IT Consulting Services vs IT Managed Services: All Differences Explained
For startups or new businesses who don’t have the luxury to deploy a solid in-house IT team, understanding the differences between IT managed services and IT consulting services becomes challenging. Such businesses often seek IT support of a third-party vendor for the smooth running of operations while maintaining adequate security. This being said, identifying how to choose the right technology vendor is a tough task for businesses, especially for startups facing cost constraints.
Most professional IT service providers these days offer either managed services or consulting services, or a blend of both. But how to choose the right one? What is the difference between the scope of these services? These questions trouble most businesses when seeking professional IT support.
If you also are finding difficulty in choosing between IT managed services and IT consulting services providers, then this guide is tailored for you. It will help you to understand the key differences b/w both and identify the ideal solution for your business.
Let’s get started:
What is IT Managed Services?
Managed IT services refers to the outsourcing of one or more aspects of a company’s IT operations to an experienced third-party organization that specializes in managing such functions. These third-party organizations are identified as managed service providers (MSP) and handle the entire or a portion of your business IT systems, as per the pre-agreed service level agreements (SLAs).
In this model, the client holds the responsibility of procuring the IT infrastructure whereas the service provider liability is just limited to offering managed services like issue resolution, reporting, 24/7 system monitoring, and more. As per SLA, service providers charge a flat fee for delivering IT services over a pre-agreed period of time. SLA exactly defines what the services would be, how they will be delivered, as well as the pricing structure for the engagement.
The rise of cloud computing services has expanded the scope of managed IT services in recent times. Thanks to advancements in the SaaS, service providers now offer IT support to businesses beyond their geographical boundaries.
Most SMEs and startups can’t afford to have a team of in-house experts to manage their IT infrastructure. Even if they do, budget or resource constraints hit them. That’s why managed IT services are on the boom, According to data, the managed services sector value will reach a whopping $250 billion by 2022.
Managed IT Services Examples
- Systems Administration and Management
- Backup & Recovery of Data
- Patch Management
- Enterprise lifecycle management
- Enterprise Security Audit
What is IT Consulting Services?
IT Consulting Services refer to the practice of companies seeking the advice of domain experts on different fields of information technology in order to gain insights on making the best use of information technology to achieve their business goals and objectives. It is also called technology consulting and IT advisory, and basically involves an expert offering advisory or consultancy services to an organization (the client). The IT consulting industry involves three major types of consultancy providers – IT companies and firms, staffing firms, and independent consultants.
IT consulting services are also known as IT advisory services, availed by businesses to get solutions for their IT problems. For this very reason, companies hire IT consultants who specialize in a particular, narrow field of IT. It can be:
- Cloud computing
- Disaster Management
- Network Management
- Cybersecurity and Compliance
Etc. These technology consultants are brought in to get a holistic view of common organizational problems and how to overcome them. These experts study the flow of your business activities and based on observation identify and suggest areas of improvement. Most enterprise software solution companies also offer consulting services as part of their software sales process.
Due to the introduction of modern technologies like Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and more - businesses need to constantly evolve their strategies to stay competitive and outpace rivals. Hence advice of such IT consultants is taken. They are specialists in their field with a deep knowledge base which is often difficult to find in-house.
IT consultants are hired for different roles, depending on project requirements. Most of the time they help companies crack a complex project and work in close coordination with a dedicated development team. Overall, they are hired to craft long-term strategies for an IT organization that helps them drive business growth and identify new market opportunities.
IT Consulting Services Examples:
- Business Process Automation
- Risk management
- IT enterprise security
- IT Assessments
- IT strategy planning
- Business continuity plan & disaster recovery plan
IT Consulting vs IT Managed Services: Major Differences
Differentiating b/w IT consulting and managed services often becomes confusing for newbies because managed service providers also offer IT consulting services sometimes. So, to keep clarity b/w both, remember IT consultants primarily deal with creating IT strategic guides for businesses to excel where managed services providers work as service implementers by offering the IT solutions you need for business growth. Hence, the former works as a planner in most cases while the latter works as an implementer.
IT Consulting involves providing strategic advice and suggestions for improving the IT environment whereas managed services are more into offering solutions or working as a service implementor while undertaking the project.
Managed service providers provide the IT infrastructure or solutions to support your business operations whereas consultants simply don’t offer such facilities.
Continuous IT infrastructure maintenance and monitoring are more effectively done by managed services providers, unlike IT consultants.
Customer support is often poor in managed services when compared to IT consulting services. Due to busy schedules and heavy workloads, managed services automate customer service functions which lead to a higher number of customer complaints.
Which One Is Right for Me?
Careful selection of IT support services is vital for smooth running of the business operations. Among IT consulting and managed services, choosing the one for your business should primarily depend on what your company is trying to achieve. This becomes even more crucial if you’re on a tight budget.
For instance, if your organization is looking for hardcore assistance in mapping out IT strategies and business objectives for the upcoming quarter, choosing IT consulting services would be best. On the other hand, if your business has already put an IT strategy in place, and is now looking to implement those strategies, hiring a managed IT services provider would be an ideal choice for you.
Again, the selection of both depends on what problem your business faces right now, as well as your long-term business goals. If you find you need both kinds of services for better results, then choose a third-party vendor who offers a combination of both services.
Team up with IT Consulting Services Experts
In a nutshell, both IT consulting and managed services help organizations achieve the common benefits of faster growth, access to a global talent pool, faster-time-to-market and cost savings. If you are also looking to identify business pitfalls and growth opportunities, connect with IT professional services experts at A3logics.
Our IT consultants have 15+ years of proven experience in crafting robust IT strategies and solutions for businesses of all kinds.
Drop us a line to know more about our IT consulting solutions & services.