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Select a Managed Services Provider like you’re recruiting for a CEO.

Angus Mansfield | 14 January 2020

Select a Managed Services Provider like you’re recruiting for a CEO.

IT teams have mounting pressure to lead strategy around innovation and digitisation.  Their ability to make this happen is constrained by the day-to-day operational support they are required to undertake to keep the business productive, avoid downtime, minimise cyber threats, and keep staff and core systems up and running. 

Enable innovation and business improvement 

Managed Services Solution is a well-regarded way of enabling the business or an in-house IT team to focus on innovation and business improvement, while gaining access to a team of experienced resources to manage support and tap into expert resources for specific projects and emerging technologies. A further factor is a competitive one.  A Managed Service provider can support IT leadership with their innovation and digitisation strategy by introducing them to new technologies (collaboration, AI, robotics, communications) and expert resources in design and implementation and support.  

The IT function is critical. Selecting the right resources is paramount

Every facet of a business is dependent upon technology and the IT support resources, from finance, sales, marketing, human resources, customer service, corporate affairs, to procurement.  Increasingly there is zero tolerance from the business for downtime, malfunction and inaccessibility. 

Selecting and engaging a Managed Services Provider should be no different from the recruitment of a senior leadership position.  It should be viewed as an investment, a business-critical function to the business.  Yet, too many businesses approach the process purely based upon price, and the cost savings to their business.  This is a short-term benefit and those that take this position miss out on the full value a Managed Services Provider can be to a business. 

When recruiting for a senior position, you will have a pre-determined range of skills, experience, behaviours and attitudes being sought.  You will most likely review their profile or resume, interview the candidate, invite them back for further meetings and seek references.  You may manage the process yourself or engage a recruitment consultant. 

The important stage in the process is the meetings and dialogues.  This is where you get to the know the candidate, where you ask the questions, seek to build rapport and gauge how easily this is achieved, identify the person’s management and personal style, understand their skill set and experience; and in time form a view of whether this person is a fit to the business, culture and leadership team. 

For such a critical position, remuneration is just one selection criteria.  Most likely your decision will be based upon “˜what present impact will this person make, and what future value will they bring to the organisation? And importantly, will they fit in culturally?’. 

This same approach should be taken when deciding upon a Managed Services Provider.  Particularly if they are to fill the gap to keep your business functioning, productive and efficient and to allow you and your teams to focus more on innovation and digitisation. 

Remember the IT function and the resources is business critical ““ with the right resources problems are effectively resolved, best practice technology can be incorporated into the business, and there can be real bottom line benefits. 

Focus beyond cost savings 

It is all about understanding the role of Managed Services to your business and asking the right questions to get the right provider. 

Yes, a Managed Services Solution can provide cost savings to the business and take the IT support headache off your hands.  However, there is far more you should be seeking from a Managed Services Solution, like: 

  • Streamlining operations with new technologies 
  • Safeguarding against cyber threats 
  • Driving more IT value to the business 
  • Decreasing risk by helping the business make data driven decisions 
  • Increase the top line by improving how the business interacts with its customers

Move your discussions away from “˜cost to business’ to outcomes that cover all parts of the business, the ROI that a managed services solution can deliver, and a long-term business relationship. A competent and experienced Managed Services Provider will welcome and capably engage in such discussions and in doing so provide you with more informed and real examples of deliverables to the business. 

Ten questions to ask when evaluating a provider 

Here are some questions to ask of a potential Managed Services Provider: 

1.How will you help me be more competitive? 

2. How will you assist the business adopt new technologies without business disruption?

3.How will you transform the business to the cloud and into being a modern workplace?  What business advantages does this bring? 

4.How will you take our business to being more digital and to cloud-based applications? 

5.How will you work with our existing resources, allowing them to focus on innovation and digitisation?

6.How will you fix our current IT infrastructure problems?

7.How will a managed services model give more transparency to the business and IT issues?

8.How will you ensure our IT environment is as resilient as it can be against cyber-attacks? 

9.How will the cost of a managed service benefit our bottom line? 

10.How will you create a partnership with us and not be a business transaction?

I welcome being asked these questions.  It is a way the XCentral team demonstrating our service strengths in operational enablement, helpdesk and support, IT infrastructure design, IT workplace collaboration, security, network solution, and data centre technologies.