Blogs & Opinions

Our Guide to an Effective IT Managed Service part 2

The industry has rapidly evolved over the past twenty years. IT managed services buyers and providers are able to define their requirements and service delivery with more accuracy than ever before. You have completed the initial step of building a business case for an IT Managed Service, have had approval and are all set to go to the next step; creating your RFP. Before you proceed, there are three key areas for consideration to ensure you achieve the right result.

1.Focus on the root cause rather than the symptoms

With the constant talk of digital transformation, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making the technology your primary focus. The belief is that if you purchase the latest and best technology, it will deliver results. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. It is far more critical to spend time and energy on understanding the business challenges you identified when building your business case, and mapping these to the current market solutions.

You need to have a clear idea of your goal before you issue your RFP. At this stage, you should involve stakeholders and users from across different business functions. This will help you understand end-user requirements and visualise the scope from varied perspectives, ensuring that all aspects are covered. Undertaking this exercise will also provide you with a forum to discuss and shape how your service should look now and in the future.

The concept of purchasing a basic off-the-shelf solution at a low cost is no longer a viable option. IT departments know that dealing efficiently with the unpredictability and volatility of support requirements comes at a high cost. Identifying and working out a flexible arrangement with a suitable provider is the only way to support your growing business.

2. Look to the service provider for innovative solutions

Organisations are trying their best to keep up with the technological changes in today’s dynamic digital era. They do this with the best intentions, but often without the budget or resources available to truly leverage innovation in technology. With upwards of 80% of IT budgets going towards supporting legacy systems, this is hardly a surprise.

It’s a challenging task to put in writing a requirement for disruptive solutions when you publish an RFP. However, through the continuous service improvement process, businesses should look to their service providers to identify innovative technologies that will improve services, processes and drive efficiencies. (you can download the full series now via the link at the bottom of the page)

Businesses tend to run procurement processes in the exactly the same way they have always been run, yet the expectation is for the results to be different. For true innovation to be possible, the challenge is to change the approach and give service providers the space and flexibility to be able to offer and implement their ideas.

If you want an innovative solution, you should work on creating an atmosphere of openness that inspires creativity and innovation. Involve more people – users and decision makers – from across the business. It is the responsibility of the leadership team to make the culture conducive for innovators. Even though you may not ultimately implement all ideas that are offered, it is important for you to review them and pick and choose the ones that you believe would work for your business.

3.Framing output-based service-level-agreements (SLAs)

The SLAs define what the client requires from the vendor in terms of the service and quality of that service. It also defines the process and steps if the requirements are not met. You are aware getting the right service level agreements (SLAs) is of critical importance in any IT service. A great deal of time and effort goes into creating the SLAs, however that is not enough to guarantee an excellent service.

Service levels can no longer be defined at the start of an engagement and then forgotten, they need to be constantly reviewed, improved and updated to match the evolution of the service throughout the duration of the contract. Whilst it may seem a great idea to set service levels in stone, you may be better served by output based SLAs. These are obtained by averaging the metrics, over several months. This will deliver optimal results from the partnership and will create an agile working environment.