How to get the most from a managed IT services provider

As the managed services provider market matures, CIOs should resist the urge to go with the lowest-cost provider in favor of partners that understand your business and can help you achieve strategic goals.

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Leaning on a managed service provider (MSP) for a subset of your IT services can be a boon. More than just tackling a specific domain such as email hosting or customer relationship management, having an MSP as part of your IT mix can free up internal IT staff for more strategic projects.

But establishing a strong, strategic partnership with your MSP is essential. Here we take a look at the current state of managed IT services, where companies are employing the MSP model and how to get the most of your MSP partnership.

Managed services growth is steady

Managed services comprise the second-most popular business model in the channel today, according to IT industry trade association CompTIA's Fifth Annual Trends in Managed Services study. Three-in-10 MSPs surveyed by CompTIA ranked managed services as the leading generator of revenue in the previous 12 months, second to the 44 percent that pointed to IT solutions (such as projects incorporating hardware, software and services), but ahead of other business model choices like value-added resellers (VARs), IT support, and held desk and consulting services.

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