Maintaining ICT operational control, quickening processes, and managing budget are all factors to ensuring your organisation can get the most out of its technology. Deciding whether a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Shared Services (SS) better suits your organisation can prove difficult.

What Is A Shared Services Model? 

 A combination of in-house and outsourced IT operations, Shared Services (SS) utilise both internal and external managed services.

Shared services (SS) incorporate both an internal IT team while also outsourcing other areas of IT support – providing a hybrid mix of the two. For example, an organisation may hire an Internal Advanced IT team that includes a Systems Engineer, but then outsource smaller IT problems to a third-party provider to manage.

Benefits of shared services are the cost saving measures, the end-user experience and clearly defined levels of support. A shared services model defines each level of support – L1, L2,L3– with deliverables, roles and responsibilities.

Some levels of support may be completed in-house, while other areas are outsourced. This model is very effective in freeing up staff members to do what they do best.

For example, an organisation may outsource a third party to provide a service that was previously held internally. Shared services will outsource in situations where there are inadequate internal resources.

While shared services appear simple, in practice they are a complicated area to execute. Shared services often involve complex planning and negotiations – and in many cases organisations can struggle to identify which services to share.

The government sector is a primary example. In mid-2018 the NSW Government opened up the conversation to provide guidance to local councils on how to identify, negotiate, plan and evaluate shared service agreements effectively.

Proper planning, delegation and finding the most appropriate provider remain to be the most common issues in a shared services model.

What Is A Managed Service Provider? 

A specialist IT company, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) operates on a fully outsourced model.

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a specialist IT company that can be hired to cover all IT functions. Outsourcing IT experts can be used to take care of an organisation’s entire tech environment – with the promise that an MSP team has the knowledge and experience to provide stronger IT solutions than a smaller internal team would.

A core purpose of engaging an MSP is the access to unlimited IT support, all for a fixed monthly fee. An MSP ensures an organisation can remain on top of its budget, only ever paying for what it uses.

Identifying a clear set of outcomes and goals allows an MSP to tailor solutions that meets the specific needs of the organisation.

For example, an organisation may decide to outsource an MSP to build and operate its cloud environment.  As the relationship develops, the organisation may decide to also utilise data backup and disaster recovery, engaging the MSP to grow the solution to include these elements.

The strength of an MSP is its ability to grow with the needs of an organisation. An MSP has the ability to think 12 – 24 months down the track for its customers, advising on tech updates that may benefit them. In business, it remains crucial to continue looking ahead of growth and the tools needed to meet increasing demand.

Technology exists to quicken processes and provide easier work flows. Outsourcing to a third-party IT company achieves just this, as an organisation shifts it role to focus on what it does best – leaving technology to be managed by the experts.

What Model is Best for your Organisation? 

Deciding to outsource an MSP is more cost effective than hiring skills or purchasing technology that may not be the best fit for an organisation. An MSP provides accountability and takes the pressure off relying on an in-house team to run the IT environment.

When choosing an MSP there are a few main factors to consider:

  • Look at the Service Level Agreements of the MSP. It is important that an MSP can provide adequate support with an experienced, well versed team.
  • Ask to see customer testimonials and case studies. It is important to onboard a reliable MSP with proven experience delivering proactive services.
  • Meet the team – ensure the Customer Service Manager and other MSP support networks are experienced, friendly and a suitable fit for your organisation.

Shared services also have its advantages, however require a myriad of things to come together to work effectively. Shared services benefit organisations that still want to retain an in-house team along with outsourcing components of tech that no longer fall to the responsibility of existing staff.

Outsourcing certain components of IT removes the need to acquire new infrastructure and spend time training people from different departments who might not be an appropriate fit. To achieve this takes meticulous planning, delegation and hiring – in practice proving far more difficult than in theory.

Understand more on the core offerings of a Managed IT Provider.