Managed services are supposed to make your life easier, not complicate it. Signing up with a managed services provider that’s going to lock your organisation down instead of allowing it the very flexibility you sought in the first place could result in a loss of business agility and evolution for years to come. To stay truly agile and adaptable as an organisation, consider these three avenues for getting the most out of your managed services contract.
- Customise everything you can
Cookie-cutter managed services contracts do not a positive business impact make. Your business is unique (right?), so it needs a unique managed services agreement to ensure it can grow or slow as it needs to over the years. Contracts with 90-day, no-penalty opt-out clauses and SLAs tailored to your needs make the most sense for business agility. And don’t get locked into one way of delivering your service; having access to various delivery models lets you pick the right fit.
- Discuss the business benefits, not the technical details
Do you and your prospective managed services provider speak the same language? A managed services provider that only talks technical jargon likely can’t translate the true business benefit of its services. You want a managed services provider that can tell you how its technology and processes can reduce your downtime, strengthen your security and free up your internal IT staff for other projects. The ability to leverage other skill-sets from the managed services provider for special IT projects that can add business value is another feature to seek out.
- Learn who you’ll be dealing with on a regular basis
Even with industry-leading technology and delivery models in place, a managed services contract can still go pear-shaped if the people administrating it are awful. The people who will head up your managed services delivery will either become crucial assets to your organisation that you look forward to communicating with regularly, or they will become a dreaded part of your work life.
Personality conflicts are possible anywhere, but take a look at your prospective managed services provider’s track record when it comes to the human element. Are the managed services provider’s people affable, approachable and accessible? Do they clearly communicate, whether it’s about a daily task or a potential service issue? Is there a local presence and access to other managers, technicians or executives in the business with whom you might want to communicate?
Managed services should work for and with your organisation. If the provider you’re considering doesn’t give you flexibility, a clear demonstration of business impact and the right people to do the job, look elsewhere.