Businesses of any size can benefit from a partnership with an IT managed services provider. It’s proven† that 96% of businesses that engaged a provider have saved money, and 78% are satisfied with the decision. In order to get the best results, consider the following four keys to making your collaboration a successful relationship.
Clarify the Scope of Work
The scope of work, in a successful relationship, is detailed and clear. A realistic review of your own environment is the first step to developing it.
- Your current technology: Is it up to date? Do your systems and applications work well together?
- Your IT staff: What skills are in-house? What’s needed?
- Your company’s future plans: Is your existing technology enough to reach your goals? Do you have the internal staff to grow?
Then, clearly define roles as you and your provider work together.
- What will your staff handle?
- What responsibilities will go to your provider?
Next, identify the processes to follow.
- How will you initiate support? What information is required? Who can initiate a request?
- How will support be provided?
- Who should your provider notify after a task is completed?
Many things can go wrong with a plan, but often issues can be anticipated in advance.
- Identify and assess potential risks.
- Plan to mitigate them, and outline the roles and responsibilities.
Build in reasonable timelines.
- Be sure to include your internal approval times as you establish turnaround times for your provider.
Plan how you will synchronize security processes.
Document how changes will be handled.
Identify and agree to measures of effectiveness.
The importance of communication in any partnership cannot be overstated. View your provider as a partner in your success, and work to ensure that open dialogue occurs at all times, with all involved. Map out the below items in advance, to facilitate this relationship.
- Appoint key client and provider points of contact.
- Clearly define decision rights.
- Commit to addressing any issues immediately, and have an escalation process in your plan.
- Have a feedback plan in place to ensure continual improvement.
Hold Regular Meetings
Similar to open communications, regular meetings keep dialogue and information flowing between you and your provider, and foster good cooperation. Continue these meetings throughout the life of your contract, as changes and opportunities will likely arise throughout this time.
Announce the Plan to Your Staff
Your IT staff may feel threatened by the introduction of an IT managed services provider. It’s important to mitigate this unintentional effect.
- Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all parties.
- Confirm that this is not a job security threat.
- Discuss how your team will have more resources to help with day-to-day work, so they can focus on revenue-generating projects.
- Outline career paths and development opportunities, so they see this change as a positive.
With careful planning and clear documentation, your relationship with your provider will go smoothly. Take the time now to work out the details, setting the foundation for a great collaborative effort.