What Are Professional Services?
Professional services tend to be associated with project-based consulting work, generally to perform tasks such as assessment, design, implementation and migration of a specific technology.
Typically, these services have a defined contractual scope with a clear start and end date. They are usually short-term projects that take anywhere from a few weeks to months to complete.
What Are Managed Services?
Managed Service Providers can help higher education institutions in areas such as application, IT security and help desk support.
Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, for example, hires CDW•G to provide 24/7 support for the institution’s Cisco equipment.
“If we need general support, advice or guidance on a product or to troubleshoot an issue, we have one point of contact,” Lincoln’s CIO Justin McKenzie told EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education. “It gives us the ability to connect to expert-level people quickly.”
When Professional Services and Managed Services Make Sense
For IT departments, managed and professional services can act as a force multiplier.
“Many of these departments may lack the specific expertise needed to implement new systems, or they may just be stretched too thin,” says Ben Mason, a CDW technical architect. At many colleges, IT staff must engage with a broad and heterogenous mix of systems and applications. “These are not large staffs,” Mason says, “and yet they need to support an incredibly wide range of technologies and systems and capabilities.”
Some are merely shorthanded, while others struggle to assemble the skills necessary to support complex initiatives. As campus planning ramps up, many find it necessary to undergo various upgrades, even if they lack the appropriate expertise.
“Very often, these organizations have aging technology, and at the same time they may lack the internal skills needed to design, deploy and modernize,” says Matt Tourney, team lead of physical security solutions at CDW. “They’ll look to outside providers like CDW to help provide that full lifecycle support — to consult with them, to figure out what their needs are, and to design a new solution.”