DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., June 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Organizations are growing more knowledgeable and comfortable with the concept of managed services and are making more use of the option for their information technology (IT) needs, according to new research released today by CompTIA, the IT industry trade association.
More than two-thirds of the companies surveyed for CompTIA's Fourth Annual Trends in Managed Services Study say they have used the services of an outside IT firm within the past 12 months.
"While one-time projects account for some of these engagements, a significant portion is ongoing management of one or more IT functions by a managed services provider," said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA. "There is a much higher degree of familiarity with the term 'managed services' and greater adoption."
Slightly more than half of respondents claim to be 'very familiar' with the concept of managed services, while another 40 percent say they are somewhat familiar.
Even with this upward momentum, however, the market is still wrestling with the need for an accepted definition of what managed services constitute; a definition that both customers and providers can agree on, according to April.
"The definitional issue is an enormous one," she said. "That's one of the reasons why it's been so difficult to get a market size and adoption rates."
While the number of companies relying on an outside technology provider is growing, the depth of customers' usage is somewhat shallow. Most companies are using an MSP for a singular or a few applications, such as email hosting, customer relationship management (CRM) applications, storage, backup and recovery and network monitoring.
"At the higher end, some are using an MSP for data analytics, business intelligence and advanced application monitoring," April noted.
Six in 10 customers describe their managed services engagement as a collaborative arrangement with their internal IT department.
"Very few companies get rid of their IT staffs because they contract with an MSP," April said. "Especially among larger companies, bringing an MSP on board frees up the IT staff to work on more strategic projects. It elevates the IT staff and brings them out of the shadows within the organization."
Managed services customers are moving beyond simply seeking costs savings to even bigger benefits – becoming more competitive or efficient, for example.
Almost 40 percent of the companies surveyed believe their current IT management methods are working just fine. The remaining 60 percent are still looking for some type of improvement.
"This is an opening for MSPs to expose potential customers to the benefits of managed services or deepen relationships with existing customers," April advised.
CompTIA's Fourth Annual Trends in Managed Services study is based on an online survey of 350 business and IT professionals in the U.S. involved in IT decision making for their organizations.