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Managed services vs professional services: understanding the differences

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Updated on:
June 10, 2024
June 10, 2024
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Managed Services and Professional Services are like two different flavors of IT help. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are the folks you call for ongoing IT support—think of them as your IT guardians on a contract. They handle the day-to-day tech stuff, keeping servers running and networks safe.

Flip the coin, and you’ve got IT Professional Services. These are the project heroes, swooping in with their tech superpowers for one-off projects. They’re all about that specialized know-how, tackling things like project management or IT outsourcing.

Introduction to managed and professional services


Managed services and Professional services are like the dynamic duo for businesses drowning in tech tasks. MSPs are the outsourcing wizards, offering up services like network security and server maintenance on a contract basis. They let businesses breathe easy and focus on what they do best.

Then there’s IT Professional Services, the project-based pros. They lend their tech expertise for stuff like project management and IT support. This third-party help is a lifesaver for companies needing a quick tech fix.

Definition of managed services

Managed Services are your IT stress-relievers, outsourcing stuff like IT support and server maintenance on a contract. Delivered by MSPs—these are the trained IT pros with the magic touch for boosting efficiency and keeping data safe.

The cool thing about Managed Services is they take the IT load off businesses. This means companies get top-notch tech solutions and project management skills without having to hire a bunch of in-house geeks. It’s all about letting businesses focus on their main game.

Definition of professional services

Professional Services is the umbrella term for all sorts of project-based IT support gigs. It’s all about lending technical expertise in areas like server maintenance or network security. Whether it’s IT pros, MSPs, or outsourced to a third-party service, they’re there to give you the tech boost you need.

The big goal of IT Professional Services is to dish out functional IT solutions. Whether it’s routine maintenance or full-blown project management, they’re all about using tech to make businesses run smoother and grow faster.

Understanding managed services

Managed services mean outsourcing your IT headaches to third-party pros known as MSPs. These tech wizards whip up comprehensive solutions like server maintenance, network security, and regular check-ups. Their services, whether project-based or on contract, pack a punch with their technical smarts and project management skills.

This setup lets businesses zero in on their main hustle, while the IT support crew keeps the systems purring. So, IT Professional Services are the behind-the-scenes heroes, cutting costs and cranking up efficiency.

Key features of managed services

Managed Services is the proactive side of IT outsourcing, usually dished out by MSPs. It’s about constant IT support, keeping up with maintenance, and guarding your network, all thanks to reliable IT pros. The services can be tailored, project-based or contract-based, to fit what your business needs.

Key features include dishing out tech solutions, keeping servers in tip-top shape, and managing projects. IT Professional Services take on these tasks to keep your organization’s IT service solid. The tech expertise from these pros means your business keeps humming along without a hitch.

Benefits of managed services

Managed Service Providers are like the Swiss Army knife of IT benefits. They’ve got the whole package—IT support, outsourcing, and professional services. From server upkeep to network security, these tech experts have got it covered. Their contract-based, third-party service lets companies focus on their core stuff while the IT tasks are in good hands.

This model’s got perks like regular maintenance and project management, plus project-specific tech solutions. In the end, managed services mean businesses get top-tier IT service and tech smarts without the cost of an in-house IT army.

Examples of managed services: Microsoft Azure, AWS Managed Services

Microsoft Azure and AWS Managed Services are the poster kids for Managed Services. These IT Professional Services help businesses big time, offering a whole menu of tech solutions, including IT support, server maintenance, and network security. They’re all about contract-based services from IT pros who really know their stuff.

Plus, these third-party service providers make sure everything’s running smoothly with routine maintenance and project-based IT outsourcing. MSPs like Microsoft Azure and AWS Managed Services are becoming must-haves for lots of companies, handling complex IT setups and saving time and money.

Understanding professional services


Professional Services in IT are the bread and butter for tech-savvy businesses. They’re like a Swiss Army knife, offering everything from IT support to server maintenance, and network security. It’s like having your cake and eating it too; these services can be tailored as project-based or contract-based, fitting client needs like a glove and sometimes bringing third-party service providers into the mix.

Key services are all about IT outsourcing to Managed Service Providers, who whip up offsite technology solutions like a master chef. Their routine maintenance and project management are the secret sauce to perks like shaving costs and cranking up system efficiency. With their tech wizardry, these services dish out a full menu of IT Professional Services for businesses to feast on.

