Managed Service Plans- Bringing Big Business Technology to Small Firms

The break-fix model of IT service is broken. The days of discovering a computer problem, calling your IT service provider, then waiting and waiting and waiting for them to fix it are over. Managed Service Plans (MSP) is a proactive solution which keeps your firm’s data infrastructure up and running by changing the reaction time to proactive maintenance.

There are a few differences between the Break/Fix retainer contracts (or hourly fees) and the MSP agreements. The meat behind a MSP is the monitoring system which proactively watches over your firm’s network devices (servers, computers, etc) notifying your IT service provider of any problems or potential problems- such as, low system resources, data corruption, offline status; almost any change in your computer environment. Clients are often amazed when they receive a call on a Sunday morning due to a faulty switch or network connection- an issue that would have caused hours of downtime on Monday morning is easily rectified before the first employee arrives for the workweek.

A more common occurrence is when a client receives a phone call pertaining to the performance reduction of their computer system- often due to memory or hard disk issues. Problems like these would previously go undetected until the client would mention it to their IT service provider. Now the tables are turned and the onus of realizing and correcting these issues falls on your IT service provider

MSP pricing also differs from retainers and hourly fees. MSPs use a flat monthly fee determined by the size of your firm’s computer network. The monthly fee generally includes all onsite and remote support, monitoring and reporting. Having a flat fee enables your firm to accurately forecast your IT budget and also eliminates the prolonged service call = large bill scenario.

Having a MSP allows your IT service provider to act more like an employee or partner rather than a repairman- allowing them to provide the preventative maintenance support such as Windows updates, application testing, and network health checks which are normally overlooked or viewed as superfluous in a retainer (break/fix) contract. It gives them more of a vested interest in your firms IT infrastructure, maintaining stability and eliminating downtime -which is dually expensive to your firm and their technical resources.

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