Which Is Best? Software-As-A-Service (Saas) or Outsourced Managed IT Services

Organizations that do not invest in their IT infrastructure, personnel, and process (unlocking new IT capabilities as they become available) typically see a degradation in financial performance and efficiency over time.

Companies must ask themselves: Are we prepared to make the necessary investments in IT to keep up with our competitors?

And, if so, what is the best way to proceed?

That is where many companies often find themselves at a crossroads.

Most owners, CEOs, and executives are likely asking themselves the same questions in regards to their IT strategies:

Should I implement an in-house IT operation?

Should I outsource to a Managed IT Services provider?

Should I manage IT via software-as-a-service (SaaS)?

Should I outsource everything to a Managed IT Services provider?

Alternatively, should I take a hybrid approach?

IT Support Houston: Finding the Right Solution

There is no "one size fits all" approach when it comes to selecting the perfect IT services solution. It is vital for every business to carefully consider their own needs, strengths, and weaknesses of each option before making an informed and accurate decision.

Factors such as:

  • Network complexity

  • Existing IT infrastructure

  • Internal processes and personnel

  • IT goals and aspirations

Not all companies' core competencies, goals, and existing IT infrastructure are the same, and there are some different paths and outcomes to consider when an organization finds itself in need of improved IT capabilities and performance.

So, what factors are essential when it comes to choosing an in-house, SaaS, or Managed IT Services Provider?

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What You Should Know

The benefits of going with a managed IT services provider (MSP) are many. However, it always comes down to the bottom line.

How can managed IT services save your company money without compromising on the IT support necessary for your business to run at peak performance?

This is achieved through specialization.

Software-As-A-Service (SaaS)

The software-as-a-service model, or commonly referred to as SaaS may be a good fit for companies that have a commitment to fully staff their IT team but have hit entitlement on their performance capability and need technology to get them to the next level.

In other words, the firms that will get the most value out of a SaaS model are likely those with existing IT infrastructure. The value of a SaaS environment is the ability to gain access to a wide variety of software and cloud-based applications without having to make a significant IT investment. Companies don’t have to purchase software licenses or “seats,” and don’t have to expend valuable staff time installing software to each piece of hardware. More importantly, companies also won’t have to carefully manage each piece of software, including different versions on different hardware, interoperability, and obsolescence.

Software As A Service (SaaS) Illustration

SaaS allows companies to skip the headache associated with traditionally managing software in-house. Better yet, SaaS does not require up-front capital investment minimizing the overall impact of an operational transition including staff downtime.

However, the SaaS model is only a partial IT solution that solely attends to a business’s software needs. It does not take into account a company’s potential IT hardware, infrastructure, operations, management, security, and personnel needs. That’s where a Managed IT Service (MITS) model differs from a SaaS model.

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Managed IT Services (MITS)

A Managed IT Service provider provides IT industry expertise, proven processes, and pre-built IT infrastructure that can help by maximizing the benefits of cutting-edge technology and driving meaningful, sustainable benefits beyond what an individual company can achieve on its own.

Collaboration with a third-party IT services provider, and leveraging its extensive skills and talent can provide numerous optimization and cost saving benefits.

First and foremost, Managed IT Services provide owners and CEOs peace of mind knowing that knowledgeable IT professionals will be handling all aspects of their important but sometimes byzantine IT systems, operations, and infrastructure.

Managed IT Services also ensures that a business's IT system is always up-to-date, secure, and interoperable (no more lost productivity because one person’s software or application is a different version than another person’s).

Results from a Managed IT Services model can be realized immediately and scales well with time. Smaller companies and startups gain affordable access to a wealth of IT expertise and professional services without the burden of hiring their own extensive in-house IT departments. Meanwhile, growing and established companies don’t have to worry about managing increasingly complex IT networks and operations as their businesses expand and evolve.

Remember, under a Managed IT Services approach, most if not all aspects of a company’s IT operations, including infrastructure, software, networks, security, operations, and maintenance, to name a few everyday IT tasks, can be handled by an experienced and knowledgeable provider. It is not uncommon for a Managed IT Service provider to also implement a SaaS software strategy as a part of their overall package.

What About a Hybrid IT Services Approach?

A hybrid approach to Managed IT Services is a viable option.

Companies can choose to outsource part, most, or all of their IT operations and the supply chain to a Managed IT Service provider. A company could, for example, implement a SaaS strategy for their software needs while engaging a Managed IT Services provider in managing its IT operations, infrastructure, and security.

Most Managed IT Service providers offer their services a la carte. Alternatively, for business owners and CEOs who prefer to outsource their IT entirely to focus on core business dealings, some Managed IT Service providers can even provide unlimited comprehensive IT services for a monthly fee.

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The Key to a Successful Managed IT Services Relationship

The most important aspect of a successful managed services relationship is transparency and open communication. The right provider should be focused both strategically and tactically. This is an ongoing partnership, and companies must realize that even after outsourcing specific IT tasks and processes to a third party provider, they will still need to stay engaged in their IT operations.