agreed-upon service support. The more users, the more it costs. The appeal is a predictable budget with easy-to-understand service that is consistent for any number of users.
This approach may give business owners the most pause. When an MSP offers tiered services, it’s usually not customized for your individual and unique business needs. Just like anything, the cheapest option likely doesn’t provide the level of service you need. However, the most expensive option may not have the flexibility to adjust to the future needs of your business. The best MNS providers consult with you for a deep understanding of your business in order to customize solutions.
Perhaps the most comprehensive plan, flat-fee (or value-based or “cake”) pricing offers the total experience. This fee structure isn’t focused on individual services or menu items, but instead on a customized and complete solution to meet your business needs. A MNS partner with this approach will spend time understanding your business goals and needs while quantifying the current tangible and intangible costs of your IT activity. Any solution offered should cover product needs, associated service, and potential on-going support. This can include, but isn’t limited to, training sessions and industry standard compliance guarantees.
Whichever option is the best fit for your company, your MNS partnership will be off to a better start with clear expectations and vision for success.