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The Definitive Guide to IT Managed Services
Edition 1 – November 2018

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Chapter 1

What are IT Managed Services

TAKEAWAY

There are three components of IT managed services:
1. End user support
2. IT infrastructure support
3. A combination of both

Your business may need to use a combination to balance support coverage and budget. Don’t get too hung up with the terms managed services and outsourcing. Focus on the service you need rather than whether it’s labelled an outsourced solution or a managed service.

It is quite common for people to confuse IT managed services with outsourcing. Although the basic principles are similar, these two concepts are distinct and different.

Outsourcing. By its most simple definition, outsourcing refers to the purchasing of services or expertise from an outside company.

An Outsourcer usually looks after a whole layer of IT – sometimes all of IT (from help desk, platform, storage, people, software, security and application management) and sometimes involves ownership and transfer of people and assets.

Managed Services. The term Managed Services increasingly reflects the growing demand for outcome-based models, such as SLAs, that have a business meaning delivered on a subscription basis. It is a more descriptive term for specific solutions that go beyond just cost savings to align with growing expectations.

A managed service provider (MSP) works alongside the organisation’s existing IT team and becomes an extension of their company. They share their goals and work proactively to improve their IT environment, while leveraging technology to move the business forward. You could say that they are a form of Outsourced IT.

When you work with an MSP, you are bringing in services that you cannot or do not want to provide internally in order to improve or increase IT capability.

In summary:

  • Outsource and Managed are often used interchangeably by providers
  • Don’t be afraid of the word “outsource”
  • Some MSPs also provide outsource solutions
  • Focus on the service you would like to be provided
  • An MSP is often more specialised
  • An effective MSP becomes part of your company

Core components of IT managed services

What do managed services actually look like? Typically they can be broken down in to two core components: end user support and IT infrastructure management.

End user support
This is the equivalent of outsourcing your first and second levels of support. Your employees can log issues with a remote helpdesk for further analysis and resolution. All of your end user devices are supported, with issues being escalated to in-house third line support if appropriate.

Core components of end-user support include:

  • 1st line support
  • Incident management
  • Service request fulfilment
  • Problem resolution
  • Third party escalation
  • User device support

You are then able to customise the service received, choosing SLA response times, and hours of coverage to match your operations.

IT infrastructure support
The second option is to hand over support for the hardware and software that make up your infrastructure. Under this model the managed service provider takes over your third line support responsibilities.

Again, you choose the SLAs and coverage hours to suit. But you also gain access to expert-level assistance with change management and patch management to drive IT developments forwards. Proactive asset, security and capacity management and monitoring services ensure that you can keep the lights on too.

Core components of infrastructure management include:

  • Change management
  • Asset management
  • Capacity management
  • Patch management
  • Supplier management
  • Security management

Our Customers

david phillips
scorpio
ecic

I have no worries about our IT whatsoever because Acora is accountable for everything and is a one-stop shop for all our IT needs. Acora is just like another department within our business and whenever the need does arise for IT advice or assistance then I can simply call the Acora helpdesk and be confident that my issue will be addressed immediately.

Ian Cowie
Managing Director, Scorpio

We have known Acora a long time and they have proven to be a very good partner for us. I am very happy with them as a team as they understand our business and know where we are going. We talk to them regularly about changes to our business and how they can support us.

Neil Crowther
Managing Director, Ardent

This joint partnership ensures we are delivering what what we need to do as a business. Acora are the technical experts supporting us. Being able to talk to them about our requirements means we can react more swiftly than relying solely on in-house resource. This ensures we continue to deliver high levels of customer service.

David Beldham 
Head of IT, ECIC

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