Managed Services

What’s the Real Value of Managed Services?

Chaz Hager October 12 2023

How Does More Productivity, Decreased Risk, and Controlled IT Costs Sound to You?

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, technology is not only a necessity for you, but it’s also a tool to set yourself apart from your competition. Yet it can also be complicated to execute, is rapidly and constantly evolving, and difficult to scale. Technology can power your business to achieve more than ever, but to get the results you’re after, you also need access to expertise, experience, the capacity to execute at scale, and the talent and resources to operate, maintain, secure, repair, and respond to issues as they arise.

Enter Managed Services. While there are many types of managed services—technically defined as the practice of outsourcing business administration and management responsibilities to a third party—managed IT services is the most common. Managed IT Services originated in the 90’s as a solution for Break/Fix IT, but it has now evolved into a critical solution for businesses—especially small and medium businesses (SMBs) —gain a critical edge with respects to embracing, adopting, and managing new technology.  

In 2022, the global managed services market was valued at almost 279 billion US dollars and is expected to surpass 400 billion USD by 2026. Much of this demand can be attributed to SMBs, as managed services hit a sweet spot for businesses who need to be able to evolve their technology securely, but don’t have a large IT budget or in-house IT team. By relying entirely on in-house IT talent, your business often gets stuck in a reactive mode, with teams that are struggling to keep up and systems that aren’t integrated—so that rather than empower your employees to work more efficiently, they may actually be hindering them instead. And in case you’ve been thinking your business is too small to be a target for cybersecurity risk, it’s time to reconsider. Cybercrime is up 600% since the COVID-19 pandemic, and according to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime study, 43% of attacks are targeted at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to defend themselves.  

Thankfully, the biggest value managed services have to offer SMBs is the ability to level up your digital transformation and compete with even larger companies, improved user productivity, increased security and decreased risk, and better controlled costs.  

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Improved User Experience = Less Frustration, More Productivity 

You’re intimately aware that your people are your most valuable resource, but are you aware of just how much the technology they use to do their jobs impacts their productivity, engagement, and satisfaction? A study by Unys revealed that employees who are working with legacy (which is another way to say outdated) technology are 75% more likely to be frustrated than their peers who work for other companies that embrace new technology. As a result, these “legacy” technology workers are 136% more likely to feel less productive and are 450% more likely to quit.  

Outdated technology and systems that don’t integrate well together can also create or deepen silos across your organization. For example, if your accounting software doesn’t speak with or share data with your sales software, or integrate with your website effectively, you may be unable to get a complete picture of who your ideal customers are, or how to market to them to deepen your relationship.  

When you work with a qualified Managed Services Provider (MSP), one of the biggest benefits is access to their deep bench of expertise and knowledge across technology and business. A great MSP brings process improvement knowledge to your table, and helps you look at how you can effectively use technology to solve problems, streamline operations, automate tasks to free up time for priorities, and improve the experience for your employees—so they’re empowered by technology, not hindered by it, less frustrated, more engaged, and happy in their jobs.  

Free Up Your Internal IT Resources 

The same benefits can also apply to your internal IT team. The IT departments at many organizations, especially SMBs, are short-staffed and overburdened—which means they’re stuck reacting to issues and problems, constantly fighting fires. Being stuck in reactivity means they’re not effectively able to advance your goals and business priorities, leaving you in danger of falling behind your competition. Technology is only expanding, not decreasing. Because the sheer amount of work is too much for these teams to manage on their own, what happens is businesses fall behind in their modern tech policies and digital framework. 


Have you also considered the concept of total cost to learn (TCTL)? There’s no doubt your internal IT employees are talented and have the technical ability to learn about new products, plan a process for execution and migration, then implement, train, and service it. But how long does that process take? What other tasks or priorities did they have to neglect in the meantime? And will they use that knowledge again? 

MSP teams often have first access to manufacturer training and will have people on their team who have already spent the up-front time to learn the implementation process. This extensive education is worth the investment for MSPs; after all, it’s their job to go into organizations like yours and implement and manage technology.  

They also bring with them a depth of experience when it comes to knowing about and avoiding common pitfalls and manufacturer bugs. This gives them a higher probability to mitigate risk during the planning phase, so you are more likely to avoid common issues and downtime. With MSPs already knowledgeable about the product, process, and pitfalls, they can help you complete tasks in a fraction of the time, shorten project plan timelines, with fewer issues.  

MSPs can also provide 24/7 support and technical service, so when something goes down and you need help, it’s there. 

Decreased Risk 

As we mentioned above, SMBs are an increasingly attract target for cybercriminals of all kinds—in part, because their security postures are often lacking. Cybercriminals may also target you for your partners: if they’re able to breach your network, they can then use that access to breach your larger vendors, customers, and more.  

Security is also now more complex than ever; with each newly added device or piece of technology, the potential attack surface grows. And if your IT team is overburdened, it’s likely they’re struggling to keep up with critical security measures like firmware updates, let alone, stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.  

A critical piece of security is also being prepared to respond and recover not if a breach happens, but when. For example, do you have a plan to recover your data in case of a breach or even a natural disaster? How will you communicate with your customers if they’re impacted by a cyberattack on your business? How will you manage your reputation with them and rebuild trust? Your customers want to feel confident that when they trust you with their data, it’s protected. 

A great MSP will bring in comprehensive security knowledge, expertise, and experience to give you peace of mind and resilient security, even as cyberthreats continue to expand. This means ongoing safeguards against breaches or attacks, including 24/7 monitoring, protection of customer data, protected information, and confidential intel, timely responses to actual or suspected cyber events, and help ensuring business-critical operations stay operational. 

Lower risks of breaches will save you the costs of remediation and notification, damaged reputation, downtime, and lost business.  

Lower and More Predictable IT Costs 

One major downside to reacting to issues, especially those caused by outdated technology, is you incur large capital costs. With Managed Services, you pay one monthly payment and shift much of your IT budget to an operational expense, eliminating large capital expenses and incremental costs. A great MSP will be flexible, allowing you to scale your services contract up and down according to needs and budget, and will offer you predictable pricing, reduced overall costs, and improved cash flow.  

Software updates, ongoing security, and even support can be outsourced cost-effectively through your services agreement, and highly skilled technicians can be available according to your preferred and pre-set service level agreements. 

Evaluating Your Need for Managed Services 

As we mentioned, one of the greatest benefits to managed services is the flexibility it provides. When you first meet with a potential MSP, they should listen to your needs and goals, and help you design a plan that helps you meet those while staying in line with your budget. A MSP can help you with Collaboration solutions like voice, messaging, email, and file sharing, Networking solutions including wireless, remote access, and connectivity, Cybersecurity, Cloud solutions including cloud migrations, cloud optimization, cloud security, and disaster recovery plans, and support desk services.  

And while it’s not a small decision, it does allow you to focus on what really matters: your business growth and priorities. A great MSP can help you take technology from a risk to a true asset that empowers your employees and your business to do more than ever and compete against even the big guys. 

Take the Next Step

Schedule a meeting with an managed services expert at Northriver to answer your questions, discuss your needs and enhanced level of IT support, including anything else needed to ensure you're poised to thrive. 



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