By Hemant Harie, Managing Director at Gabsten Technologies
When it comes to managing and maintaining an IT environment rich in data, many businesses engage with a partner to provide a ‘managed service’. This service outsources the management and maintenance of the data environment to a trusted partner. On top of this, there are also professional services that organisations can avail themselves to. However, there is often confusion as to why professional services are needed when managed services are already in place. The reason is simple – they are not the same thing. Professional services and managed services serve entirely different functions when it comes to managing data and having both can offer a number of benefits.
For business, the lines are often blurred between managed and professional services because many providers in the data management space offer both. Because the difference may not be clearly defined upfront, when additional professional services are suggested on top of a managed service, this is often met with resistance.
However, in practice they are separate and distinct offerings – a managed service is an operational and administrative function, whereas professional services are project-based. A managed service is a request-based service delivery, for example ongoing management and maintenance of a backup environment, or the daily operations of a data management service. A professional service, on the other hand, is a shorter, fixed-term engagement with a consultancy-based approach, such as the implementation of a new backup service or the migration from an on-premises backup solution to one in the cloud.
Professional services can be used on their own, but they can also work in tandem with managed services to provide expertise to optimise the environment by improving efficiencies, functionalities and compliance, to ensure the business’s data environment is leveraged to extract maximum value. Professional services like this are not typically offered as part and parcel of a managed services agreement, so when these project-based deliverables are required, a new agreement is necessary on top of the existing managed service contract.
When a skilled set of resources is required that is focused on delivering high-quality operational tasks, such as managing and administrating a backup solution, then what is required is a managed service. Professional services can be layered on top of this to look at how the data management environment can be enhanced, optimised and improved. The two services can and do augment each other, with professional services guiding the managed service in terms of latest best practice, and managed services guiding the professional services in terms of solutions that are required or not.
The bottom line
It’s important to note that professional services are not the same as managed services and vice versa. They serve different purposes, but both are beneficial, and they can also work together to improve backup, recovery and data management capability. They are focused services that complement existing IT resources, and both prove to be immensely valuable.