Traditional Managed Services vs Escalation Services

Choosing the right level of support for your business

A compelling case for appointing a traditional Managed Service Provider (MSP) is that by outsourcing burdensome or repetitive tasks, IT departments are free to focus on core business functions. However, since the arrival of Cloud, many of these tasks have either evolved into applications, become someone else’s responsibility or retired altogether. Thereby, shifting the case for a MSP in Cloud toward the administering of more complex services, driving adoption, providing access to domain knowledge and efficiency building.

Traditional Managed Services

A traditional IT support model is built around “keeping the lights on” as engineers tend to a fleet of physical servers that require constant upkeep to ensure their continued function. Typical tasks include replacing failed hardware, respond to monitoring alerts, swapping backup tapes etc.

Although some businesses may need to keep a degree of on-premises presence for desktop and edge computing needs, Cloud has largely alleviated an organisation’s need for traditional support by shifting the responsibility nearly entirely onto the Cloud provider. However, by doing so, Cloud has created a different set of needs for businesses and an opportunity for MSPs to evolve services to meet them.

Escalation Services explained

Irrespective of size or industry, any IT department has one main goal: ensuring the continuity of high-value critical services. The introduction of Cloud has meant how organisations achieve this has changed and with it, the function of an MSP.

With the introduction of any new technology stack, it is not uncommon for an organisation to lack adequate expertise in-house to solve complex problems that may arise and/ or to plot a path toward greater adoption. Cloud is no exception. Whilst many functions have been made easier in Cloud, the advent of micro-services and platform specific rules can make it extremely difficult to pin-point where something went wrong, let alone, how to have prevented it. For this reason, when it comes to support (or Managed Services) in Cloud, organisations are looking for access to a higher tier of expertise which, given the breadth of Cloud, the right Subject Matter Expert (SME) can be difficult to find. Add to this an on-demand requirement and the ability to escalate in the event of an emergency and it’s no surprise traditional support just doesn’t fit the mould.

For Cloud domain expert support available on demand 24/7, organisations turn to a level 3/4 escalation service provider. Escalation Services enhance and ‘bolt-on’ to a business’ existing IT support function by providing access to senior, specialised subject matter experts within a guaranteed timeframe. In this sense, Escalation Services offer a shared responsibility model for the technology that drives a business, layering in additional monitoring, security and redundancy as required.

Five advantages of an escalation service

1. Subject matter expertise: deep domain expertise is key to successful cloud management yet can be difficult to recruit and expensive to retain in-house. The value of the level 3 escalation service is its ongoing access to a wide range of relevant disciplines within a team of experienced subject matter experts. Experts that are not only there when things go wrong but proactively planning so they don’t!

2. On-demand: No more waiting for MSPs to arrange a SME weeks after help is needed. An escalation services provider facilitates priority access to the required expert when they’re needed, no delays.

3. Shared responsibility model: an escalation services provider takes on shared responsibility for the environment, leading to broader and deeper coverage. Typically this means the business handles the routine works and escalates complex issues to the service provider.

4. Economies of scale: access to world-leading technology and features means reliability and flexibility when operational needs demand a digital pivot or new capability. Level 3 escalation eliminates the need to hire a team of specialists to implement and manage cutting edge digital products. Reach any geographic location or global market without the need to start from scratch. You don’t purchase equipment, licenses, or hire experts, but subscribe to each at a fraction of the cost.

5. Reduced risk: maintain business operations and service continuity with more proactive and knowledgeable support. Cloud and hybrid environments can be more vulnerable because of the ease of making changes at scale, promulgating insecure configurations. Imagine leaving a vulnerability in a system and then copying that issue in every subsequent system deployed. Escalation Services aids in addressing and avoiding these vulnerabilities by augmenting existing systems with further layers of process and control.

A dedicated team of experts on demand

Cloud has brought with it a new breed of Managed Service Provider. As the ‘keeping the lights on’ tasks attributed to traditional managed services has become the responsibility of the Cloud provider, businesses can confidently place this in these capable hands of the billion-dollar hyperscaler’s of the world.

However, the rise of any new technology often means the skills to resolve complex problems or maximise an organisations investment are at a premium. With Cloud making more things possible for businesses than ever before, ensuring IT departments have access to domain experts capable of solving problems, preventing issues and setting a path for growth is essential for organisations truly committed to digital transformation.

L3 escalations services are for those businesses. A shared support model whereby internal departments focus on the specific needs of the business with the assurance that a Cloud expert is only a phone call away. L3 escalation services are what many hybrid cloud and cloud-based organisations are turning to for a dedicated team of experts on demand, ready to clear complex roadblocks and help set the course to do more with less, in Cloud.

If you would like to learn more about how an L3/4 Escalation Service can work for your business, feel free to visit Managed Services by Azured


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Anthony is an Architect with over 10 years of experience helping clients realise the most value from Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and EMS....