Managed Services Are Not Uniform in Delivery

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

If you want to succeed in services, you must understand the dynamics and limitations of the managed services market. These laws are the starting point.

7) Managed Services Are Not Uniform in Delivery

Part of the reason a solution provider needed excess capacity was the lingering idea that managed services must uniformly deliver five-nines of reliability and 24/7 responsiveness. Managed services are partly the technology of delivering a service, but it's just as much a contractual relationship between a provider and the client. These contracts— which we call service-level agreements (SLAs)—can and should be variable in their expectations and delivery. Other professional services will scale services based on the customer's need and willingness to pay for premium response time. The SLA for a small accounting firm can and should be substantially different from that of an e-commerce payment-processing service. The quality and application of managed services can and should be negotiable by both the provider and the customer.


Some may argue that there should be a law that deals with whether a provider should develop their own services with remote management and reporting tools—such as those offered by N-Able Technologies, Level Platforms, Kaseya, ConnectWise and Autotask—or buy into the master provider services provided by the likes of Ingram Micro and Zenith Infotech. Make your case, but there is no right way or wrong way to deliver a managed service. The success—or failure—of a managed service has more to do with its business model than the tools and infrastructure it chooses.

I'm sure there are more "laws" than these. These laws are fluid and may continue to evolve and expand as the managed services market continues to mature. Over the next several weeks, Channel Insider will report on more findings from our ground-breaking research into the dynamics of the managed services marketplace. The important thing to remember is that managed services are an intangible service, a tool and a relationship all wrapped into one holistic offering. In the end, a provider's job is to deliver the value of that service to the customer and nothing more.

What managed services laws would you add? What laws are missing from this list? Share your thoughts with Larry and Channel Insider at lawrence.walsh@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

Lawrence M. Walsh is vice president and group publisher of Channel Insider, and has studied the managed services market for nearly a decade. Learn more about his Seven Laws of Managed Services at MSP Partners Virtual Trade Show on Wednesday, August 13 at 9 a.m., Eastern time.


Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...