A managed service provider is a company that provides information technology services on a contract basis.
The type of contract and what it covers varies from client to client, but usually, there is an agreement which covers specific areas and tasks and there may be some key performance indicators included in the deal.
Managed services provision is a relatively new business model which takes a strategic approach to IT management.
Previously a company that required IT support may have procured only the services it needs on an ad-hoc basis, and paid for just those services.
However, the managed services subscription model is said to provide more stability for clients on an ongoing basis, and works out less expensive in the long run.
One of the reasons why MSPs, as they are now called, have become more widely used is the general trend of companies moving to the cloud and digitising their operations.
In the top 10 list below, we have tried to gather the most successful MSPs as well as the most innovative.
IBM has one of the widest range of managed services offerings on the market.
As well as providing managed services to clients directly, the tech giant can provide support to other MSPs.
It also provides a skills and training program through which IT professionals brush up their existing skills and learn new ones.
IBM generated revenues of approximately $79 billion last year, which is probably the highest in the MSP business, although the company itself has many other business units.
Perhaps the most forward-thinking company out of this list of MSPs, Atos last year even delved into quantum computing with the launch on an Intel-based emulator.
Atos’ idea is to use the emulator to train its coders in the skills that will be needed in the future when actual quantum computers will be used for many tasks.
And although it may be among the less famous tech companies, it earned revenues of $16 billion last year, which is reasonably high compared with others in this top 10.
Infosys is probably better known than many other IT companies. The company has experienced some turmoil recently, last year losing its CEO Vishal Sikka and engaging in some layoffs brought about by automation.
But this year, it’s ready to come back strong, partly as a result of the resulting streamlining of its services.
The company generated revenues of $10 billion in 2017 and is expanding into new geographies and technologies, including artificial intelligence in a big way.
Although it wrote down a loss of $18 million in the final quarter of 2017, Cognizant still managed to generate almost $15 billion revenue over the course of last year.
Cognizant expounds the virtues of what it calls a “zero maintenance strategy”, by which it means IT should be run in a way that eliminates unplanned downtime and other disruptive issues.
And while most IT companies talk solely about the transformation to digital and cloud, Cognizant says this is the age of a hybrid business model – one which includes digital and physical.
Wipro probably operates in a more diverse range of markets than some others in this list, taking in managed services, business automation and even home automation.
This makes it seem larger than its revenues would suggest. The company generated revenue of just under $8.5 billion last year.
Over the next three years, the company is looking to go all-digital, with the CEO saying that 100 per cent of the company’s resources are being allocated to the digital operations goal.
6. Tata Consultancy Services
Part of the giant Indian conglomerate of the same first name, Tata Consultancy Services has developed some highly innovative technology that may help its position in certain markets.
For example, it’s developed software that can simultaneously monitor thousands of feeds from security cameras, using machine learning to filter images to find exactly what is required.
With a revenue of $18 billion, it’s one of the larger companies on the list.
Its managed service offerings tend to focus on providing IT support to call centres, although that’s not the only sector of interest to the company.
HCL has been around a long time but its low-key presence means that perhaps it’s only well known within the IT sector.
Nonetheless, it made more than $7 billion in revenues last year, which makes it one of the largest companies in the managed services field.
HCL was one of the first Indian IT outsourcing firms to win significant business from Europe and North America.
The company has recently acquired intellectual properties, including ones relating to Lotus Notes from IBM.
Capgemini often produces data-rich surveys which provide plenty of opportunities for media companies to write reports.
Its recent interest has been in the e-retail sector, which has experienced 14 per cent growth year on year, according to Capgemini.
The company provides a range of managed services, including public cloud, and its most recently available annual report, reported revenues of more than $15 billion.
Although it was acquired towards the end of the year by multi-cloud managed services provider Rackspace, Datapipe will most likely continue as a managed service provider and enjoy autonomy.
Although there doesn’t seem to be any figures available indicating the size of Datapipe, which was established in 1998, Rackspace itself generates revenue of around $2 billion a year.
The acquisition of Datapipe clearly gives Rackspace an opportunity to grow in a highly lucrative market.
Probably the largest and most well-known company on this list, management consultancy Accenture recently announced what it calls “artificial intelligence testing services”.
Many companies believe AI will help them to greater efficiencies and more profits, but relatively few yet know how to implement it.
Accenture reported revenues of almost $35 billion last year.