The Difference Between Managed Services vs. Professional Services Explained

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Any business can benefit from outsourced IT services. And that’s because outsourced professionals help your company stay ahead, even if you have internal experts. Yet, IT services aren’t one-size-fits-all. It’s important to understand the difference between managed services vs. professional services.

Put simply, professional services are project-based and managed services are ongoing. The two services offer similar solutions but provide them differently. In this sense, it makes more sense to view professional and managed services as part of the same spectrum, not as competitors.

This article will compare professional services vs. managed services and give you some provider selection criteria.


professional services vs. managed services


What are Professional Services?

Companies use professional services for specific, complex tasks as needed. Although they don’t cover the same scope as managed services, their focus can help businesses get more comprehensive solutions to specific challenges.

Practices vary between professional service organizations (PSOs). Yet, the goal of maximizing the value of your project or offering the best solution to your challenge remains the same.

For instance, if your PSO is helping you implement a new software tool, they may meet this goal by:

  1. Providing an initial consultation post-purchase
  2. Guiding you through its onboarding process
  3. Facilitating product adoption across your organization


What Should I Look for in Professional Services Firms?


1. Relevant Experience

One of the main reasons why companies hire PSOs is for specialized assistance with niche challenges. So, it’s crucial to choose a professional service that understands your specific project.

For example, if you’re planning a big cloud migration project, seek a PSO with cloud computing experience.


2. Good Communication

Professional services don’t usually provide a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Therefore, it may not always be clear what they are doing. For this reason, seek a PSO with good communication skills to avoid silos or redundancy.


3. Flexibility

Even though they remain within the scope of one project, a good PSO should adapt to your project’s changing needs. Prioritize those who mold with your changes instead of forcing you to change for them.


4. A Good Track Record

PSOs have a short relationship with their clients. So, they may not prioritize relationship building the way a managed service provider would. Check references, case studies, or speak to your colleagues to avoid professional service solutions with poor client service skills


Professional Services Firms


What are Managed Services?

Comparatively, a company would hire managed services to delegate their team’s day-to-day responsibilities. This lets them focus on core aspects of business operations, instead of on tedious manual tasks.

Most managed service providers (MSPs) take a holistic approach that covers everything in your infrastructure. However, there are some that focus their efforts on one specific area, such as cybersecurity or technical support.

Pricing models vary between providers. Yet, many business owners prefer an MSP’s predictable costs over the potentially fluctuating costs of IT support – even if the latter has a lower upfront cost. This is because the predictable model helps you budget in advance.


Find Out More About JCM Telecom’s Managed IT Services

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What Should I Look for in a Managed Services Provider (MSP)?


1. Scalability

Look for an MSP that can grow with your business. Such MSPs will adapt to your changing requirements without requiring additional resources. This helps you to stay agile while keeping IT costs under control.


2. Security

Your MSP partner will have access to your data. So, you need one that prioritizes information security. Cybersecurity-savvy MSPs can also help you keep your IT operations compliant with industry regulations, create data backups, and perform 24/7 network monitoring.

Business trends indicate that it’s worth the investment. Studies indicate that 43% of all SMB cybersecurity spending goes towards MSPs who cover security tasks.


3. Proactive Service

MSPs are known for prioritizing proactive service over the break-fix approach. There’s a good reason for this. The break-fix approach only addresses problems after they occur, leading to longer downtime, higher costs, and potential data loss.

Proactive service prevents these problems from ever happening in the first place. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about any of those potential side effects.


4. Transparency

Transparency leads to a better working relationship, improved trust, and better overall satisfaction. Ask your potential MSP partner lots of questions at your discovery call. Avoid candidates who shy away from your questions or provide hollow answers.


Read More About IT Services


Professional Services vs. Managed Services

For a quick reference, consult the following table that highlights the key differences between managed and professional services.


Managed Services

Professional Services

Ongoing support for your entire infrastructure Short-term support for individual projects
Broad scope of service Focused scope of service
Bill using a regular subscription model Bill on a project-by-project basis (fixed fee or hourly)
Ongoing partnership for current and future needs Hired on an as-needed basis
Best for companies that need regular IT support Best for companies that need one-time help with specific challenges


Get Both Managed and Professional Services From One Trusted Partner


Managed and Professional


Although the services are two parts of a whole, many providers only offer one or the other. This can be frustrating when your business requires both.

JCM Telecom offers both managed IT and professional services. When you partner with us, you can get both services from the same trusted provider.

Alongside professional and managed IT services, JCM Telecom also offers:

  • Fiber optic internet services
  • CCTV camera, cabling, and maintenance services
  • VOIP phone installation and support

Contact us today to learn more about the considerable ROI we deliver to all of our clients.


Scale Your IT Operations with JCM Telecom:

IT Consulting 

IT Support 

Cyber Security 

IT Outsourcing