Why “Managed Services” and “Outsourcing” Are Not Exactly the Same Thing

By | 2016-03-28T08:55:36+00:00 March 28th, 2016|Business, Business Value, Cloud Services, Joint Effort, SaaS, Trending in Tech|Comments Off on Why “Managed Services” and “Outsourcing” Are Not Exactly the Same Thing

Outsourcing is sometimes a four-letter word in business. It can mean many things but is generally connoted with shipping jobs overseas, offshoring, foreign call centers, and, for better or worse, the cheapening of products and services.

It’s important to understand how the managed services model of outsourcing works in order to understand what makes it different from traditional outsourcing.

There are many vendors out there who offer “managed services,” such as the many IT and telecom carriers we partner with here at Network Consulting Group. The difference between a “managed service” and “outsourcing” is namely that the former is a primarily a management tool while the latter is a deployment tool.

This is to say that a managed service provider (MSP) is a specialist that can work in any environment and has the right tools to manage some aspect of your business better than you can yourself. Regardless of what industry you work in, the vendor can integrate into your business. Traditional outsourcing, on the other hand, carries out a specific business function more cheaply or efficiently but doesn’t offer the same consultative function or expertise that a managed service provider generally provides.

Now, if the idea of outsourcing management gives you or your customers pause, consider the ways that an MSP promotes transparency.

Most value-added managed services vendors make an extreme effort at visibility, accountability, and reporting. No, the vendors don’t work out of your office, but they are an extension of your team in every other sense.


Most managed service providers working in the cloud provide visibility with customizable user dashboards when you purchase their technology and services. Many even offer your business remote access and user controls, or even totally self-managed products that you don’t need to host or maintain yourself.

Many customers say that this visibility is one of the most valuable tools provided by managed service providers because you know exactly what you’re spending your money on and how effectively the vendor is doing the job they promised to do. Without it, you’re flying blind.


You can generally count on managed service providers to be upfront and to inform you in a timely manner about changes to their platforms, services, or business structure that directly or indirectly affect your business.


Ask your managed service provider what kind of reporting and auditing they offer. As opposed to real-time visibility you will have with a dashboard, reports will offer you a high-level and historical view of the vendor’s activity and the way it has impacted your business. Often you can generate reports yourself via the dashboard, or the vendor will provide them to you.

If you’re considering managed IT solutions for your own business or recommending them to a customer, reaching out to us is a good place to start. We can help you determine which providers are going to be the best fit, provide quotes, help manage the installation, and troubleshoot any issues that occur. Let us know how we can help!