Operations and team execution are the two key ingredients to support managed services. Any organization can hire a sales rep that can regurgitate the story of the week but how many of those sales reps have an organization behind them that can deliver on that story?
For a solution provider(MSP) to be successful at delivering managed services they need to move from having an individual in charge of an account to having a team. That team has to be clear and comfortable with the differing roles and responsibilities that are enablers for effective service delivery. I stress the word EFFECTIVE because without it the customers’ expectations aren’t being met. A feeling, by the client, that the managed service provider is disjointed and/or unorganized is a typical side effect of a poorly run team.
As difficult as it is to run a great managed services organization the potential benefits to both the customer and the MSP is what drives solution providers to offer managed services support. From a customer prespective, they can expect more for less with managed services. The other important concept that managed service brings to customer is having a max “out of pocket” expense on the maintenance of their IT Infrastructure. I’ll address each of the two benifits stated above seperately.
In this case more for less means the client benefits from; a team of qualified engineers, a reduction in the amount of time the customer point of contact needs to be involved in IT, maximizing the productivity workers, a guarantee that all workstations and servers are following IT best practices, and faster resolution with IT problems.
The max “out of pocket” expense phrase I used above referes to the fact that most managed services support plans are fixed fee allowing for predicable costs. In other words a customer know exactly how much it costs to maintane their computer equipment in working order.
Until the advent of advanced managed service software tools, the ability to provide the services that customers have come to expect out of managed services was not possible. Simple tools that only provide remote access or only help with patching are no longer enough. Customers demand, or should be demanding, monitoring, alerting, backups, budget roadmaps and asset management. Without these tools ethe MSP’s operating expense goes up and this is likely reflected in the customer’s invoice.
To summarize in a single sentence, before deciding to make a switch to a managed service provider make sure they have a well oiled team leveraging advanced software tools and that their support plan offers benifits and value similar to those stated above.