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You might have seen the terms ‘application management’ and ‘IT support’ used interchangeably. We certainly have. But they’re actually two different things and we’ll explain how so in this blog post. Get ready to learn…

The definition of IT support

Traditional IT support is often known as a ‘break-fix’ level of support due to the process’ reactive nature. When something isn’t working properly, you notify your IT support desk/team and wait for the issue to be resolved.

What is IT support

The services an IT support partner or team offer include:

  • Software maintenance (e.g. functional and technical updates)
  • Data centre maintenance
  • Diagnosing and resolving hardware and software faults
  • Installation and configuration of IT systems

The definition of application management

Also known as managed services, application management is a set of services offered by a third-party company to monitor and manage your applications. They may manage some or all.

The services an application management services (AMS) partner might offer include:

  • Access to a variety of tools and solutions designed to enhance your business’ technical capability and IT environment
  • Incident management
  • Cloud migration services and support
  • Software development and maintenance
  • Training your internal teams
  • Round-the-clock support

How the two compare

Application management offers a more comprehensive service

Straight away, you can see that an AMS partner offers a more comprehensive service than IT support, regardless of whether IT support is in-house or outsourced. As the name might suggest, IT support will handle IT-related tasks, such as diagnosing and resolving software and hardware faults.

AMS or outsourced IT

An AMS partner will not only improve your IT setup but they can improve your entire application landscape and network/environment. By taking over the management of your business applications (as their name suggests), they can analyse your systems and offer you strategic advice based on improvements that could be made. For example:

  • Flagging potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities or problems that could cause downtime
  • Helping you create a business continuity plan to minimise the impact of downtime
  • Advice on the latest technologies that could save your business time and money
  • Bridging the skillset gap and ensuring your in-house team are equally trained

An AMS partner take a vested interest in your business’s long-term success, not just how well it’s performing right now.

Application management is more proactive

Application management takes on an arguably more proactive approach than traditional IT support.

So, we said earlier that IT support often involves a user notifying the help desk when there’s an issue. Rather than waiting for an issue to occur, an AMS partner will be monitoring your systems. They’re always looking for potential disruption and are ready to proactively remediate.

That way, any issues can be resolved before they become problems.

Application management is ‘always on’

Additionally, coverage options range from normal business hours to round-the-clock so application management is ‘always on’. In contrast, traditional IT support may only be able to help during standard business hours.

Managed IT services

If your business doesn’t rely on its IT infrastructure to be available 24/7, then the traditional IT support approach may be fine.

Application management is ideal for access to specialised skillsets

If you outsource your IT support, you can gain access to IT specialists who can dedicate their time to maintaining your business’ IT needs. That frees up your in-house IT team to focus on higher-level tasks, such as building a digital innovation roadmap to push the business forward.

But that’s just one area of the business.

When you work with an AMS partner, you gain access to an exclusive talent pool - specialists with expertise in managing applications like the ones your business relies on and using that knowledge to drive efficiency across your entire business. Not just the IT department.

Application management services

Not only does this mean you can maximise resource optimisation (and avoid paying for resources you don’t need), but it can help you stay competitive. For example:

  • You can reduce the costs associated with upskilling your in-house IT support team so they can offer the same level of expertise as an AMS partner
  • You can reduce the costs associated with recruiting additional specialists if you don’t have the skills in-house
  • You can refocus your internal resources (e.g. employees) on more strategic, business-critical projects

To reap the benefits, you must choose the right AMS partner

For many businesses, partnering with a third party that can offer you managed services rather than just outsourced IT support is the better investment. An AMS partner can offer a more holistic service, focusing on improving your overall IT environment rather than just diagnosing and fixing IT-related issues as they happen.

But how do you find the right partner? A key thing the best AMS partners can offer is the ability to act as a trusted advisor. They will develop a relationship with you beyond a point of sale or project-related transaction. And thanks to the strength of this relationship, plus the advisor’s credibility and reliability, you can approach this individual for advice, rather than the business as a whole, even if the question falls outside of their personal skillset.

Learn more about application management and how you can find the right partner in our guide below.

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