3 Things You Need From Your IT Services Provider

managed services

Does your Managed Services provider help you reach outcomes faster? This is obviously beyond basic technical competence. Many have outsourced their IT service and receive service level Agreements (SLA), monthly maintenance/patching, monitoring, back-ups and help desk support. This article shows three proactive steps you should expect from your managed service provider.

  • Solution Consulting
  • Purpose based service
  • Integrating multiple systems
  1. Solution Consulting and planning around your business.

Your managed services provider should understand your business, offer alternatives, help you solve problems and explain how they help reduce risk to your business. “Best Practice” is not about using the best hardware money can buy, but rather ensuring the return of investment and risk mitigation expenses are appropriate for a clients’ business.

An example is to take the heap of manual paper work generated by leave forms, expense claims or annual reviews and turn them into a paperless workflow. Another example is to implement a CRM portal for your mobile sales, marketing or service/field staff. Or maybe it is just simple advice on integrating with an accounting, ERP or payroll packages with your cloud based Servers. As IT becomes more complex, there is a need to hire a managed services provider who offers services beyond “the help desk”.

See blog on the need for Annual Technology Planning

  1. Purpose based Service.

To achieve outcomes faster, your managed service provider should fix problems before they occur.   We call this a “purpose based service”.  After servicing clients for ten years, you get good at anticipating common problems and implementing automatic solutions. At a minimum, we aim to solve common problems before they occur or before client knows there is an issue. This borders on intuition. Good service recognises problems and fixes them. Great service recognise problems before the customer realises the problem exists. Some examples,

  • Set-up scan to e-mail.  This is easy to do on most modern printers. Our technicians see something not set up and they do it!
  • Standardising security and password complexity for all staff.  We provide advice on security, blacklists and password policies
  • The back-up ran and is working? On the surface, yes.  The back-up could be “working” but backing up corrupt data. Our back-up protection service goes about three steps beyond basic back-up. We actually “mount” backup each day to see if files can be restored and manually check the back-ups regularly to ensure they are working. Without these steps, you could be backing up corrupt data.
  • Automatic fixes and restarting. Rather than wait for the eyes and fingers of your IT person to solve the problem, why not ensure the problem fixes itself, then notify you? We have invested and written over 50 automation tasks into our offering which means your common e-mail and other common problems are invisible to you.
  1. Integrate Multiple Systems.

Companies with multiple divisions or who have acquired businesses often have a major issue of managing multiple systems which generate “data islands”. Data islands, as implied, are not connected to the mainland or to other islands, which often means multiple places to enter and track data. When data is in multiple places and processes are not coordinated, how can management get the data it needs to run the business? Connecting multiple systems includes streamlining your data and maximising the use of your capital assets.

The information you need to run your business is everywhere — in people’s heads, in e-mails, in files, in your application programs, on paper. Finding a way to ensure you are not doing double work is a management priority as this efficiency leads to a competitive advantage, higher profitability or both. See blog on business processes…

Solution Consulting, a purpose based service and the ability to connect multiple systems more efficiently are three areas that help achieve better outcomes from your managed service provider.

Other Articles on Managed Services:

  1. Why you need a managed service
  2. How managed services helps you to avoid pain.
  3. Who should use managed services?.
  4. For Top Five Trends in Managed Services in 2014, refer to this CRN article:  Top Five Trends For Managed Services in 2014.