Adopting managed IT services locally to you is an effective way to outsource specific operations so that you can focus on your core business. Doing so involves a gradual, step by step process.
Step 1: Planning
The first thing you need to do before you choose an MSP (managed services provider) is to define and determine exactly what you wish to outsource. You need to be very careful to not (at least initially) delegate the management of your processes that are business knowledge-intensive or are highly unique to your company.
You also need to decide on the actual scope of managed IT services as they will pertain to your business. Everyone’s specific roles and limitations must be clearly defined so that all processes within the business are covered and everybody is apprised of their responsibilities.
The final aspect of the planning process is to compose your service level agreement (SLA). This defines the service to be provided, its scope, and will cover an array of considerations including performance analysis and metrics, reporting of issues, customer responsibilities, customer compensation, and data protection and security.
Step 2 – Managed Services Provider Selection
You need to be confident that you are choosing a reliable managed IT services provider. This will require time, research, and focus to find the MSP that will be the right fit for you and your business.
The selection process may look something like this:
- Shortlist managed IT services providers based on location, the capabilities of those on your shortlist, and how they comply with your requirements, recommendations from experts, and testimonials from previous customers.
- Once you have selected at least three to five candidates, send them a Request for Information or communicate one-on-one to glean more information. The Request for Information is applicable when you know what you want from your MSP.
- If you’re unsure of what you require, or you have already sent a Request for Information, circulate a Request for Proposal among your shortlist. This solicits interest from your shortlisted MSPs and the replies to this will include price quoting and statements of capability and availability to provide the solutions you seek.
- Choose the most suitable candidate for you and negotiate the final terms and conditions of your service level agreement.
Step 3 – Transition Phase
This is when the transfer of knowledge happens. Your new MSP will observe internal operations before completely taking on the service management responsibilities of the business.
Your service level agreement will reflect the methodology and schedule of the work to be undertaken by your MSP. You need to trust your chosen MSP – don’t fall into the trap of interfering with their methodology or over-specifying how the service should be delivered. Micromanagement only leads to suboptimal performance and your MSP knows what they are doing and has their specific reasons for how they get the job done.
Step 4: Administration and Reporting
It’s important that you perform regular reporting and periodic performance audits and reviews. This will include ensuring your MSP remains competitive and delivers for you.
Written by Mark Potter, Staff Writer at www.WHIA.com.au