IT Managed Services vs IT Consulting Services: Know the Difference
Written by: Elise Lowry
IT Managed services and IT consulting services are both information technology services and the firms that provide one of them, often also provide the other one. While both have similar benefits to offer to organizations, theres a difference in the scope of these services. This article takes a look at both of them to understand the differences.
Information technology (IT) is big today and enterprises from every domain have adopted information technology in order to streamline their business operations and increase productivity and efficiency. Some of the biggest IT companies today provide an entire range of services to cater to the varied requirements of the enterprises and their distinct business goals and objectives. So, you have IT consulting, managed support services, managed IT services, software development services, and so on. Here let us look at two of these services, IT Managed services and IT Consulting services, to understand their differences.
What is IT Managed Services?
IT Managed Services refer to proactive outsourcing of one or more aspects of a companys IT infrastructure support and management to a managed service provider. The service provider is an Information Technology firm with a team of domain experts and is referred to as Managed Service Providers (MSP). In this model, the enterprise that seeks the services (the client) holds complete ownership of the IT infrastructure being outsourced while the liability of the provider only extends up to providing the managed services. There is a contract or agreement signed by both parties that defines the criteria and metrics to be adhered to.
While most big IT companies have an in-house team that looks into the management of IT infrastructure, small and medium businesses, including startups, cannot afford to have a team of experts working for them. This makes it difficult for them to keep up with the latest technology updates and security threats. Often non-IT professionals in the firm are forced to research on management of IT infrastructure, which takes up time and drives the focus away from other aspects of business operations.
- Systems Management
- Backup & Recovery of Data
- Data storage & Management
- Management and Monitoring of Network Security
- Human Resource Management
- Production, Support and Maintenance of Software
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 experts 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.
With the introduction of new concepts in technology, such as the Cloud, mobility and Big Data changing the business scenario, businesses have to constantly evolve their strategies in order to stay competitive. However, having an in-house team to strategize on the IT-based work and operations is not viable option for many small and medium businesses, primarily because of the costs involved and also the obvious lack of expertise and domain experts.
A client organization can hire the services of a IT consulting firm for different purposes, depending on its requirements. So, you have some IT consultants providing objective advice, others sharing their expertise and knowledge with the organizations development team, and still others offering temporary help to crack a complex project successfully. However, the common goal of the IT consultants is to develop long-term and short-term strategies that help the client organization to drive business growth, and generate new revenue streams.
Common IT Consulting Services Examples:
- Website and Database Development and Management
- Expertise in use of complex IT tools and processes
- Advice regarding the right IT investments
- Insights gained from experience to help companies make correct decisions
Both IT Managed Services and IT Consulting services help organizations achieve the common benefits of cost savings, access to expertise and experience, time to focus on core business issues, and more. However, the basic difference is that while consulting involves seeking advice and suggestions from providers, managed services are about seeking their involvement in undertaking the project.
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