You probably know all the obvious reasons for enlisting a managed services provider (MSP) to oversee your IT environment. MSPs not only fix things when they break, but also identify potential problems and correct them before there is a failure. They help you control costs, minimize downtime and free up internal sources for other projects.

Those are all incredibly valuable benefits, but they only scratch the surface of what’s possible. In addition to handling day-to-day technical concerns, a really accomplished MSP will help you access new IT resources to drive productivity, innovation and profitability — resources that might otherwise be unavailable or cost-prohibitive internally.

The fact is that the role of business technology has shifted dramatically over the past decade. The traditional IT model featured centralized technology with top-down management designed to deliver standardized functionality to business units. That’s too restrictive today.

The rise of mobile, social and cloud technologies creates advantages for organizations that rapidly leverage emerging applications, platforms and devices. Organizations that are lean, agile and focused on continuous improvement can reach new markets, improve performance and boost revenues. This is what analysts mean when they refer to “digital transformation.”

Achieving that transformation with in-house IT staff is challenging for all but the largest enterprises. The costs and effort involved with hiring and training qualified staff, upgrading infrastructure, and keeping systems up-to-date and secure are beyond the reach of many businesses.

A highly qualified MSP can change those dynamics. Your MSP partner should have the engineering depth, technology tools and industry connections to enable a range of transformative initiatives. The right MSP can implement systems that streamline your business processes, and provide the ongoing management to ensure a good user experience.

The fluid nature of today’s IT model requires good governance and risk management to ensure that all security standards are met. Many organizations must also ensure that their IT initiatives comply with legal and industry requirements for data privacy, reporting and security. A qualified MSP who is familiar with all your IT environment, software licenses, cloud solutions and mobile initiatives can provide the systems, processes and reports needed to enable a holistic approach to security and compliance.

In fact, an effective MSP will provide regular security assessments, as well as general reports about the condition and service levels of your IT infrastructure. Such transparency is one of the keys to establishing a trusting, comfortable relationship with a provider.

There’s no denying the value of core MSP monitoring and management services. MSPs follow industry best practices, document everything and develop repeatable processes to ensure that tasks are done right. By handling day-to-day IT tasks, an MSP frees up your in-house staff for key project work. However, managed services can be so much more than a commoditized service for providing basic operations at the cheapest price point.

It isn’t hard to find an MSP who will provide the basics on a “your mess for less” basis. But a truly valuable technology partner can provide more substantial services. An MSP who can effectively manage your core requirements while also guiding your strategic IT initiatives can help transform your operations to realize tangible business benefits.