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Software Distribution: SAAS Model And Managed Services

Software as a service and other web-based solutions are now applied in many business operations. However, there are some drawbacks to the undeniable advantages, especially in some areas. Those who rely on a Managed Service Provider can solve some of them. A company’s IT infrastructure today is, on average, very different from that of 20 years ago. It seems trivial, while it is true that outdated systems are still used in many cases.

For example, the main innovations directed by most of the incentive and support funds offer the company a significant gain inefficiency. In particular, the trend is to free up crucial resources by shifting the management of many operational features to third parties. It can be called outsourcing, but it is not the most accurate term to describe it. It is a somewhat different phenomenon, made possible by two primary factors:

  1. the development of increasingly sophisticated software;
  2. the availability of ultra-fast connections.

The result is that today it is more convenient for a company to outsource strategic functions and operations rather than manage them on its own. The success of the “as a service” model is a direct consequence of this trend: the classic on-premise is less attractive than cloud services and other increasingly efficient and secure web-based solutions. As well as convenient. However, there are pros and cons to adopting this model. When essential functions such as backups, data protection and security are at stake, SAAS-type solutions may not be the most suitable. 

A third way can be that of the MSP, Managed Service Provider. Here, the management of the service is entrusted to an expert operator, the Provider, who makes everything work and solves problems. It is a model that starts from assumptions similar to the SAAS service but develops them differently and can, however, be successfully integrated and solve criticalities of the latter.

The “As A Service” Model And Its Fortunes

SAAS, IAAS, PAAS: acronyms now entirely used in business. Many companies have adopted solutions that refer to it. The premises are common: summarizing, we can say that we offer the rental of a product external to the corporate Infrastructure in place of its purchase with subsequent installation of the same.

The product offered “as a service” can consist of:

  1. An application such as Software as a Service SAAS. This is the classic case of the programs of the Google Apps suite;
  2. A specific infrastructure with the Infrastructure as a Service IAAS. Amazon Web Services is an essential example of this type;
  3. An IT platform as with the Platform as a Service PAAS. Microsoft Azure follows this model.

A common feature of the different types is the dematerialization of the product. This is not physically present on the company servers but is available via the Internet, ready to be used. By using the as-a-service model, the company saves on various fixed costs. For example, he does not have to purchase licenses for installation on different company machines. On the other hand, the subscription formula can be expensive for a long time in terms of costs.

Pros And Cons Of As-A-Service Systems

Therefore, it is clear how the use of this type of solution should be carefully examined. As far as the SAAS model is concerned, the advantages and disadvantages must be evaluated for the concrete need of the company and its Infrastructure. Specifically, the use of programs through SAAS offers undoubted benefits. Between these:

  1. reduced fixed costs of installation and management;
  2. flexibility, with the ability to operate on different operating systems and any device;
  3. continuous updating and improvement of the product, carried out directly by the Provider.

There is no shortage of the critical points of this software distribution. Worth mentioning:

  1. the need for a stable and fast Internet connection;
  2. limited control over some vital functions for a company;
  3. the reduced possibilities of customization and adaptation of many as-a-service products, which sometimes makes their use more complicated;
  4. An assistance service that is often less present.

From this point of view, there is a third solution, which proposes a sort of guided management of products and services. It is a widely used deployment model for some features, such as corporate backups. It is the managed services system, which revolves around the Managed Service Provider MSP figure.

Managed Services And MSP: How It Works

Managed services is a type of distribution for which the supplier, the Provider, takes care of the configuration of the product/service and the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance. The MSP model works particularly well with IT services such as backup or cybersecurity. Still, it is not limited to that and can also integrate and effectively monitor SAAS-type products. In essence, a Managed Service Provider offers its expertise and the product by making it available in a complete package of assistance, monitoring and consultancy.

Thanks to the use of special tools, primarily remote access software, it can, for example, automatically correct any problems without waiting for a call to the help desk. An MSP is not limited to technical assistance: it can also act as a consultant and assist the customer in the correct configuration of the various services. This is one of the reasons why a Managed Services Provider can also be applicable for those who use “as a service” products.

SAAS also has its internal maintenance system, which deals with the release of automatic system updates and fixes. However, they only guarantee the functionality of the specific service offered. On the other hand, an MSP can verify that the particular product used harmonizes well within the company structure, checking compatibility and overall functioning.

MSP: Customer And Provider Benefits

Compared to the “as a service” distribution model, therefore, Managed Services count on some substantial differences. For a company, it can guarantee the same benefits and limit some inconveniences. In particular, some problems of compatibility and correct use can be solved by an MSP because the type of technical assistance is of a higher level. The support is, in fact, of a bold type: this means that we act not on signalling but with constant monitoring of the system.

Although it seems like a costly solution for the Provider, it allows them to optimize their support service, reducing the quantity in favour of quality. For the customer, costs are reduced: in fact, extra expenses for the opening of signalling tickets should not be counted because everything is already included in the usage fee. The advantages of the MSP model are best seen when applied to crucial functionalities in the company, primarily data storage and security services.

In these areas, a “win-win” situation develops: for the Provider, it is possible to offer a service that better meets the needs of its customers and which, overall, rationalizes the resources to be dedicated to each customer. On the other hand, for the client company, complete and constant support is available, and resources and time are freed from the concrete management of applications. The tools for managed services Of course, an MSP must count on adequate monitoring and intervention tools, which help him intervene and correct critical situations.

With a view to managed services, applications are needed to guarantee rapid communications, effective intervention procedures and proper diagnosis functions. The suite offers remote management functions of company machines, rapid communication tools and other tools to monitor the program’s functioning in the company infrastructure. Therefore, for all software distributors, there will be the possibility of operating as a Provider for their customers, offering a more complete and competitive assistance service.


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