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Managed Services: The fax machine of cloud management

Traditional Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are outdated; companies are shifting to in-house operations for flexibility and customization. Ollion's Engineering Services focus on strategic, proactive, and agile solutions, making traditional MSPs obsolete.


By Brandon Pierce, Managing Director, Engineering Services

If you’re operating with a Managed Service Provider, or MSP, chances are that you’re operating in the past. A model that worked well in the early days of cloud computing is now as obsolete as a fax machine.

Sure, at one point, it was a great idea to hire an outside company to remotely manage your IT infrastructure, every hour of every day but MSPs haven’t changed with the times. Traditional MSPs aren’t proactive, instead waiting until monitoring alerts and security vulnerability notifications crop up. They don’t focus on making their customers more agile or efficient, or design and deploy self-healing, autoscaling environments. Instead, forcing their customers to adopt their rigid approach, designed for their own efficiency, and create dependency. Hotel California anyone?

man programming

Revolutionizing IT

As a consequence, many companies are now revolting against this traditional approach and opting to bring their IT operations back in-house. They want more flexibility and customized solutions that can better meet their specific needs.

As we learned in our last blog, the main differences between Ollion’s Engineering Services and traditional MSPs are scope and focus, responsibilities, and skill set. Traditional MSPs monitor, troubleshoot, patch, and ensure the overall health and availability of existing systems. Engineering Services is strategic by design, implementing new technologies to improve your end user experience, helping your development teams improve their velocity, and otherwise enabling teams to navigate the continuous change of the cloud.

The cloud has been revolutionary when enabling these changes, causing the whole computing environment to shift. Companies have adopted an agile and iterative approach. They are embracing DevOps and Platform Engineering principles to achieve optimal results. They no longer wait three to five years to change their environment. They continuously evolve and adapt to meet changing business demands.

Managed Services, as we have previously experienced them, are dead. Below we’ve highlighted specific customers use cases and experiences that are all thanks to the Engineering Services model.


Pharma moves to the cloud

A client in the pharmaceutical industry came to us for a big bang migration to get them out of their current facility and into AWS. As the work progressed, the client started tapping Ollion folks on the shoulder, asking if they could help out on other side projects—like you might have your contractor take on small handyman projects, as long as they’re at your house.

We suggested they adopt an Engineering Services model, where they could regularly get the help they need, as they need it, without having to write a major scope of work. It was a perfect fit. They can pay for a higher subscription tier for when they need it, and when they need to ease up on their budgets again, they could ramp that back down. The customer saw immediate impact when they no longer needed to walk the tightrope between sacrificing the amount of velocity they accomplished due to restraints around investing in new staff.

So we’re working with them on things like increased automation and architecture changes, which are outside the scope of the AWS migration. And we have parameters in our contract where they’re committed to keep a team on for 30 days, so we have some stability and predictability.

We maintain a set of teams each comprised of of six to eight people who support certain subsets of our clients. They’re all staff—no contractors. They become intimately familiar with the customers’ environments and goals, yet they only jump in when needed. It’s like when a hockey team has a line change: People coming on and off the ice and they don't skip a beat. That's the design here.


Food services takes operations in-house

We had worked for years with a large global food services company, initially bringing them into the cloud in a traditional MSP model. As their business grew and strategy changed, they realized they could bring that function in-house and have their own staff run their cloud.

At Ollion, we think a lot about scalability and futureproofing. The client realized management of access to their environment, security, permissions, etc. was a much larger undertaking than they originally thought. Our next course of action was to teach their teams to do all the things that we'd been doing and enable them to be successful on their journey.

The client loved that. It proved to be a good story about enabling the customer to be successful on their own, as opposed to what you typically see when traditional MSPs do things to lock the client in so it's very difficult for them to escape.

They then kept engaging our cloud engineers and architects on an Engineering Services model to guide their teams on cloud best practices. We’re now serving as their thought leaders as they look to build new workloads in the cloud, and take ones that they had migrated previously and reimagine them from a cloud architecture perspective.

Ollion’s flat rate pricing model allowed the client to better control budget and planning as opposed to a traditional contract with MSPs who charge on a percentage of cloud spending. We showed them that having more data in the cloud doesn't necessarily translate to needing more support all the time. They appreciated that they could curb that spend and have much better budget control.


Computer manufacturer cuts costs by evolving with Ollion

A large computer manufacturer was moving away from its legacy technologies in the cloud, and trying to leverage more of a DevOps automation type of a mindset.

The client wanted to have us get involved in their deployment pipelines so that we could be more helpful at the application layer. However, our original scope of work was on a traditional support model, in which they paid us a percentage of what they spent on their Amazon cloud services.

Since transitioning to our new Engineering Services model, the client still has our resources available 24/7, and they also have access to a small architecture and engineering team. We can also now bundle the cost optimization, saving them a lot of money.

Between going deep and being able to be flexible with the hours, they've actually onboarded us into eight or nine additional AWS accounts. If the client had kept the traditional support model, they would have been charged a percentage of the spend each month for every single one of them, even if they didn't necessarily need us to do any work in any of them on any given month. This use case is the perfect example of how our Engineering Services model allowed the client to grow Ollion’s impact while actually reducing costs.

How do Ollion clients benefit from this new paradigm?

At Ollion, we pride ourselves on offering our clients increased flexibility in how they engage with our Service Delivery Teams and how they contract with us. We understand that each business is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn't work. That's why we have eliminated long-term lock-in contracts, the requirement for 24/7 support, and rigid RACIs. We believe in offering true flexibility, which allows you to continuously modify the scope of work and how you want us to engage with your development and operations teams. At Ollion, we become true partners with our clients, putting the power back into your hands and working together to achieve your business goals.

Stay tuned for our next blog where we’ll feature real world examples of how Ollion clients benefit from Engineering Services.