managed services vs “As a Service”: what’s the difference?

When thinking about a new collaboration tool, it’s generally pretty easy to make the choice between integrated and managed solutions. However, deciding between managed offers and “As-a-Service” offers can be a bit trickier. After all, neither solution requires any use on the client end, since the service provider is responsible for service quality in both cases.

So what are the key differences between these two types of solutions? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the “As-a-Service” model?

The best analogy I found for comparing managed vs "As-a-Service” offers is comparing leasing a car to using a Zipcar. IT decision-makers should always keep in mind the following differences:

“As a Service”: total flexibility with no commitment

In this case, customers have nothing to buy and, as a result, own nothing. Instead, they use a service. This means customers can use collaboration services without installing space-hungry, feature-heavy software. This makes it possible to go from 1,000 to 600 users and from PC presence to PC + Mobile + Tablet presence with no commitment.

Providing a comprehensive collaboration solution for temporary users (interns, temps, etc) is now possible without too much planning and without paying in advance for software licenses and equipment. This flexibility helps to greatly reduce TCO since companies only pay for what they use! And like Zipcar, you only pay for the two hours you use the car to do your weekly grocery shopping.

“As a Service”: a packaged solution

Often compared to IP Centrex (and wrongly so), “As-a-Service” packages are indeed an object of the present. When IT decision-makers need to have a certain feature (web collaboration, for example), it doesn’t really matter if the web collaboration page is green or yellow. The main goal is to reduce travel and improve collaboration within the company.

And like Zipcar, you don’t get to choose your seat color or wheels…

ease of installation

One of the main strengths of these packages is their quick setup. Setting up an “As-a-Service” solution generally takes between one and two months, depending on the service. Managed solutions already need one to two months of planning before proceeding with the actual setup.

As like Zipcar, you get a running car in a matter of minutes.


Managed solutions need to be upgraded whenever the developer requires a new upgrade and you’ll have to organize and pay for the upgrade yourself. With “As-a-Service” solutions, all upgrades are handled by the developer and are applied to all customers in the same way, with no extra costs. This means you get all tech upgrades and improvements automatically.

Similarly, whenever Zipcar decides to update its fleet, you take advantage of new cars without having to do anything on your end.

final thoughts

Although car enthusiasts would rather choose their own model and engine than use a Zipcar, “As-a-Service” solutions, like all cloud solutions, mean customers have to accept a few pre-packaged features. However, these bundled features are precisely what offer the advantages of flexibility, upgradeability and reliability without losing any functionality.


photo: © Bernd Ege -

Aymerick Dumas

I spent more than 10 years consulting for French and international companies. The objective was always the same: analyze, understand and summarize their needs. I am now in charge of defining and implementing our global strategy within the Orange Cyberdefense marketing team to help customers secure their industrial environments and their IoT projects.