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What’s The Difference Between Managed IT Services vs. Professional IT Services?

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2024 and filed under

The biggest difference between managed services vs. professional services comes down to the scope of work and how you hire them. Professional services are often on a case-by-case basis, while managed services are an ongoing partnership.

“Most people assume that professional IT services are just any IT service provided by a professional. However, it means something specific. It’s important to realize that so you can be sure to hire the right provider for your needs.”Jim Stackhouse, Founder & Chief Technologist, NeoLore Networks

There’s merit to both service models. It really depends on what you need to get done. It also depends on whether or not you have long-term IT issues that need management or smaller, more specific challenges that only need to be addressed once or twice.

This article will dig into more details. We’ll take a closer look at how each service model works when the right time for a business to hire each is, and what to do if you think you need a combination of both.

What Are Professional IT Services?

Professional IT services are specialized services experts offer to solve specific technology-related business challenges. These services may include strategic consulting, implementing new technologies, enhancing cybersecurity, or developing custom software.

However, professional services are typically limited to the scope of a specific project. If you need further assistance from a professional service provider, you’ll likely have to rehire them. This system can be more cost-effective if you have few IT needs, but it can get expensive quickly if you constantly need additional support.

Why Outsource IT Services Anyway? Here Are Some of The Benefits

What Are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services involve outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities of IT infrastructure to specialized firms. This service model allows businesses to offload IT operations, including network monitoring, data backup, cybersecurity, and technical support, to a team of experts.

Approximately 67% of companies outsource some part of their IT tasks to a managed service provider. That’s because these services offer access to cutting-edge technology and expertise without the cost of maintaining a large in-house IT team. Therefore, it’s an ideal solution for a small business that can’t yet afford an IT department.

When Is The Right Time to Use Managed Services, and Professional Services?

Choosing between managed services and professional services depends on your company’s current needs and long-term technology goals. Managed services are ideal for businesses seeking continuous support and management of their IT infrastructure. Professional services are best when you need specialized expertise for a specific project or challenge.

Based on that, the right choice is usually less about what you’re doing and more about how you’re doing it. For instance, go with professional services if you want someone to quickly perform a lift-and-shift cloud migration. However, choose managed services if you want continuous support during and after the migration.

Here are a few more examples, but please consider your specific needs before you treat these examples as hard rules.

Situation Choose Managed IT Choose Professional Services Either Could Do It
Fully outsourced IT management
Immediate response to a cyber incident
Short-term IT staff augmentation
Routine data backup and disaster recovery
Periodic project-based assistance
Developing and implementing a long-term IT strategy
Compliance and risk management

Managed Services vs. Professional Services: Cost-Benefit Analysis

The ROI of getting IT help speaks for itself. Businesses are more reliant on technology, DDoS attacks doubled in frequency recently, and more workers work remotely. If you’re still unsure how to hire IT services, here’s a simple way to compare the ROI to managed vs. professional IT services.

Here’s a formula.

ROI=(Cost of Investment/Net Benefit)×100

Here is an example with dummy numbers to show you how to use this formula to help yourself make a decision.

Managed IT Service Professional IT Service
  • Total Gains: Increased efficiency and reduced downtime result in $50,000 of added value per year.
  • Total Costs: The service costs $30,000 per year.
  • Net Benefit: $50,000 – $30,000 = $20,000
  • ROI Calculation: ($20,000$30,000)×100=66.67%
  • Total Gains: Completing a system upgrade leads to a one-time boost in productivity valued at $40,000.
  • Total Costs: The project costs $25,000.
  • Net Benefit: $40,000 – $25,000 = $15,000
  • ROI Calculation:
  • ($15,000$25,000)×100=60%

In this example, the managed IT services offer an ROI of 66.67%, indicating that every dollar invested returns about 67 cents in net benefits. In contrast, the professional IT services (project-based) provide a 60% ROI, meaning every dollar invested returns 60 cents in net benefits.

Can You Use Both Managed and Professional Services?

Technically, you could hire both managed and professional services. However, if you’re considering that approach, it’s probably best to just choose managed IT. Most managed IT providers can do many of the same things professional services can, without the need for you to pay two subscription fees to two partners.

Many managed service providers also offer professional services. So, it is possible to ask one for professional services on a short-term basis if that’s what you would prefer. Different providers will have different contractual requirements on this.

Get The Best of Both Whenever You Need It – All You Have to Do Is Ask!

If you’re interested in all of the benefits managed services include, but are hesitant about being locked into a long-term contract, consider NeoLore Networks. We provide all the great things managed IT can while offering contract flexibility. You can opt for a simple 30-day contract if that’s all you need, but we’re willing to go longer too!

Contact us to find out more.