The Convergence of Managed Services and Telecom

Managed Services Providers

A managed service provider (MSP) delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure, and security, via ongoing support and active administration at customer locations.  Traditionally, managed service agreements have included some or all of the following:

  • Convergence of Managed Services & Telecom
    IT Support Solutions — This support may be on-site or remote, but technicians generally respond quickly to help solve the ongoing technical issue.
  • Managed Networks — Service providers who work networks can monitor them remotely for connection problems and download speed.
  • Print Management — Print management is a managed service that will help reduce printing costs by offering device support, printer upgrades and maintenance, and printer repair to minimize hidden costs.
  • Cloud Backup — These providers implement cloud servers that act as a data center for backup and disaster recovery.
  • Cybersecurity — Cybersecurity services offered by MSPs can include antivirus, anti-spam, and anti-phishing software.  They also monitor systems and prevent hacking or intrusions.

MSPs serve as trusted advisors to their clients, who rely on them for guidance.  A successful MSP helps businesses find the right tools to connect and grow with their customers.  With this relationship, MSPs are in a position to recommend connectivity and telecommunications vendors.

Telecom Service Providers

A telecommunications service provider is a type of communications service provider that has offers telephony and similar services.  Telecom providers enable the transmission of data in words, voice, audio, or video across the globe.  A telecom provider makes communication possible via landlines, cellular, internet, and more.  This category includes:

  • Incumbent local exchange carriers
  • Competitive local exchange carriers
  • Mobile wireless communication companies
  • Communications service providers

The Convergence of Managed Services and Telecom

Over the past few years, there has been incredible growth in managed and cloud-based communications services.  More MSPs are moving outside their core offerings to embrace new technologies, revenue streams, and service models.  The convergence between IT and telecommunications is driving more MSPs to modify their business models to include telecom solutions such as:
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) — With this type of service, providers offer a software platform, typically subscription-based, for businesses.  A few examples include Office 365 and increasingly "unified communication" software (i.e., Zoom).
  • Unified Communications (UC) — Managed UC may include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video calling, messaging software, or email services.

Customers now expect their MSP to manage ALL of their technology needs, including connectivity and telecommunications.  If MSPs can offer these services themselves, it enables them to provide a more seamless customer experience.

The Challenge of Billing for Communications Services

  • Complex pricing plans make it challenging to calculate charges for each customer accurately.
  • Fluctuations in usage can make it difficult to predict and charge for usage accurately.
  • Billing errors can lead to customer disputes and be time-consuming to resolve.
  • Handling customer inquiries and complaints about billing issues is essential for customer satisfaction.
  • Telecom service providers must be vigilant about detecting and preventing billing fraud.
  • The regulatory environment for telecom billing can be complex and change over time, requiring telecom service providers to stay up-to-date and ensure compliance.

Billing for telecom services can be a significant barrier for traditional IT-based MSPs.  The transition from simple monthly retainers to usage-driven telco billing can be very complex.  Product catalog organization, handling telecom taxes, or charging for usage can quickly become unmanageable.

TimelyBill's telecom billing automation can enable MSPs to grow by incorporating UC into their service offerings.  As a subscription billing platform, TimelyBill is purpose-built to help companies launch and support both telecom and managed IT services.

MSPs with exceptional customer management, convergent product catalogs, and automated billing can both endure and thrive.

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