Choosing an IT managed services provider isn’t just about technical capability. Part 2 of my guidance on selecting a provider looks at the crucial issue of culture and mindset, and at the importance of certifications.
In my previous blog, Four questions to ask your IT managed services partner, I outlined key abilities a service provider needs in order to provide Managed Services for ICT solutions. But I want to stress that when choosing a Managed Services provider there is more to consider than technical capability. The operating model of the service provider must be appropriate for Managed Service provision and the provider’s culture must have true service provision at its core.
It’s too onerous to spend time and money evaluating the full operating model of every managed service provider you’re considering. But here are key aspects you should consider, which will help you validate the provider’s abilities:
1. Can the provider go beyond reactive service?
The service provider must be able to deliver true managed services – not just break-fix services based on reactive phone calls. On-going management of the service needs to be proactive; anticipate change and issues; manage change; and deal with the unexpected; draw on the right resources when in trouble. It must also have systems in place to manage your estate such as SLA Management, Ticketing, Configuration Management (CMDB), Event Management, Event Correlation, Knowledge Management, Status and Management Information Dashboards.
2. Discrete ICT services have converged – can the provider cope?
The service provider’s operating model must be able to deal with the merger of traditionally separate ICT services in a way that meets demanding business needs. It also needs to be able to take advantage of technology advancements to reduce costs and drive the business through innovation. ICT elements to consider here include:
ii. Fixed Voice Solutions
iii. Mobile Solutions
v. Managed IT – Compute and Storage
vi. Private and Public Cloud
3. Look for standards and certifications
Does the service provider operate to standards that are effective and can be verified? Is it operating on an ITIL model and certified under industry recognised standards for service provision and security, based on a portfolio of services (e.g. ISO 27000 for Security, ISO 20000 for Service)? Some partners may be certified only for a single service or customer instance.
4. Is managed service provision core to the provider’s culture?
From design through to implementation, support and on-going development, the service provider must think about the full life cycle of service provision.
Above all, you must investigate whether the provider under consideration can add value to your business beyond what you’re paying for. Remember, you want a flexible service that lets you tap into a broad range of capability, so you are positioned to grow your business and deal with the unexpected.
What key factors do you consider when choosing a Managed Services Provider? Is a flexible managed service contract an important factor for your business? Go here to read Part 1: Four questions to ask your IT managed services partner