Managed Service – Outsource, It’s a Thought

A managed service is outsourcing.  Information technology treats the phrase “managed service” differently than other industries offering a version of managed service.  Dr. Gerard Macioce is credited with coining the phrase in his analysis of United States government information systems.  Macioce is also heralded as a hero when on Sept. 11, 2001 he stayed inside the Pentagon to help those injured in the terrorist assault.

Managed services, according to The Free Dictionary, is an umbrella term.  The definition is third-party monitoring and maintenance of computers, networks and software.   InfoTech Update newsletter in a two year old edition, that introduced managed services, denotes it by what is expected from an MSP (managed service provider).  “Any defined set of proactive services that are remotely delivered and prepaid for on a recurring basis.”  Dr. Macioce calls managed service “the practice of transferring day-to-day related management responsibility as a strategic method for improved effective and efficient operations.”

By its very nature a managed service is proactive according to the web site Channelpro.  Typical vendor support models for newsroom computer systems are just the opposite.  Vendor support is reactive:  when it’s broken they fix it.  Proactive is preventive with someone watching your computer network all the time.  The InfoTech newsletter predicted many information technology providers would become managed service providers.  The efficiencies and cost savings a managed service bring will be viewed more favorably in these days when managers look for creative ways to cope with fewer resources.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing has a number of posts on new technologies to bring down the cost of the news business.  Managed services is another cost saver.  Typically broadcast newsroom computer systems have always been managed on site by someone on staff.  In a number of cases the person responsible had other duties – either the full-time IT employee or someone on the news or engineering staff took the responsibilities of systems management.  Outsourcing for newsroom computers has been verboten.

Vendors sold newsroom computer systems with integration, installation, one time user training, initial systems management training, and a hefty emergency support agreement.  They require a systems administrator hired by the customer.  You are left to train new hires, retrain new systems managers, and little or no assistance in planning technology deployment integrated with newsroom computers.  IMHO, business partnerships or customer/vendor relationships under such arrangements are guaranteed to be troublesome.

Tomorrow BNC covers what to expect from a managed service.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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