A girl and a boy standing side by side, engaged in a discussion while holding a laptop
Managed Services

Why a Managed Services Partner (MSP) might be the answer to your technology scalability problems


Picture this. You are aboard a magnificent, state-of-the-art sailing boat, cruising through pristine waters. But every smooth sail hides the collaborative effort of a skipper that navigates the boat through choppy waters to the destination, and an experienced crew team that works below the deck to keep the vessel afloat and moving. Now imagine if the skipper not only bears responsibility for navigation and passage planning, but also has to work below the deck to perform engine checks and manage galley operations? Faced with competing priorities, the skipper would find himself struggling to lead the crew and making costly mistakes that put the safety of his crew at risk. Just as sailors have to brave unforgiving oceans, business leaders also have to manage the complex demands of a constantly changing digital landscape. While business leaders may feel there is no need for an Application Managed Services Partner when their in-house IT team is adept at managing their tech stack, the fact remains that they might just not be able to do it all.

A Managed Services Partner (MSP) is by no means a replacement for your internal team. Instead, they can help tackle the day-to-day tech operations, defending the business’ systems against the constant threat of disruptions. From efficiency gains, cost savings and improved service quality, to scalability and better decision-making, the benefits of MSP automation are multifaceted. The MSP works as an adept partner bringing in specialized knowledge and an eagle-eyed perspective of the evolving technology landscape. Just like the skipper on a boat, the MSP supports the internal team by identifying potential risks. Keeping your on-premise and Cloud applications running smoothly, while constantly looking for ways to innovate with technology, can be quite tough. This blog explores some of the different situations that might require your business to work with an Application Managed Services Partner.

Managed Services Accessing the right skills, at any time

While your internal IT team excels in maintaining IT infrastructure and ensuring uptime, they may encounter challenges that are unusual or highly technical, which can go beyond their core expertise. This is where the importance of having a team with a specialized skill set comes into play. IT teams typically focus on remote monitoring and management, contract compliance, and keeping IT systems running smoothly. However, when unforeseen issues arise, especially those with a high degree of complexity, it becomes essential to bring in a specialized team to address them effectively. As their focus is on understanding both the business and technology objectives, they can provide tailored solutions that align with these goals.

The MSP brings a more holistic view, offering insights into new technologies and industry best practices. To always ensure your system functions smoothly, you need a team that has a specialized skill set to handle unforeseen challenges. An MSP has access to a bigger pool of specialists who can detect and rectify issues within your system before they impact your business. Take for example, an Australian frozen food manufacturer that worked with Fortude’s Application Managed Services team to manage their recently implemented Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage solution. The manufacturer benefited from the advantages of an external a dedicated Managed Service Provider, who was able to share their industry expertise, and know-how related to the latest Infor M3 and CloudSuite developments. This broader perspective allowed Fortude to recommend new tools and technologies, provide proactive issue resolution, and ensure the smooth operation of their Infor system.

Supporting your transformation goals

An MSP can help your business’ digital transformation journey in two ways. First, the right partner can bring a fresh approach to the way you manage your business-critical applications, helping you make the most of your technology investments. And second, by taking on the task of managing your tech stack, it frees up your team to focus on innovation that will drive revenue growth.

Ongoing supply chain disruptions continue to highlight how important it is for businesses to adapt fast to change. With an MSP in place, businesses can rest assured knowing that they have the right technologies in place to be agile in the face of disruption. By providing a better view of the timely upgrades and implementations that need to be made to your system, an MSP ensures that your technology is supporting your key business functions in an effective and efficient manner. While an internal team can play a supporting role on this front, an MSP has a more updated view of new and upcoming implementations and upgrades that will best suit your Infor M3 system and business.

Guarding against downtime

MSPs are the guardians against the hassle of unexpected system downtime, and they play a crucial role in averting such disruptions, ultimately saving businesses from substantial financial and reputational losses. Downtime, whether planned or unplanned, can have dire consequences, ranging from revenue loss to damaged customer trust.

MSPs tackle unexpected downtime through several key strategies, including:

  • Proactive Monitoring: MSPs don’t wait for issues to emerge; they proactively monitor systems and services. This approach involves regular system checks, vulnerability testing, and risk assessments to identify potential problems and address them before they cause downtime.
  • Business Continuity Planning: MSPs help businesses develop and implement comprehensive Business Continuity Plans (BCDR), which include data backups, redundancy measures, and strategies to recover quickly from unforeseen events like natural disasters or cyberattacks. In a disaster, MSPs ensure that critical data is protected and accessible, and essential business operations continue running.

In essence, integrating a Managed Services Provider (MSP) alongside your internal IT team ensures that your technology operates at its peak performance. An MSP brings a specialized skill set to address unforeseen challenges and enhance overall efficiency. This external viewpoint allows for proactive solutions, particularly in scenarios that may exceed the core expertise of your internal team.

Filling the gaps with automation

For businesses looking to deliver innovations faster without sacrificing quality, testing is crucial. But testing is fast becoming a specialized field that requires a steep investment in skills and training. This might not be realistic for an organization whose resources are already stretched. For example, in the case of a business that is running its core operations on Infor M3 or CloudSuite, there is a need for specialized testing skills. This is where an MSP can step in. With an experienced MSP, companies have access to increased testing capacity and scope, and tap into advanced test environments and the latest testing tools, devices, and platforms. Fortude’s own automation regression testing tool, Fortest is an example.

With Infor M3 specific libraries for accelerated implementations and pre-built industry-specific test cases for Infor CloudSuite Fashion and Food Beverage, Fortest can help businesses fast-track their testing. By leveraging test automation, Fortude’s Application Managed Services Team has been able to reduce their regression test cycle time by 90%, enabling businesses to free up key user time. The tool also enables 50% reduction in scripting time through pre-built industry-specific test cases for the fashion and food beverage industries, which helps business deploy new tech releases faster without compromising on quality.

The right partnership for growth

Developing the right strategic partnerships can help drive growth for your business. To choose the right MSP, it’s important to first identify the specific technology needs of your business and then consider the expertise required to run the IT infrastructure of the company not just at the moment but also in the future. While your internal IT team might be able to manage your existing systems, they might not have the capabilities required to scale the technology as your business grows. In addition to responsive support, the ideal MSP should also be equipped to offer proactive support, with contingency plans in place to resolve possible issues that may crop up. In addition, the right MSP must be up to speed with the compliance and regulatory requirements of your industry. Instead of an MSP that offers a “one-size-fits-all” solution, business leaders must look to MSPs that are ready to take the time to understand the unique needs of your business and provide tailored solutions. Apart from bringing right technical expertise, the right MSP will also be able to collaborate effectively with your team – this includes ensuring ongoing and transparent communication and compliance with the Service Level Agreements (SLA). Looking for a trusted Application Managed Services Partner to manage your Infor ERP applications? Talk to our Infor ERP Application Managed Services team today: https://fortude.co/services/managed-services-for-infor/