Managed services is evolving as a great next step for businesses that need extra help when it comes to IT, but don’t want to add all the hassle of recruitment, training and retention of permanent staff.
But, like all things in life, there are issues that need to be considered - things that could go wrong and negatively impact you maximising your use of this very sensible sourcing tool. Let’s look at them, and detail ways that the savvy managed services buyer can avoid them.
There's no transparency
The last thing you need as a business is to get locked into some rigid, inflexible contract. This, sadly, is a classic mis-step by too many businesses when it comes to any kind of outsourcing arrangement. The good news is that through more diligence and critically, dialogue at the contract stage, both sides can benefit from building in things like break points and other means for re-calibrating as needed. Make sure you spend the time upfront getting this right.
The supplier doesn't understand your business and vision
Sometimes, we end up with suppliers that talked the talk but turned out to be a poor fit on a day-to-day basis. The only way to head this one off, really, is to only ever work with vendors that can show they really are familiar with your sector - and the ideal way of doing that is for them to let you talk to other customers (in equivalent businesses as yours) to check they ‘get’ you.
The supplier doesn't provide 24/7 availability and the ability to scale up and down
This is going to be a real choke-point if you have an international business in a volatile market… like everyone, these days. Only evaluate firms that have demonstrable reach and capacity, and that they will happily spin work down as well as up, if you need them to.
The supplier doesn't put you in control of your IT
Non-negotiable. You are asking them to help, not to run you. If the SLA doesn’t put it in stone that you’re in charge, walk away. You’ll thank yourself later, believe you me.
There's no cost control or forecasting of network resources
If you are working with a poorly-managed service partner that makes it up as they go along, with wildly fluctuating bills per month, then you’ve chosen an amateur. Only ever look at top-tier managed service contenders that have transparent sourcing and infrastructure models - and which commit to warn you that usage is going up, and that you’re happy with what that could cost.
Really, all these issues come down to one thing - not working with a firm that really takes that ‘partner’ word seriously: so make sure you only get that sort of firm in for the managed service meeting.