Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>

Gary Audin | August 18, 2017 |


Going Digital: MSP vs. the Cloud

Going Digital: MSP vs. the Cloud In many cases, contracting a managed service provider brings more benefits than going it alone with internal IT.

In many cases, contracting a managed service provider brings more benefits than going it alone with internal IT.

Did you know that it takes 4.3 people to cover a position that needs to be manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

You are encountering the need for digital transformation for your business. Digital transformation knows no size -- SMBs and enterprises alike are all trying to keep up and grow as fast as possible. Unfortunately, digital transformation growth also means staffing, expertise, and budgetary growth.

So how do you deal with the realities of getting the resources you need to manage your growth? You could go to cloud services and offload some of the jobs to the provider. You also have another choice, working with a managed service provider (MSP) who manages your infrastructure.

What is an MSP?
An MSP is an outsourcing partner who acts on a proactive basis providing management services. The MSP is responsible for your business's operation and functions as manager, while improving operations and reducing expenses. An MSP is an alternative to organizations that perform break/fix or on-demand outsourcing. The MSP also has staff with in-depth expertise to deal with planning and operational issues beyond those that can be handled by the business.

The business owns or has direct responsibility for the systems and networks being managed by the MSP, though. The business and the MSP are contractually bound with a service-level agreement that defines the performance and quality metrics of their relationship that need to be delivered by the MSP.

DIY or a MSP?
A managed service provider offers a number of advantages over a business doing it for itself. An MSP is managing the resources of multiple businesses and therefore has the scale with a lower-cost point. It can be cheaper using an MSP then internal IT staff.

There is always the issue of the IT budget. The more money you put into staff, the less capital you have for infrastructure. By opting for the MSP path, you can shift IT funds away from operating expenses, thereby delivering greater budget flexibility.

The MSP can also offer increased efficiency. They usually operate with best practices, standardize what they do, perform analytics, and use automation wherever possible. These can be done by the business but unless you are really large business, you often don't have the staff, resources, or the budget.

Another value is that the MSP has access to skills that are not available to you. Or the skills may be available, but you can't afford them.

The service-level agreements (SLA) from a MSP can be better and more enforceable than the SLAs you can generate internally. MSPs also have a way of measuring the SLAs and determining where the deficiencies are. It may even lower your risk when implementing new services. Finally, a MSP may improve your security, business continuity, and compliance management.

Thinking MSP
As soon as you consider outsourcing all or part of your IT functions and responsibilities, you worry about risk and you look for trust. There are a number of points you should consider when selecting a MSP:

  • Research the MSP to determine the skills they have and their experience delivering their services.
  • The MSP needs to have a proactive technology-based approach to delivering the services. Break-fix mentality doesn't work. Ask what types of automation are used by the MSP that help reduce human intervention (possible errors) and improve the quality of service and productivity.
  • There are plenty of standards in IT. Look for the MSP's alignment with the best practices and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standards.
  • Since a lot of this work is based on the expertise and knowledge of the MSP staff, learn about their knowledge management.
  • Determine the visibility you are offered for monitoring their service delivery.
  • It is very likely you have more than one vendor on your premises. Has this MSP managed those vendors and have the necessary experience? Does the MSP have strong relationships with those vendors?
  • You may have IT and network resources that cover a wide geographic area. Does the MSP have the services locally available where you have resident IT/network facilities?
  • Inspects the SLAs. They should not be goals, but rather, mandates. Look into what happens if the MSP does not meet requirements. The SLAs may not be that enforceable. Make sure the SLAs cover a wide range of performance metrics, not just simply reliability and availability.
  • Digital transformation means that you are constantly looking at new technologies and new ways of doing business. Develop a relationship with the MSP that allows you to add, delete, or modify the relationship as you move into more digital transformation.
  • Can the MSP act as a consultant, helping you look at new methods of innovation? Are they constantly looking forward to technological developments that can be added to the MSP arrangement?
  • As with any business, is the MSP financially stable? What is their present reputation in your industry?

Any arrangement you have with an MSP should have a time limit. You may not like this idea, but you must consider what happens if the MSP does not deliver what they promise. You have to look at how to migrate to another MSP or bring back the IT functions into your organization. You should also be investigating cloud services that may eliminate some of the services provided by the MSP. Overall, what you really want is a flexible, affordable, contractual arrangement with the MSP.


August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.