Managed IT Services began when large companies with increasingly large and complex Networks and IT deployments sought to push the responsibility of managing their networks to external providers. Specialists were needed that had the expertise and scale needed to properly administer, monitor and support their own services and network hand-offs. As part of this evolution, a whole new industry of third-party monitoring and administration tools developed to further improve the critical everyday aspects of monitoring and maintaining an environment. Soon the model took deep roots that enterprises began to seek managed services for servers, backups and even help desk support. Anything that could be packaged up and done by a third party better, faster and cheaper than their own internal IT Staff.
It was a natural progress that soon smaller businesses also wanted these services. They had many of the same problems as large enterprise companies. With this increasing demand, a few of the traditional break-fix oriented IT support organisations soon evolved to provide managed services to their customers. Today managed services form a part of most enterprise IT expenditures.
Managed Services done right have the ability to help businesses of all sizes operate more efficiently and compete on a global scale. Managed Services can allow for a business to put more investment and resources into the technologies and processes that actually help grow the business. Partnering with a technology provider to outsource services business can be better served by a third party organization that is dedicated to common practices across many clients.
What then are the key components of a successful managed service deployment? Three key components are critical for an effective Managed Service Agreement. Unfortunately many businesses and providers still today miss the mark.
- Proactive Support and Monitoring
- Service Level Agreements (SLA)
- Consultative Technology Solution Development
Whilst the benefits of a well-managed service is known and well understood – it is not often easy to keep an eye on things if they are slipping. Enterprise IT managers need to be careful and watch out for red flags to ensure that the managed service isn’t in fact managing well. Some things to always look out for are:
- Frequent outages are a symptom that proactive maintenance isn’t being done well
- Varying skill sets of responding technicians and engineers is a sure indicator that the provider is struggling to keep up, cutting corners or not focusing on training before deployment
- Lack of timely reporting or overtly canned and/or useless reports and lack of frequent checkpoint meetings to maintain alignment to the business
A large part of this annoyances can be effectively restricted if the vendor selection is done beyond a hunt for the lowest price bidder. Effective managed services get delivered when the vendor and the enterprise work together in a partnership aligned towards shared goals.
Some of the key traits of successful managed service partnerships are that:
- They are a consultant, not a repairman
- They have data on client’s Services and can showcase their impact
- They are able to provide Savings and ROI
- They plan for Regular Face time
Is your managed service partner providing you that strategic insight that helps you get a better grasp and control on your business? If you are not getting that kind of value – maybe it is time to look back again and reach out to someone who can and we at InKnowTech – know the technology that works the best for the customer.