Managed Services Outsourcing from an End Users Perspective
As a key end user, CEO, CIO, MD or IT Director, your head could be spinning on the “where” and “who” to trust in outsourcing your IT services and underlying assets. Whether you sell a product, service or both, you want to focus on your core business and strategically entrust key IT assets to someone who has the expertise and can deliver “smart” and secure IT services.
Most IT departments given their structure and nature, simply cannot provide a key ingredient of your IT needs – i.e. guaranteed services with transformational thought. That includes services defined by a strict quality and delivery timeline. Just ask your IT team for their Service Level Agreement (SLA) – you are going to get a blank stare or something along the lines of “we will need to get back to you on that” or better yet “we are working on that.” Even if you obtain some information, chances are that you will see a half-baked document which will not make sense let alone guarantee the strict quality and delivery timelines.
This article is about how you as a C-suite executive, i.e. “Chief” End User can outsource intelligently before it is too late in the game. The following steps will assist you identify services that are prime for outsourcing. First step – you need to ask your team to provide a list of IT services you need to keep internally supported, and the IT assets you have to outsource in order to stay afloat and competitive along with internal controls.
Second step – in the interim reach out to known Managed Services Providers and/or reach out to your fellow C-suite Executives and ask them about the pros and cons of outsourcing. Ask them in the same conversation about previously mentioned SLAs and how they would recommend a solid outsourcing vendor.
In my experience, there are 3 key reasons that make outsourcing a game changer; 1) Solid SLA tailored to business needs 2) Great communication resulting in customer delight and 3) Aforementioned “smart” IT services – getting services above and beyond the agreed upon scope which helps your business transform.
Let me take a moment and expand on item no 3 as this is very critical to all businesses. Smart vendor services are when a vendor constantly provide ideas and expertise to help you transform your IT services. The vendor shares tools and processes that enhances your day to day operations, delivering customer delight. They provide this over and above investment and the vendor becomes a trusted partner enabling you to move your business to the next level.
Third step – when your IT team comes back with their list of what to keep internal and what to outsource, challenge the list by asking them to justify all items. Give them a week to re-do the lists and also provide the respective SLA for each one – either an SLA provided by the internal IT team, or an SLA expected of the vendor. A “penalty” and a “credit” should be described when an SLA is breached or surpassed by either party. This will make the IT team give you a realistic list of what they can do and what they cannot do and what is required for outsourcing.
Finally, you will have the foundation to make a decision on what IT services may need to be outsourced. Once this information is obtained, create a Request for Proposal (RFP). Request Managed Service Providers (MSP) to bid on it. As the Chief End User, now you have a plan to move your organization forward in procuring robust and smart IT services. This will help you focus on your core business and move the rest into the hands of experts who can help realize your goals.