Managed Service vs Professional Service: The Major Differences

Share this:

As the importance of technology in the workplace increases, businesses are continuously investing in new tools and resources to establish a modern digital workplace for their employees, enhance the customer experience, and prepare for future growth. 

However, a common obstacle many organizations face is a lack of resources within their in house team to manage the day to day maintenance of all the different tools and technologies in their tech stack. After all, designing, implementing, and supporting IT solutions can quickly become a huge burden for businesses that lack technical IT staff. This is most often the case with small and medium sized businesses, but enterprise organizations can struggle with this as well. 

As a result, IT outsourcing is a popular option for companies of all sizes and industries. Two of the most common types of IT outsourcing are managed and professional services, and while they are closely related, it’s important to understand how they differ.

Managed Services vs Professional Services

If IT outsourcing seems like the right choice for your business, the next question is whether you should opt for professional services or managed services. This blog will compare the differences between both services and help you decide which is the best fit for your business requirements.

Managed IT Services

At a high level, managed services are an ongoing support package offered by a third-party service provider that is tailored to fit an organization’s IT needs. There is a wide variety of managed services including network monitoring and operations, cybersecurity, cloud infrastructure, business continuity, and more. 

One of the biggest advantages of managed services is that the managed service provider (MSP) provides 24/7 monitoring and maintenance of critical systems and technologies. This enables an organization’s internal teams to focus on more strategic, revenue-generating projects. Additionally, MSPs must adhere to strict service level agreements (SLA), so you can ensure quick response times and system availability. 

A small business with no in house expertise or budget for a dedicated IT team can benefit from managed services, as it is a more cost-effective approach when you consider the overhead it takes – including salary, benefits, training, etc. – to support a full-time hire. Enterprise organizations often leverage managed services to supplement their internal IT team or outsource only one component of their IT solution, such as cybersecurity.

How to Choose a Managed IT Services Provider


Get the Checklist

Professional Services

Professional services can be the ideal solution for an organization that is faced with specific challenges, whether it be a lack of resources, budget constraints, or technology issues. Another scenario where a business may utilize professional services is if they’re undertaking a large or dedicated project, such as a hardware or software deployment, cloud migration, data backup or data recovery, or opening a new office location.

Staffing firms will typically offer various delivery models depending on the length of your engagement, including contract and contract-to-hire. If you are seeking to fill an extremely niche role, some firms will even source and place full-time resources for your organization. 

If you’re in a position where you constantly need IT resources, you might consider a Vendor of Record (VOR) agreement with a provider to improve efficiency and ease of procurement. 

If you opt to use professional services for your business, you will want to ask your provider who is responsible for managing the resource. With a managed professional services model, the service provider will manage the resource and oversee their activity, but if the resource is being used on more of a project basis, the organization may assume these duties.


Interested in IT outsourcing for your business? Check out these blogs:


Professional vs Managed Services

In summary, the biggest difference between managed services and professional services is the nature in which the services are performed. Managed services are delivered on an ongoing basis, while professional services are often times short term and/or project based and involve a one-time cost. 

It is possible – likely, even – that organizations can benefit from both managed and professional services to achieve business goals. Knowing this, it is best to find a service provider that has the capabilities to offer each option. 

Buchanan Technologies has been providing customized IT solutions and staffing expertise to SMB and enterprise clients across the globe for 30+ years. If your organization needs supplemental support, or you are seeking a partner to manage your technology infrastructure, get in touch with our team today.

Interested in Managed Services for Your Organization?

Contact Buchanan Today.