So a brief explanation, a managed service provider (MSP) is someone or a company that you outsource your ICT business components and they looks after it for you. The two important components of an MSP contract is that it has a single base cost and you have a higher level of support for your infrastructure. Some MSP have additional costs but these are usually covered in the shined contract called a service level agreement.
That is the basic idea behind the MSP business but if done correctly a good MSP can transform your business. I know that sounds like marketing and sales hype but it is true if you enter into the correct contract with a good MSP.
How would a MSP do that? At the most basic level a contract with an MSP allows you, as the business owner or manager, to concentrate on your core business. You no longer need to balance core business with keeping the business running. The MSP would keep you informed of what your infrastructure was doing and to act as help desk and monitoring and reporting component. This removes these components from the worry of your normal business requirements.
The MSP should allow anyone in your business, no matter where they are, to call the help desk during working hours and you know that they will get the best available support. It would also include a high level of proactive support so that little problems are rectified well before they become noticeable.
A spin off from the employment of a MSP is that because you know have experts managing your business systems the complicated business infrastructure now becomes a whole lot simpler. It also allows for sound advice and information to flow between management / owner and the MSP thus helping to move away from either the knee jerk reaction or the purchase the bright shinny new thing that seems to happen.
Your MSP should firstly implement and create an ICT strategy for your business and this would create innovation that allows your business to improve its business processes and systems. Your MSP knows technology and how to use technology for your business it will also allow better and improved technology to improve your business.
The final point of an MSP is that you now remove the hobby technician that you have in your business allowing them to get on with the job that they were employed for. This again allows your to improve the business.
A good MSP will cost significantly less than what you would pay for an on staff technician, it allows for better system management and supplies onsite support within the definition of your service level agreement.