Magazine / Operations Management Oct 16, 2020 12:50:56 PM

How to choose a Managed Service Provider

The choice of a Managed Service Provider is the first step towards the Digital Transformation of the company. A decision that nowadays no longer passes just through the price of the offer, which remains, in any case, a critical element. The Managed Service Provider par-excellence must support the company's business through Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions and establish a continuous and pervasive collaboration relationship to increase the digital and technological skills of the company itself. In addition, it must demonstrate that it is able to achieve the agreed objectives (through Service Level Agreements, for example) and offer advanced services thanks to the integration of Artificial Intelligence in its solutions.

Robotic Process Automation must be central

Being able to make the most of the potential of a company’s staff is one of the levers to express the potential of the organization and its digital identity. Businesses today want to be able to consolidate their core businesses without having to worry about more monotonous operations. For this reason, the choice of a Managed Services Provider must take into consideration its Robotic Process Automation solutions, i.e. services that allow you to automate routine tasks, such as ticketing or event scheduling. Today, solutions of this type are one of the frontiers of managed services and range from the use of machine learning to follow the daily activities of the company up to workload automation systems to continuously manage business processes and standardize procedures. Automation is the essential tool to allow the individual skills of employees to focus on the most critical tasks for the company's core business, reduce errors and improve the service’s reliability.


Managed Service Provider and Service Level Agreement

A reliable Managed Service Provider will propose to establish a Service Level Agreement with the company. This is an agreement that establishes some performance parameters that the company, through its managed services, will be able to achieve. Otherwise, the managed service provider agrees to pay a penalty. A very positive situation for the company: in the best scenario, it got what it wanted in compliance with the business objectives it had planned. In the opposite case, however, the service provider undertakes to partially reimburse the customer. In addition to this aspect, a Managed Service Provider willing to sign such an agreement immediately demonstrates professionalism and dedication to the relationship with the company.


Not just a supplier, but also a partner

The dedication we just talked about is vital in the relationship between MSP and companies. In fact, companies that turn to a Managed Service Provider do not do so because they want to ignore cloud or automation (two of the fastest growing sectors in the market). The choice of a managed service provider is also made in order to increase the digital skills of the company itself. The supplier must support the customer in making decisions, sit at meetings in order to get to know the company situation from the inside so as to be able to specifically and efficiently integrate their solutions. A Managed Service Provider must become a partner of the company, taking the form of a tool for strengthening the technological skills of the latter in the digital transformation path it is undertaking. The Managed Service Provider must not only continually improve its offer and keeping up with technology, but also, for example, train company personnel through dedicated courses.


A custom Managed Service Provider

In short, the Managed Services Providers that make the difference are those who manage to combine their skills with the know-how that the client company already has. Being able to seamlessly combine the experience in infrastructural and application services with the needs of the individual customer in a coherent way is essential in order to be able to act on multiple levels: costs, operations, technology, innovation. Managed services providers must not only offer “one” service, but shape it from time to time according to the specific needs of each company. Building an infrastructure or application aware, in short, that the skills gained over years of activity must be subordinated to the specificities of the customer's business to ensure that the best possible result is achieved. "Synergy" is therefore the key word and the secret of the success of a managed services provider.


The managed services provider gives a complete package

If the MSP is to be a partner of its customer, it obviously has to provide them with a complete package of technologies. A managed service provider who “isolates” that offering from other competencies is therefore making a serious mistake. Artificial intelligence systems, data analytics, SpoCs and processes based on ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), to name just a few examples, must be part of every service offered by the managed services provider, regardless of the application and infrastructure that is being enabled to the customer. The difference between a managed services provider and another is in the application: how a service is delivered, implemented, supported and constantly evolved. Only those with strong experience in the sector can bring specific skills and solid collaborations related to IT support and IT Operation. Today, already, the convergence of infrastructure and applications is increasingly central and the necessary skills are (and will be) increasingly linked to an application vision. And in the future this aspect will be even more relevant.


What is ITIL and why you need to know it

References of companies already customers of the Managed Service Provider and certifications are two absolute elements that identify the ideal supplier. One of the most relevant is certainly ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), an "IT etiquette" that identifies the best approach to developing IT solutions, through parameters such as service design and service strategy. Basically, best practices that ensure that the Managed Service Provider is respecting the best industry standards, knows how to support the customer's IT infrastructure with ad hoc solutions and projects its services in a flexible and intelligent way, exploiting the most innovative on the market. The most recent version available today is ITIL 4: the companies that support it are the most advanced and competitive.


Why is it so important?

The focus of IT Operation is to make things work. The task of the Managed Services Provider, therefore, revolves around the improvement of the customer. In this sense, ITIL plays a strategic role: it makes it possible to adopt the best practices in the sector to evolve the training of internal staff within the company, enhance business activities and, moreover, solve the problems that are giving a disservice to the enterprise. In short, it ensures that the Managed Services Provider, in addition to offering a quality service, is contributing to the company's future. In this way, MSP and customer work constructively together in a synergistic way, and the results are not long in coming.


The price proposed by the Managed Service Provider must be flexible

Of course, the price of the service offer is important. Companies turn to Managed Service Providers to find renewed flexibility. This is why a supplier who only offers a fixed annual rate may not be the most suitable choice for evolving the company's business, which instead must be agile and be able to adapt quickly to market changes. The company must inquire about solutions where the service is charged, for example, per-device (i.e. based on the number of devices involved) or per-user (proportionate, i.e. the number of people). Other elements must also be evaluated, such as support for multi-vendor solutions or, above all, the possibility of maintaining part of your existing infrastructure for a hybrid approach that does not upset the work done up to that point by the company.


The future vision of the Managed Services Provider

The “Here and now” approach is not enough: the Managed Services Provider must also communicate to the customer how it will constantly allow him, even in the future, to keep up with market trends and the best technologies. The Managed Services Provider must therefore have a clear vision of the future and give the client the tools to help him understand the direction in which the market is going. This means that proactivity and improvement of infrastructure and applications are differentiating points for a Managed Services Provider. The customer must start the day knowing they can count on a better and constantly evolving service. Aiming ever higher and guaranteeing ever better services and technologies: this is the brand of a Managed Services Provider ready to become the customer's true partner, grow the customer experience and increase company retention.



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