Key features of professional services

Professional Services strut their stuff with IT pros who are ready to tackle diverse IT service needs. They’re not one-trick ponies; they’re versatile, working on a project or contract basis, where their tech chops are put to good use for gigs like IT support, server maintenance, and keeping the digital fort secure. IT Professional Services often roll out the red carpet for third-party service or IT outsourcing to Managed Service Providers for top-notch tech solutions.

These pros are the MVPs in areas like routine maintenance for smooth business sailing, project management for hitting deadlines out of the park, and setting up a network security fortress for keeping data safe and sound. They’re hotshots at offering bendy, scalable, and wallet-friendly IT solutions that fit businesses like a tailored suit.

Benefits of professional services

Diving into IT Professional Services is like hitting the jackpot. Bringing IT pros on board for IT support services lets companies snag specific skills and tech smarts, covering all the bases from server maintenance to network security. This keeps the IT backbone strong and current, dodging system crash landings.

IT Professional Services are not just a one-size-fits-all; they’re more like a choose-your-own-adventure, with project-based and contract-based options. This means businesses can cherry-pick services that hit the spot. Plus, farming out IT services to third-party hotshots or managed service providers lets businesses zero in on what they do best, keeping productivity and profits on the up and up.

Having an in-house IT crew for the daily grind or big projects can cost a pretty penny and eat up the clock. But outsourcing? That’s like having a tech genie without burning through cash. So, IT outsourcing? It’s a no-brainer for penny-wise businesses.

Examples of professional services: IBM professional services, Deloitte consulting

IBM Professional Services and Deloitte Consulting are the big kahunas of professional services. They roll out the red carpet of comprehensive tech solutions, tapping into the brainpower of IT pros. These giants serve up both project-based and contract-based help, covering the whole nine yards from server maintenance, IT support, to network security.

These pro services often play the field with third-party service providers like Managed Service Providers. They’re the heavy lifters, taking on the nitty-gritty like routine maintenance and project management, freeing up businesses to strut their stuff in their main arena. IT Professional Services are often the unsung heroes behind the scenes, making sure the IT show goes on without a hitch.

Comparing managed services and professional services

Managed Services and Professional Services both offer essential technology solutions but operate differently. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer IT support on a contract-based model, mainly focusing on routine server maintenance, network security, and other ongoing IT service needs. 

They act as a third-party service performing functions similar to an in-house IT department. Typical services include:

  • Network security
  • Server maintenance
  • Routine IT support

On the other hand, IT Professional Services provide project-based solutions, using their technical expertise for projects like system implementation or project management. IT outsourcing in this way offers access to a team of IT professionals for specific, short-term tasks that require specialist knowledge.

Service delivery: managed services vs professional services

Managed services refer to contract-based IT services provided by third-party service providers, which mainly involve routine maintenance like server maintenance and network security. These Managed Service Providers deliver continuous IT support and technology solutions to businesses, significantly cutting down the necessity for IT professionals on-site.

On the other hand, IT Professional Services are largely project-based, requiring technical expertise and project management by IT professionals. These services are useful to businesses for developing and implementing advanced solutions that are commonly beyond the reach of routine maintenance. 

Both Managed Services and Professional Services have their specific roles in IT outsourcing, depending upon the business requirements.

Cost implications: managed services vs professional services


Managed Service Providers (MSP) typically offer contract-based technology solutions, including IT support, server maintenance, and network security. This can be a more cost-effective option as MSPs provide routine maintenance and technical expertise through an all-inclusive monthly or annual fee.

In contrast, IT Professional Services are usually project-based. IT professionals offer specialized project management and third-party service for particular IT service tasks. While this can provide a high level of expertise for specific projects, the cost can be higher compared to MSPs, especially if continuous IT outsourcing is required.

Scope and flexibility: managed services vs professional services

Managed Services and Professional Services both offer crucial IT support but differ in their scope and flexibility. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) primarily offer routine services like server maintenance and network security through a contract-based, third-party service. This provides businesses with consistent IT outsourcing for day-to-day technologies solutions and technical expertise.

