Managed IT services are a source of joy for many business owners. They have been a shelter in the chaotic world of business ownership, allowing entrepreneurs to increase IT efficiency and reduce in-house overhead costs and IT workload. How?
Managed IT services refer to IT tasks provided by a third-party contractor to a business. In other words, the business (customer) outsources its IT tasks from a vendor on a subscription basis or a contract, who assumes responsibility for the functionality of everything IT in the customer organization.
As such, the customer transfers the burden of maintaining IT to the vendor. This allows them to focus on other key business concerns while enjoying the vendor’s specialty IT knowledge and expertise.
But even then, the success of a managed services arrangement isn’t assured. A Business is essentially ceding control of some pretty important applications to another firm. Thus, they need to take certain steps to ensure that the resulting relationship is safe and successful for all parties involved.
Step 1: Assess your current IT systems
Before you develop a managed IT services model, it is important that you thoroughly assess your current IT needs and costs. This allows you to recognize your current resources, what workflows and infrastructures the strategy should encompass, and your budget for managed services.
That way, you’ll avoid outsourcing functions and infrastructure that would work just as effectively in-house. You’ll also identify approximately how much money you can spend on managed IT services without adversely impacting your business revenues.
Step 2: Let your provider audit your current systems
On the other hand, your managed services vendor should also perform an audit on your system. This is important as it:
- Gives the vendor an idea of what they’ll be working with for the duration of the contract.
- Helps detect any problems with your system and how such problems affected your business operations in the past.
That way, if you choose to retain part of your current system, the vendor will solve these problems or develop a strategy that avoids the issues entirely.
It’s also important to you, as you’ll be able to notice any red flags in your provider early on. For example, are they experienced enough to manage your assets? Are they familiar with any specialized hardware or software that you intend to use in the future? Do they understand any industry standards that apply to your systems and compliance standards regarding your data?
This first step provides the business and the vendor with a rough idea of each other. As such, it forms the foundation of the managed IT services model. And for an effective strategy, you need to have a strong foundation.
Step 3: Align the service strategy with the core business principles
An effective managed IT services model should complement the business core business principles. Therefore, you and your vendor need to design a model that shares the vision of your business goals and objectives. This streamlines your relationship while making the arrangement as effective as possible.
However, note that the business environment is dynamic, i.e., goals and objectives constantly change and evolve. Thus, it is not only enough to share with your provider the business’ goals at the start of your contract. Rather, you should constantly update them and inform them of any changes in the business principles.
That way, the provider will always have an up-to-date template on how to work with you effectively. In addition, they will know your needs as they arise and an idea of where your venture is headed, fostering a culture of trust and collaboration between the both of you.
Step 4: Make it scalable and flexible
The capacity of your managed IT services must be scalable and flexible. It should have more service hours and bandwidth than you normally need. That way, you’ll be able to avoid any bottlenecks in times of peak operations, allowing your business to maintain optimum capacity and performance at all times.
The same applies if you plan on making some big infrastructure changes soon. In this case, make sure to communicate with your managed services provider, allowing them to make an allowance for the growth of your organization. This ensures that when the time comes, your business will scale without sacrificing its IT coverage or performance.
The managed IT service should also have a flexible schedule that works around your schedule. Such a schedule results in better management of uptime and reduces the number of workflow disruptions. For instance, since the provider follows a different schedule from your employees, they can perform maintenance and system updates during off-hours.
Step 5: Ensure end-to-end service delivery
Collaborate with your vendor to design a managed IT services model that addresses your needs for adopting such a system and meets the industry standards. The delivered services should also be high-quality, uninterrupted, and end-to-end.
Thus, the vendor should also make their offering resistant to actual and perceived risks. This is done by first running an assessment on the model to identify both strategic and operational risks. All identified risks will then influence how the managed services strategy is formulated.
To provide end-to-end services, effective models;
- Use the latest infrastructure and connectivity to provide uninterrupted delivery and seamless services. This technology also allows the vendor to manage enterprise risk and incorporate best practices for continuity and disaster recovery.
- Provide immediate support in case of a network error, security threat, or unexpected downtime.
- Implement digitized and integrated workflow. This comes in handy for maintenance, support, and software development life cycle activities, optimizing the managed IT services strategy across daily operations.
- Are outcome-based models that address the variability in demand or volume. They can also be governed by a service-level management framework.
DOCUmation’s managed IT services can be a big blessing if executed effectively. For one, businesses only incur costs for the coverage or services that they need. They also avoid costs that come with recruiting, hiring, and training full time-time employees. And that’s without mentioning the increased overall efficiency or the time saved and spent on more critical business functions.