Managed IT Services vs IT Consulting Services: What’s the Difference?
IT Consulting

Managed IT Services vs IT Consulting Services: What’s the Difference?

In today’s technology-driven business world, your IT infrastructure has a significant impact on the efficiency of your operations and the productivity of your employees. As a result, many businesses now choose to outsource their IT services to third-party providers. Additionally, with the advent of cloud computing, more and more IT services are being provided remotely by these outside vendors.

However, there are several distinct forms of outsourced IT services, each providing different levels of support for handling your business’s technology needs. The two most common types are managed IT services and IT consulting services.

There are several differences between managed IT services and IT consulting services. If you are trying to decide which option is right for your business, you must understand these differences and this blog will give you the clarity to make the right choice.

The Differences Between Managed IT Services & IT Consulting Services

IT Service Provider - Layer One Networks

The Scope of Involvement

What’s the main difference between managed IT services and IT consulting?

It all comes down to how they work. An IT consulting service is a short-term relationship that helps you solve a specific problem. A managed IT service provider, on the other hand, acts as an extension of your business by providing ongoing management and support. 

In many cases, managed services providers will take over management for all aspects of your computer network, from your computers themselves to the network infrastructure to the applications you use. This type of service is to have one service provider responsible for all technical issues related to a company’s computer networks and other technology needs.

On the other hand, with an IT consulting firm, you hire a team to come in for a specific amount of time to complete a project or evaluate a specific area of your business. Once the project is finished or the evaluation is completed, you no longer work with them (although you could hire them later).

The Duration of Services

IT consulting service is a short-term project. Typically, consulting engagements involve a specific problem or opportunity that is solved through research and analysis, planning, strategy development, and implementation. Consulting projects can be as small as a few hours or as large as several months.

On the other hand, managed IT service providers are responsible for handling all aspects of the client’s network, from daily support to long-term planning. The goal is to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently, with as little downtime as possible. In addition to fixing problems when they arise, managed services also include preventative maintenance designed to head off issues before they become a problem.

Proactive vs Reactive Approach

IT managed services can be a more proactive approach to your business’ IT needs. With this approach, you typically outsource all of your IT needs to a third-party vendor or provider who agrees to keep your systems up and running smoothly. This means they are responsible for monitoring and managing your systems on an ongoing basis. 

By continuously monitoring and managing your technology, they keep it running smoothly, so you avoid downtime, data loss, and security breaches. 

With an IT consulting service, the external team will work with you at various points throughout the year to help implement projects and ensure your systems are running smoothly. They often serve as a more reactive approach when something goes wrong.

The Outsourcing Cost

In contrast to traditional on-site services, managed services are proactively provided at a fixed cost. You can agree on a set of tasks that’ll be handled by the outsourced IT provider and decide on a fixed cost for the work. This allows businesses to predict their monthly expenses better and free them up to focus on strategic initiatives.

IT consulting services can also be hired at a fixed cost, but as the scope of the project changes or when the IT consultant needs to get more involved, the project costs can increase.

When Do You Need IT Managed Services?

Managed IT Service - Layer One Networks

This type of service is typically an excellent option for businesses that don’t have time, expertise, or resources to manage their networks. It can also be a cost-effective option because you only pay for what you need. You won’t be paying software licenses, hardware, maintenance, or staffing costs. You will also be able to provide your employees with expert support.

This type of service is usually best suited for companies without an in-house IT department or those who want to outsource their entire technology department.

When Do You Need an IT Consulting Service?

IT Consulting Service - Layer One Networks

You can get the help of an IT consulting firm when you have a specific issue or a project for which you don’t have in-house expertise. Even when you have an IT team ready to work, there can be particular tech gaps that an outsourced consultant can fill. This consultant can get involved in the project in any capacity you require and will then hand over the project to your team once the job gets done. You can get an IT consulting firm to help when you don’t have the technical expertise or hands-on working knowledge to handle certain situations.

Want to hire a skilled team for your managed IT services in Corpus Christi or get guidance from expert consultants? LayerOne Networks has a team of highly-talented and experienced developers, testers, and specialists on various technologies and networks. Get in touch with us to learn more about how our team can help your business.