Interview with Bogdan Manole, Head of Service Delivery | Application Management
Companies considering a move to the managed services model should understand that it is a different business landscape and, as such, they should become familiar with its distinguishing features. Resellers, integrators and traditional, product-oriented solution providers have been migrating to the managed service model for at least a decade, and that transition will continue as more and more companies opt to become Managed Service Providers. Given that managed services are outperforming the overall IT market, this is no surprise.
We asked our Head of Service Delivery for Application Management, Bogdan Manole, to give us more information as to how enterprises could better:
- understand what Managed Services is in the large spectrum of the IT industry
- discover how MS help businesses evolve faster
- learn how to choose the right Managed Services provider
What are the focus points when considering Managed Services?
All roads lead to managed services. License resellers, system integrators and traditional, product-oriented IT solutions providers have been migrating to the managed service model for at least a decade. The transition continues as still more companies opt to become Managed Services Providers. The reasons for the shift are clear. Managed Services offer a higher growth rate than other technology sectors and is outperforming the overall IT market. This is both a benefit for companies looking to outsource their Managed services or transition them from one provider to another, but also a challenge as there are so many options out there.
In the past few years, business overall has been pushing demands for the adoption of Managed Services as companies are seeking more and more to reduce costs, address gaps and provide flexibility. When considering a move to Managed Services, businesses should thoroughly take the following into consideration:
- Infrastructure in place
- Cloud migration strategy
- Digital workplace adoption strategy
- Cost of operating
- Operating efficiency
Of course, the number one reason is the financial aspect. It regards the reduction of TCO (total cost of ownership): operations, staffing, tools, training, comprehensive support and predictable costs. A model of payment should be able to scale up or down depending on the usage.
There has been a great amount of introduction into new and disruptive technology and that comes with the increased burden of maintaining infrastructure and application reliability and performance. It’s a challenge to do all of this without any additional risk, costs and resources.
Why do companies move to Managed Services?
Typically, because they are faced with some challenges such as:
- IT professional staffing: finding qualified personnel that are easily hirable and specialized in the needs of the infrastructure and application suite.
- Considering the 24/7 availability comes at extra cost and churn rates
- Staying up to date with evolving technologies, tools, security, monitoring and IT skills
- Managing and maintaining current infrastructure – understanding different platform and enterprise solutions support requirements, the need to have predictable costs, all those things need to be taken into consideration.
- Securing data, transactions and communications
- Responding quickly to time-to-market demands
- Remaining flexible enough to maintain competitive advantage
- Reducing cost margins and overhead
A lot of times, Managed Services come into play when there is a shift in size or a bottleneck occurrence pattern. Timing and competition drive the need to increase services a lot of the times and this of course targets the adoption of new technology.
So, when decisions are made to adopt Managed Services, how do you take that initial discussion to consulting with potential providers?
Well, you want to begin the evaluation process with companies that can support your environment. There is a lot of data on the systems you have, you are going to be asked to provide numerous reports, configurations etc. You will have to answer a lot of business questions as well. Some clients elect to provide all that in one take and use an RFP process at this stage. All this content merges into a managed service custom proposal that will contain individual SLAs and service mix to fit your need. Managed Services, at the very onset, is intended to be a very customizable set of services, specifically tailored to meet your needs.
Another aspect that should be uncovered in this process is the risk factors. Do you have legacy equipment, legacy products, capacity issues, security issues? All of that should be thoroughly vetted in that proposal design phase.
The next step is really the creation of the Scope of Work. The SOW is the document that will govern your agreement and after all the hype is stripped away, this document will detail exactly what you will be receiving. It’s the control point of the entire agreement, so you want to make sure that it has a clear budget timeframe and that it is in accordance with your negotiated SLAs.
Next will be the Operate & Improve phase: live management, continual improvement, issue identification, escalation and resolution, satisfaction audits, regular service management meetings, scalability management and more. This enables your business to maximize your investments and maintain control of operations while freeing your IT staff to shift focus to more strategic initiatives.
The end goal of Managed Services is really to minimize downtime, optimize costs, scale when needed and ensure accessibility, compliance and security.
What makes a Managed Services Provider the trustworthy partner that companies seek?
A reliable MS provider is adaptable and can scale resources and customized solutions to meet your business goals. High availability and responsiveness to your needs and problems should recommend them at all times. An experienced MS Provider follows ITIL best practices, has a service improvement strategy in place and the technical experts on staff who act as part of your team when you need advanced technical skills. Also, it offers standardized documents and procedures to endorse and showcase the quality of its services.
The right partner has a proactive approach that encourages not only problem prevention but also continuous improvement. To prevent your business when facing disruptions or any kind of outages, a good MS provider will help you plan, protect your data, and make sure your business can recover from a disruptive event. It not only offers simple monitoring and device management but can also empower your business by analyzing failure patterns across platforms and processes, emphasizing areas for customer and service improvement.
Consistent service delivery can be built only on stable, reliable processes with a repeatable methodology. The chosen MS Provider should have processes that can be replicated across multiple delivery teams. Also, flexibility in doing business with you should be a decisive factor when collaborating with a new provider, as well as its readiness to innovate, improve and reduce costs to mutual benefit.