Mar 31 2023
Managed Services vs Professional Services

Managed Services and Professional Services: What’s the Difference?

You might assume “professional services” encompass any service offered by a professional. However, in IT, professional services refer to something specific and distinct from managed services. Let’s weigh managed services vs. professional services and explore the difference.

There is a lot of cross-over between the two. Both services help companies increase the scope of work they can complete each day. They’re also both provided by specialized IT companies, sometimes the same one. 

Yet, it’s their differences that make you choose one or the other. This article will take a closer look at each option so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

What are Professional Services?

Professional services solve specific challenges. Companies hire professional services on a one-time basis. They’re ideal if you need extra help with a specific problem, but don’t need the long-term support of managed services. 

Professional services remain within a specific project, but you can scale their work up or down as needed. 
For example, professional services might help you implement a new software tool. However, if you need additional help with adoption and training, you can scale up their service. Although, you could only scale up their service within that software launch project.

Want to Learn More About Managed IT Services?

What are Managed IT Services?

A managed service provider (MSP) is not project-based. Instead, they provide ongoing support for all current and future projects. 

MSPs permanently extend your IT team by taking on tedious day-to-day tasks while your employees focus on projects. On average, this leads to a 45-65% productivity increase.

Most MSPs take a holistic approach to IT management, but some specialize in one area. For example, a managed cybersecurity service provider (MSSP) only manages cybersecurity tasks such as network monitoring, penetration testing, and disaster recovery.

Your MSP’s scope is highlighted in their Service Level Agreement (SLA). This document outlines the contractual expectations for both parties. It may include response times, boundaries, or any key benchmarks. 

Managed Services vs Professional Services

What is Co-Managed IT?

Co-managed IT is a sort of partial outsourcing. You entrust some IT tasks to your MSP, but leave most of it with your in-house team. You may be able to access co-managed IT services from the same MSP that provides your fully managed services. 

Professional Services vs Managed Services

Professional Services vs. Managed Services: Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve explored their differences, let’s consider the pros and cons of each service.

Professional Services


1. Short-Term

Professional services let you quickly obtain the help you need without any long-term commitments. Therefore, it may be a more cost-effective solution if you only need specialized assistance for one specific task or problem.

2. Laser-Focused

Professional services provide a tailored solution to your exact issue. Comparatively, managed services have a broader focus and take a high-level approach to your entire infrastructure. 

As a result, the professional service may offer a more comprehensive solution to the singular, specific problem.

3. Flexible

Without long-term contracts, it’s comparatively simpler to cut back professional services. It’s also easy to re-hire them on an as-needed basis.


1. Lack of Future Support

If you need consistent IT help, professional services may not be for you. They only focus on your project and rarely touch other areas of your business. You will also need to re-hire them for future issues. 

2. May Have Slower Response Times

Without guarantees, they may be slower to respond. This may result in more downtime or longer waits for support inquiries. 

3. Lack of SLAs

An MSP’s SLA showcases expectations on both sides. Professional services don’t have the same contract. Therefore, miscommunication is a risk.

What Managed Services Can You Get With Yardstick?

Managed Services and Professional Services

Managed Services


1. Preventative Maintenance

MSPs take a proactive approach. They’ll do things like perform data backups instead of reacting to data loss. This prevents downtime and solves problems before they affect operations.

2. Predictable Budgeting

An MSP contract may seem more expensive at first. However, their predictable fees offer more cost savings in the long run. This is also a huge help for your accounting team because they can always work your MSP into the budget.

3. On-Demand Resources

You can always reach out to your MSP whenever there’s a problem. You don’t need to re-hire them for each project. Their services include all of your current and future needs. 


1. Some Lost Autonomy

Leaving some of your IT tasks in your MSP’s hands decreases your autonomy over operations. Co-managed IT solutions lessen this, but you still need to trust a third party with your infrastructure.

2. They May Not Cover Niche Areas

MSP consultants are experts, but no one can know everything. They can address most IT needs, but may not be equipped to deal with highly specific niche issues. 

3. Less Internal Knowledge Retention

Relieving your internal team of many IT duties could put them out of practice. That could be an issue if you part ways with your MSP and need to maintain business continuity. 

What if You Need Both?

It’s not unusual for companies to benefit from both managed and professional services. Many organizations will need one or the other depending on the project or gap. Luckily, you can get both services from the same partner.

Yardstick Technologies provides both professional and managed services. Instead of choosing one or the other for your organization, you can choose one or the other for each need. We focus on client relationships so we can anticipate what will benefit you.
Contact us or book a meeting with an expert today.

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