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Managed Services: uplift your business by applying the right criteria selection

The recent pandemic has brought about some unexpected adaptations in the way we work. The way support is delivered for your Applications and Technology stack has also vastly changed.

The pandemic taught us a lot, but I want to discuss two of the lessons learned:

  1. Support teams don’t have to be onsite to deliver proper support
  2. Support teams need to be agile in order to embrace changes to your business model

The two lessons above combined with the further growing demand for good IT resources could be reason to start looking for a Managed Services Provider (MSP) who can support you in a flexible way. But to do so what are important things you need to consider?

In this article we’re addressing some of the key points.

1. Partnership approach

Look for a partner who can work in a real partnership model. The relation with your MSP should be based on trust. Processes, services and billing should be transparent. The partner should act as a Trusted Advisor. If there are optimizations to lower your support cost the partner should pro-actively be advising which of those to implement.  Next to the standard support services a partner should offer your organisation additional training/support to make sure your people stay up to date on ever changing technology. A partner should share knowledge so the people in your organisation can continue learning and develop themselves.

2. Partner Resources

Check the mix of resources the MSP has within their teams. It should be a variety of experienced and junior resources. Junior resources have a different view on the system and senior resources have a wealth of knowledge. But with the right mix you can take advantage of interesting rates and combine the best of both worlds. Furthermore, when resources work remotely, language and cultural skills are important. Do you need a low-cost offshore model, or do you want to take advantage of more local base support teams knowing your culture and speaking your language proficiently?

Besides the proper mix what is the turnover of staff? How inclusive is the MSP partner? Talk to some of the team members to understand what type of support people work at the MSP. You would do the same if you were to hire a sub-contractor resource wouldn’t you?

3. Support model

When choosing an MSP it is important to see if the offered support model is in line with your requirements and flexible enough to support your business efficiently.

What support model can the MSP offer? Do they bill full resources/days, or can they bill activities hourly or even with 15 minute blocks? Are they flexible to scale services up or down? Do they have a proper ticketing system so you can receive detailed reporting or response times, resolution times, number of tickets per category etc. Getting those insights are key foundations and improve the services over the years. Can the MSP deliver real 24/7 support with people genuinely working 24/7 and on bank holidays or is the 24/7 service just a kind of wake-up service?

4. Security

The MSP will have access to your network and systems. You need to make sure all access and data processing is regulated, controlled and in line with local agreements. Make sure Data Processing Agreements are in place. Some things you can check with your MSP: Is your MSP audited yearly (ISO/ISAE)? How is security arranged? How are passwords managed and secured? How are changes handled and controlled? Are people trained regularly on Security Awareness? Make sure your MSP isn’t adding another risk layer to your own security processes.

5. Monitoring and Tools

Check the monitoring and tools used by the MSP. Does the MSP have modern tools to support you and are the monitoring tools enabling the MSP to deliver pro-active support? What is the added value of the tools? Can the MSP automate tasks to reduce cost and improve quality? Is the MSP investing in its tools? Is the MSP already using or looking to use AI/ML in the Managed Services offering?

6. Governance model

Your relationship with the MSP is important and a proper governance model should be in place, not only for escalations but also for the ongoing business. Of course, the daily contact is there but are there structured monthly, quarterly and annual meetings with the required audience, so the relationship is managed on various levels within both organisations? The more your MSP is part of your business planning and business challenges, the better your MSP can support you.

The above are just several things to consider when selecting a Managed Service Provider. Did this article trigger you and are you looking for external support? Contact us to discuss this further.

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