On the other hand, IT Professional Services are more project-based, bringing together a team of IT professionals to tackle specific projects. They handle everything from project management to delivering the final product, offering flexibility to businesses looking for specific, short-term solutions.

Choosing between managed services and professional services

Choosing between Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and IT Professional Services often depends on your company's unique needs. MSPs offer contract-based, routine maintenance like server maintenance and network security, ideal for businesses desiring continuous IT support. Technical expertise are also provided that resolves any third-party service issues, promoting smooth business operations.

Meanwhile, IT Professional Services revolve around project-based IT service, perfect for organizations working on time-bound projects. It utilizes the skills of IT professionals specializing in project management and technology solutions. Whether opting for IT outsourcing or retaining an in-house team, it's crucial to select the service type that aligns with your corporate objectives.

When to choose managed services

Managed Services should be considered when your organization needs continuous IT support, server maintenance, and network security. This is particularly useful if you lack the in-house technical expertise, or your IT professionals are overwhelmed with project-based tasks.

Relying on a Managed Service Provider allows for contract-based IT outsourcing, providing technology solutions and routine maintenance without burdening your existing staff. This third-party service can also provide project management for more complex IT initiatives. IT Professional Services provide expertise and ongoing support, ensuring your technology infrastructure runs smoothly and securely.

When to choose professional services

Choosing professional IT services becomes essential when your business requires project-based IT support, network security, or server maintenance. Here are key points to consider:

  • Engaging contract or project-based third-party service can provide cost-effective solutions and facilitate better project management.
  • IT Professional Services or Managed Service Providers offer the advantage of accessing advanced technology solutions and high-level technical expertise without incurring the cost and commitments of permanent in-house IT professionals.
  • Entrusting IT outsourcing for routine maintenance can also ensure that your organization can focus on core business operations while ensuring uninterrupted IT support.

When to choose project management services

Link to Resourcing

Choosing project management services is ideal when an organization aims to achieve project goals and objectives within scope, time, and budgetary constraints. Choosing project management services like Bonsai is crucial for managing professional services with finesse. Bonsai offers a centralized platform for task management, time tracking, and financial oversight, which are essential for professional service delivery. It enables managers to allocate resources efficiently, track project progress, and maintain budget control.

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Transitioning between managed and professional services

Switching from Managed Service Providers to IT Professional Services is like changing gears. While you keep the server humming and the network safe, IT pros jump in with project-specific tech fixes. They bring the project management muscle, a change-up from the usual contract-based help you get from MSPs.

Sometimes, businesses go for IT outsourcing to tap into that deep well of tech expertise. The shift puts a spotlight on project management and steps away from the everyday server upkeep. IT service wizards make sure this switch-up goes smoothly, keeping your network security tight.

Transitioning from professional services to managed services

Going from Professional Services to Managed Services can give your business’s IT setup a major upgrade. It’s like moving from a just-in-time fix to a full-time tech guardian. This switch cuts down on tech hiccups and beefs up your network security.

Managed Service Providers come packed with solid tech solutions and a crew of seasoned IT pros. They’ve got you covered with regular server check-ups, IT support, and even IT outsourcing. This model hooks companies up with high-level tech know-how, routine maintenance perks, and sharper project management skills.

Transitioning from managed services to professional services

Shifting from Managed Services to IT Professional Services means going from regular check-ups to full-on project support. It’s a hands-on move that calls for more tech savvy, often with a side of third-party help. IT pros are key players in this switch, handling the complex project management and tech solutions that come with it.

This change also means going from contract-based tasks to project-focused ones, covering everything from server maintenance to network security. IT outsourcing can smooth out this transition, leaning on the experience of Managed Service Providers to move seamlessly to IT Professional Services.

Conclusion: managed services vs professional services

Wrapping up, both Managed Services and Professional Services are big-time helpers in keeping IT operations running strong. Managed Services, dished out by Managed Service Providers, are all about giving you non-stop IT support—like routine maintenance, server care, and keeping your network safe. They’re usually on a contract and work like a well-oiled machine, making daily ops a breeze.

Then you’ve got IT Professional Services, where IT pros dive deep with project-based work. They use their tech smarts to handle serious project management and cook up specific tech solutions. This might come into play when you’re rolling out a new system or need a third-party service. The best pick between managed services and professional services really depends on what your business needs.

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