Managed Services or Staff Augmentation?

When looking to outsource IT and AV tasks within an organization, there are a multitude of possible solutions from which to choose – Managed Services, Staff Augmentation, Contract Services, and many more. Some are temporary solutions, some long term.

But how do you know which is the correct fit?

This article looks at two of the solutions above – Managed Services and Staff Augmentation. It will answer the questions: What are they? How can they help businesses? What are the key benefits of each?

What are Managed Services and Staff Augmentation?

Managed Services

Managed Services are a group of services that are designed to operate autonomously without assistance from an organization’s existing team.  Managed Services are often described as “turnkey” in that they are meant to provide a holistic solution that incorporates all of the activities involved with successful management of the systems such as IT Infrastructure or audiovisual technology in meeting rooms.

The entity responsible for the operation of the Managed Service is the Managed Services Provider (MSP).  The client and the MSP are bound by a contract that defines the specific operational parameters, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Key Performance Indicators) that define the expectations for delivery of the service.

Examples of SLAs include:

  • Percent of service desk calls answered in under 60 seconds
  • Percent of all service requests completed within 24 hours
  • Percent of AV or IT system uptime
  • The utilization rate of resources
  • End-user satisfaction

The goal of the solution: Meet, or exceed, the agreed-upon SLAs.

Staffing: Staffing levels are determined by the MSP to meet the SLAs. The MSP may raise or lower staffing levels as needed to meet the SLAs.

Management: The MSP retains the management of its team to ensure the SLAs are met. The MSP team likely reports results to a client manager, but the day-to-day operations are coordinated by the MSP.

Period of Performance: These engagements tend to be longer-term contracts between the MSP and organization; typically one or more years.

Key Benefits of a Managed Services Solution

Internal Team Prioritization: Outsourcing specific tasks and services alleviates pressure on internal resources. For example, outsourcing AV system maintenance or Level 1 help desk tickets allows the internal IT team to focus on strategic projects.

Futureproofing Resources: MSPs have an inherent incentive to stay up-to-date on technology and best practices. They can improve organizations by applying this knowledge so the internal teams don’t have to add yet another learning objective to their list.

Cost Control: Cost fluctuations for managed services remains low, due to how they are delivered and charged. Organizations can better plan and predict budgetary needs and spend for upcoming years.

Regular maintenance helps extend the life of systems and equipment, reducing the costs of replacing broken or worn-out equipment. Regular upkeep also reduces user downtime, which reduces costs and increases productivity.

Regular system checks and monitoring also allows for planned upgrades and end of life timelines to be developed. Eventually, all systems will need to be replaced. Having plans in place reduces the downtime during these transition periods and helps organizations budget for those upgrades ahead of time.

Data and Metrics: Internal teams can often be incredibly busy. Looking back and analyzing data becomes low on a priority list. MSPs have narrow scopes of specific responsibilities. They have the time and bandwidth to analyze and report on efficiencies implemented, insights gained, and any cost efficiencies realized from the services.

Staff Augmentation

Staff Augmentation is the practice of providing staff resources to organizations that are looking to add to their existing teams. Rapid business growth, staff leaving unexpectedly, or needing extra help for special projects are usual triggers for staff augmentation.

The goal of the solution: Provide staff to assist the organization for a pre-determined amount of time.

Staffing: The team will not vary as the managed services team might. These staffing solutions are agreements around a specific number of resources. Staffing levels are determined by organizations and needs.

Management: The organization will manage the added resources while providing feedback to the provider.

Period of Performance: This type of solution varies based on the needs of the organization. These can be long term or short term engagements. Filling a position may be long term, while projects tend to be short term.

Key Benefits of Staff Augmentation

Cost Control: Much like managed services, costs remain relatively static. The organization can better plan budgets and department spend.

Expertise Without Hiring: Skills and expertise can be added without having to recruit and hire new teammates. This is especially beneficial for short term projects. Other times, internal teams may not have encountered a type of issue before, and staff augmentation can add the necessary skills.

Security: Staff augmentation can bring security to an organization; not in the sense of protecting the business (although staff could be brought in for this task), but surely that projects will be completed. 

Organizations can greatly benefit from a trusted partner when they need one. Unexpected staff or skill gaps can greatly hamper progress on priority projects. Trusted resources can be brought in much more quickly than recruiting and hiring.

Period of Performance: As noted above, staff augmentation may not be a good long term solution. This can be very helpful when for short term projects where hiring a full-time expert does not make sense. Upgrades to facilities or systems are good examples of when extra hands are needed but an added, full-time person would be highly underutilized when the project is done.

The Mechdyne Difference

At Mechdyne, our Technical and IT Services groups are able to provide each of these types of services. Our teams have worked with a wide variety of systems and technologies giving us extensive experience that can benefit organizations greatly. Whether an organization’s audiovisual system needs maintenance or an organization is looking for a new service desk, we are ready to be your service and support partner.

Contact us today for a partner that cares.

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