As our market becomes more and more saturated with “Managed Service Providers” I find myself struggling to believe that a one/two-man shop can be a true managed service provider.  AndersonPC has been working this business model since 2007 and has just recently felt like we’ve developed the correct infrastructure, process, procedures, and product offerings to truely call ourselves a Managed Service Provider.

I suppose the basic level of Managed Services can be defined by wikipedia:

“Managed services is the practice of transferring day-to-day related management responsibility as a strategic method for improved effective and efficient operations.  The person or organization who owns or has direct oversight of the organization or system being managed is referred to as the offerer, client, or customer.  The person or organization that accepts and provides the managed service is regarded as the service provider.”

To me, this definition just defines IT Outsourcing at its basic level.  Is that all that MSP’s (Managed Service Providers) do?   Are we just and IT Outsource provider standing under a different tent?

I suppose the question is:  how do I define managed services?  It seems to me its got to be much more than just IT Outsourcing.

I believe Managed Service Providers should have at least following services:

  1. Full IT Management
  2. An Accountability System that requires the provider prove each month their work.
  3. RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) like n-central from
  4. PSA (Professional Service Automation) tool like Autotask.
  5. Integration of toolsets that allow information shared across platforms.
  6. Flat-fee IT Services (not averages of spending but defined services)
  7. Definition of Services
  8. Vendor Management
  9. Guaranteed Response based upon criticalities
  10. Guaranteed Uptimes with Penalty

While its not required that all these services are provided in house, its critical that a wide-range of services be provided to cover the needs of your client base.

Recently I’m running up against competition that are one-two man shows, have RMM and Fixed-Fee in place, and somehow believe that makes them a Managed Services Provider.  They lack the accountability component, lack true integration amongst tools, and don’t have the staff required to actually respond to the needs of the client and RMM alerts.  Without those components you lack key instruments in a Managed Services Business model.

I’m sure each company and parts of the industry would define managed services differently, however, there are key components that must be included in any definition.  Whatever your definition, the business model works when developed and deployed properly.  It’s here to stay and there is still room for a break/fix model.  I believe it is being pushed down the food chain to the SOHO business space.  SMB’s need MSP’s to be productive and competitive.


Paul Anderson
Paul AndersonFounder & President
During his senior year at Chapman University, Paul Anderson founded ApexMicro in 1996 as an online computer hardware store.  That business eventually evolved into AndersonPC, a technology consulting firm specializing in delivering Managed IT services.  Along with other community involvement, Paul was elected to the Nevada State Assembly in 2012.