MSP vs IT Consultant

May 25, 2017

Sometimes we get the question “what’s the difference between a managed services provider and a consultant?” The answer is somewhat difficult, because the borders between the two blur.

An MSP that follows the “norm” will offer a certain set of IT services in the form of a product. They install remote management and monitoring software (RMM), some form of antivirus, perhaps a backup solution, and other packages. Most times, they purchase these from a software company that specializes in offerings to MSP’s, and resell them at a markup for a monthly fee. They will also offer “helpdesk” services that replace or augment on-site IT employees, and often fix problems remotely.

An IT consultant, or any consultant for that matter, offers expert advice. A consultant is usually the person you call when other expertise has been exhausted, or frankly, you find yourself between a rock and a hard place.

So, really, the difference comes down to commodity vs rarity. An MSP will commoditize everything and try to make their “package” fit everyone. A consultant does nothing but custom work, so to speak.

Here at Foreground, we end up somewhere in between. While we will offer a package of solutions at a fixed price, we use that as a simple foundation. From there we can build a custom consultancy layer on top of a good foundation. We listen to each client’s individual pain, find out what their business goals are, and create solutions that implement the best practices for their unique situation.

The idea of commodity vs speciality can also be applied to your business model. The core concept is to commoditize the routine, and focus energy on the specialities. Afterall, who wants to manually update a spreadsheet every… single… month with data gathered from the same places.

There is a better way and we love helping out clients find their way!