AV Managed Services

Posted by Daniel Ponder on 10/02/2014

Companies all over the world- small, medium and enterprise-level- can find value in bringing a managed service provider (MSP) on board to assist with audiovisual operations. Unlike outsourcing, managed services providers work alongside an organizations existing team to offer operational and maintenance support. Service providers offer a range of solutions for their clients, including routine scheduled maintenance, per a maintenance agreement, like cleaning projector filters, changing lamps at scheduled intervals and testing cables and connections periodically. Service providers, in some instances, offer priority support for their clients repair tickets when systems malfunction.

 

Maintaining AV equipment requires a significant number of resources, with a high degree of specialization- a service technician, support/training specialist, designer/engineer and a control systems programmer for starters. Companies can find substantial cost savings opportunities by engaging managed services to assist with ongoing routine preventative maintenance activities, updates to touch panel layouts and even remote management of physical devices. Rather than hiring a full time programmer, a company might elect to contract out a services provider who can make any tweaks, changes or overhauls as necessary; this allows the company to reduce overhead through the use of a managed services provider.

 

A managed services agreement operates under a contract between an organization and a services provider. For example- companies who utilize integrators, might be presented with extended warranties, or service level agreements (SLAs), where the integrator agrees to provide routine maintenance, and priority support for a fixed cost at the time of the installation, or during the bid process.

 

For existing AV systems, a client and provider would negotiate a contract, based upon a statement of work, which specifies the responsibilities of each party in the agreement, and the services provided to the client by the MSP. Typically, in this situation there is an upfront, or transition fee, as well as an interval based, fixed, or near-fixed, cost for the client. Fixed costs, at predetermined intervals provides the client with a more realistic idea as to the cost of ongoing maintenance of their systems. The terms of a contract might specify the provider is to be paid quarterly, or even monthly. The length of the contract is also a negotiated item: providers and clients alike will want to ensure the agreement has a stated period of time that is amenable to their interests.

 

Service providers typically aren’t on-site with the client every day, rather they offer on-site technical services at scheduled times, or assess and maintain systems through the use of a remote management system (RMS). In some cases, depending on the level of contracted services, providers might elect to have a resource on site full time to enhance the level of support provided to the customer.

 

Many technology managers already see the value in contracting managed services: reducing overhead expenses, increasing the efficiency of day-to-day operations, increasing the consistency of functionality in systems and unlike outsourcing, companies retain ownership and control over their assets and resources. Managed services also allows the technology manager to choose which services to contract providing scalability and agility in the management of systems.