In general, the concept of Managed Service, indicates an outsourcing approach to certain management and maintenance activities, in order to optimize the use of resources and lower the costs on the part of the client. The acronym MSP stands for Managed Service Provider and describes a typical working method now of many companies that deal with computer science. In this context, the Provider is represented by the company or company that provides the service.
Managed Service Provider Key Features
We can say that the main characteristics of a Managed Service Provider are:
– Unlimited phone / remote desk help
– Dedicated infrastructure management: backup, security, updates, etc.
– Availability to act as competent intermediary in interfacing with suppliers and any third parties.
Benefits and pricing of a MSP
The benefits of a MSP Managed Service Provider are mutual for the Provider and the Customer and the contract is usually an “all-inclusive” service. This methodology allows the customer to budget a fixed cost for the management of the IT infrastructure, without having to worry about any technical aspects or cost surprises.
The Provider does not have to worry about the invoicing of the hours, it is interested only in having infrastructures, servers and computers always working, up-to-date and safe. Better the customer network will be managed and less unplanned activity and in urgency will have to perform at the customer site.
Another fundamental aspect of the MSP approach is the provision of the service with a pricing fixed at the start and able to cover the various situations in which provider and customer can be found.
Ticket System – Service Desk
Thinking of managing everything in a semi-manual way, that is based on the exchange of emails and the agenda of the interventions, is not a viable path when you want to carry out these activities in a professional way. In the activities of a MSP is fundamental: tracing the activities, keeping a history of all the support provided, quickly measuring how much work has been done for each individual customer, and much more. In the casa a ticketing system is needed.
A ticketing system allows you to receive requests for assistance or information, directly via email: once the customer’s email arrives at the MSP, it enters a standard and definitive work flow, becoming a real ticket.
Each ticket has well defined states, which basically are: the ticket is Open, or Closed. The status naturally depends on whether the activities related to the user’s reporting have been carried out or not. In this context, the ticketing system keeps a complete track of activities, users and timing related to the work done: very useful information for the MSP as for the same customer. In the event that requests do not arrive via email, you can open the ticket directly from the management system portal.
Monitoring and Management Updates
Another important aspect is the possibility to manage antivirus and operating system updates, as well as being able to identify any anomalies or imminent problems on the infrastructure. For this purpose, automation and monitoring are the most powerful tools available to the MSP.
The automation covers all those activities (often repetitive, scheduling or in any case periodic). Some examples of automation are logging and automatic reporting regarding deadlines and notifications of success / failure of specific activities. Similar discourse also for the tracking of working hours related to the various interventions and related associated activities. In the automation field you can also include all those scripting and scheduling solutions that are often created ad-hoc for the customer.
In general, therefore, are included in the concept of Automation, all those solutions (be more technical or more administrative) useful to the provider to reduce the time of intervention, improve coverage on the infrastructure of the customer and increase the relationship between costs and results.
With this premise, the systems described above are grouped into two software families:
RMM and PSA
In the first case, the acronym RMM indicates all those tools for Remote Monitoring and Management, such as – to bring some practical examples – remote control software for assistance on PC and server of the client, or those for monitoring and notification of the status of updates and backups. Equally important is the correct maintenance of the documentation related to the activities carried out, in addition to the tracking of the same for the purposes of the correct economic assessment (consistency with the chosen assistance package, exclusions, extra interventions, etc.).
PSA instead stands for Professional Service Automation Software: these are platforms for the management and control of tasks and resources, including scheduling and time-tracking systems. They also include numerous document management functions, notification (administrative rather than system-based) and invoicing. One of the best example is Timestead, an easy to use time tracking, business intelligence and reporting system that allows you to simplify the job management.