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Our Guide to an Effective IT Managed Service part 5

Getting the most value out of your Managed Service

So, you have your new managed service in place. The transition went well with minimum disruption to the business, with SLAs and KPIs being consistently achieved.

Let’s define what continual service improvement means to your business.

Quite simply, the continual service improvement (CSI) process is based on ITIL methodology with the aim to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of IT processes and services, in line with the concept of continual improvement adopted in ISO 2000. Sounds simple, right?

Fig.1 shows the ITIL CSI lifecycle.

The main objectives of CSI are to identify, improve and evolve service delivery processes and identify potential cost saving opportunities for your business.

Fig.1

How should CSI be approached and what should you expect from your supplier?

Continual Service Improvement incorporates the following steps:

  • Measure (against objective outputs)
  • Assess (gap analysis)
  • Design (remedies or enhancements)
  • Transition (roll-out service)
  • Measure (effectiveness of service)

Your service provider should provide a robust governance structure against which the services are monitored, reported and assessed. An example of our tried and tested service delivery governance framework is demonstrated in fig.2. Why not measure your existing provider’s governance structure to compare and contrast; are you getting the most out of your service?

Your supplier’s Service Delivery Director, Account Manager, Service Delivery Manager and ICPM (Incident Change and Problem Manager) should be working together (and collaborating with you), to drive improvement and cost saving initiatives forward.

This is achieved through daily contact with the Service Delivery Teams, monthly and quarterly business reviews and your supplier aligning their services to your key business objectives. Any service improvement processes and changes should be documented and audited on a regular basis.

What reporting frequency should you expect?

You will have outlined your expectations for service reporting in the RFP. Every business will require various levels of reporting depending on the nature and scope of the service delivered. A typical IT Managed Service reporting suite should be presented to you in your desired format and provide monthly and quarterly reports on:

  • High-level service summary
  • Monthly/Quarterly SLA review
  • Monthly/Quarterly ITSM Incident SLA review
  • Number of tickets by engineer
  • Performance by location
  • Incident types, trends and service requests per location
  • Quarterly Credit Review
  • Quarterly Finance Review
  • Agreed changes or proposed service improvements to service (proposed/accepted)

Continual service improvement is not just a phrase

CSI shouldn’t be something that appears in your suppliers RFP response and then gathers dust. To deliver your service and help grow your business, CSI is a prerequisite. You should never hear the phrase “We will do this at renewal”, if you do, change your provider.

CSI should be a part of your supplier’s culture; at a minimum they should be running Quarterly Business Reviews internally using a service improvement register to:

  • Record: recommendations, approvals and rejections
  • Track: previous changes and the status of approved recommendations
  • Measure results: did it deliver to expected outputs and budget, if not, why not?

Your supplier should also be running debate days. These provide a valuable forum to evaluate internal and external processes, peer to peer issues and opportunities.

The key thing is dialogue; as a famous actor once said, “It’s good to talk” and in today’s age of emails and instant messaging, the value of dialogue is more important than ever, and it should never be underestimated.