What is the difference
between IT outsourcing
and Managed Services?

What are your options these days if you want to outsource certain IT tasks or components? And how do you get the greatest added value for your business – with IT outsourcing or with Managed Services?

You thought that Managed Services is exactly the same as outsourcing? Well, it isn't, even though the two terms are often used interchangeably.

The term ‘outsourcing’ has been around since the 1980s and includes just about everything you can outsource to an external party, especially to cut costs. So this could involve, for example, parts of the production process, IT outsourcing or back-office activities such as call centres. With outsourcing, the outsourcer often takes over some of your own staff and the services are often purchased on demand.

Managed Services, on the other hand, is specifically about the outsourcing of (parts of) the IT, based on the business needs. The Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company that remotely manages a customer's IT environment and/or end-user systems on a proactive basis, according to contractually agreed SLAs and for a fixed monthly charge. In this case, the customer draws on the expertise of the employees of the MSP. This means your own staff can be better deployed for the core activity of the company.

Fear of loss of control

People often think that outsourcing involves distant countries, cheaper working conditions and loss of control. This is also the main reason why outsourcing has acquired negative connotations. Belgian companies in the 1990s and 2000s largely outsourced their full IT services to Asian and Eastern European countries, but companies today are increasingly realising that IT is a crucial link in creating competitive advantages.

When you opt for a Belgian Managed Service Provider with local data centres and crystal-clear SLAs, there is no question of loss of control. Moreover, you can be absolutely certain that your data are stored and managed securely within the borders of the European Union and in accordance with the European GDPR regulations. Such an IT partner is always reachable and effectively forms an integral part of your own team. Do you need an expert in a specific area for a large internal project on a temporary basis? This can also be taken care of.

Innovation at your own pace

While IT outsourcing is primarily about saving costs, a Managed Service Provider also provides you with specially tailored strategic technological advice to create a solid, secure and flexible IT foundation for making the most of any new technology whenever the market, your organisation and your customers are ready for it.

The right investment at the best time can give your company a huge boost towards innovation and growth. Quickly buying into every hype is certainly not ideal, but on the other hand postponing crucial steps can sometimes be fatal, if it means you miss the boat and can no longer catch up with your competitors.

Managed Security: your IT in the hands of experts

Outsourcing your IT security gives you more certainty about the continuity of your IT environment. IT security is more complex than ever, partly because of the Modern Workplace where mobile and flexible working are becoming the norm. A Managed Service Provider has all the expertise in-house to optimally secure and then proactively manage your IT environment on a permanent basis. This way, all loopholes are closed and problems are solved remotely even before you experience any disruption.

Conclusion

Will IT outsourcing to Asian and Eastern European countries disappear? Not at all. Outsourcing is especially suited to repetitive tasks that offer little or no added value for the business. Because IT has become a crucial link in creating competitive advantages, companies are increasingly turning to a local Managed Service Provider. In contrast to outsourcing, not only does this ensure the management of your IT environment, but it also helps you to always adapt to the rapid changes in your sector.

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