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Managed Services: An Evolving Need in the Post-pandemic World

By Tim Britt, CEO of Synoptek

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a unique impact on different organizations, depending on their industry, size, location, local regulations, and the services/products they provide. From a business perspective, some organizations have fared well and continue to generate the same level of business as they were pre-COVID. From a technology standpoint, many organizations already had digital cloud solutions in place and could change their business seamlessly and efficiently. Businesses that had to shift the way they actually do business faced the biggest challenge. Some companies had to even change how they market, sell and deliver their products and services. Many organizations had to change the technologies they were using and shift their technology operations dramatically to enable the business shift.

The changing role of Managed Services Providers (MSPs)

"Managed services" is a relatively new term and one that many don't fully understand. In the technology world, it means managing processes, technology, and assets to achieve predictable quality service levels and consistent results.

Technology-managed services are in demand now because both the technology service providers and the companies that rely on them have learned, especially during the pandemic, that implementing technology, managing it consistently, and efficiently running it while trying to meet the business goals is a complex and challenging task.

MSPs have built operational processes, integrated systems, automation, reporting, and organizations that enable them to effectively manage and evolve technology in a high service level, high-quality way. Many organizations simply do not have the operational processes, systems, and right people to do it. As a result, organizations are increasingly turning to MSPs to outsource the operations of their technology. The concept of managed services also aligns with the organization's interests because the MSP typically combines advisory services with operational services to deliver business outcomes in terms of growth (scalability), service levels, quality, and possible cost savings.

In the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, technology service providers were waiting in the wings to be called upon when something went wrong with their clients' technology. Today, "managing" technology isn't about keeping systems running, it is about evolving them to meet business needs effectively. Managed services are about proactively guaranteeing a customer's technology ecosystem is always healthy and functional and ensuring the client's business processes are continuously bringing better results. For example, an organization can process more orders with fewer errors, get invoices and statements out sooner to improve cash flow, and grow new markets. With the new-age MSPs, the client is paying for results - the right subject matter experts to help them utilize their cloud technology, high-service levels, responsiveness, and the guarantee that their systems are not only up and running - but, most importantly, evolving!

Balance technology needs and costs with new-age MSPs

MSPs allow their clients to leverage their technology expertise. An MSP has a vested interest in learning and researching technology, staying abreast of what is coming down the pipeline, and keeping ahead of the market. And they leverage their technology expertise to help their clients move the business forward with new and innovative technology platforms and enable them to stay ahead of the market and their competitors.

Another benefit of working with MSPs is cost predictability. The fixed fee structure of MSPs ensures the same costs every month - meaning no big spikes in bills or unexpected investments, especially during adverse circumstances. Additionally, managed services give growing, and even declining, companies the ability to address seasonal variability and scale up or down their services depending upon current needs.

Choose an MSP that can be your single trusted technology advisor

The number of technologies working together to support business needs is constantly evolving. The complexity of how these technologies can be brought together to increase flexibility and variability keeps increasing as well. As a result, companies are now turning to a single, trusted managed service partner who can support complex integrated environments and get the most out of their technology investments. Technology management as a service or IT as a Service is on its way to becoming the de-facto standard for how companies leverage and manage their technology. Therefore, choosing the right MSP becomes more critical than ever before.

 
How do you know when an MSP is doing an excellent job for you?
  • Compare your year-to-year cost of doing business adjusted for growth of revenue and profits. If you don't observe any growth, your MSP isn't doing its job correctly.
  • If the amount of money you've saved in operating costs exceeds what you spent with your MSP, then your MSP is on the right track.
  • Remember, your MSP is supposed to help you reduce your overall cost, with a direct, positive impact on your bottom line!

 

The MSP you select must be able to deliver consistently and effectively. First, check the service level guarantees. Note, service levels are different across MSPs - often with considerable differences in capabilities - typically, smaller MSPs don't have the capabilities to achieve high service levels 24x7. Be sure to compare the needs of your organization to the capabilities of the MSP. If you have a big geo-distributed team operating across time zones, you need an MSP that can support you round the clock and has the ability to avert and manage risks. The MSP you choose should, at the very least, have:
  • The relevant technical capabilities - do they support the cloud services used by your organization?
  • A deep and broad team with varied skillsets to cover your primary needs
  • The size and scale necessary to support you off-hours, across technologies - and at sufficient volume
  • The ability to work an extended period to maintain a sustained level of support 

The silver lining...

In addition to all the upheaval COVID-19 continues to create, organizations gained deeper insights and more opportunities. One silver lining is that we've all learned how much is possible if we set our minds to it and engage with the right technology partners. Look at the technologies that are becoming available to organizations. The possibilities of leveraging these technologies are extraordinary.

As the global economy begins to return to normal, these technologies can be used to reach customers, serve them better, create a digital experience that compliments whatever products and services they're purchasing. Businesses can scale in ways that many people thought were not possible. Technology-managed services will play a major role in successfully bringing this shift and keeping you in the game!

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About the Author

Tim Britt 

Tim Britt is the CEO and co-founder of Synoptek, a global consulting and IT services firm focused on delivering results for its customers. Britt has served as a strategic executive in the capacity of CEO and CIO for the past 25 years. He has provided strategic consulting both in his current role at Synoptek and with dozens of prior strategy and operational consulting firms serving Disney, Levi Strauss, Home Depot, Jusco, and others. 

Britt holds an industrial engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. He lives in Irvine, California with his wife and four children, and enjoys skiing, hiking, biking, running, fishing, and other outdoor activities as well as dedicating himself to philanthropic interests in the areas of conservation and education.

Published Tuesday, May 04, 2021 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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