Outsource IT Helpdesk

 

There are many advantages of outsourcing your IT services; some may seem obvious, while others may surprise you. We conducted a survey of our customers and asked why they chose to outsource their IT services, here are the most common answers to that question. 

Optimized Spend 

Far and away, the top answer was reduction of costs. One of the most significant benefits you may see when partnering with a qualified MSP is reduced costs for IT hardware (volume discounts) software and employee costs. Working closely with your Managed Service Provider can help you lower operational costs, minimize capital budget for technology expenses, and reduce overall IT spend.

Rapid Response 

Workplaces and hours are more flexible than ever before.  Which means companies choosing to build out an internal help desk are now scrambling to offer 24/7 support for the business and many are realizing that this is an expensive proposition. A MSP is available after hours, weekends, and even holidays to provide real-time support whenever you need it.    

Certified Engineers 

A huge benefit of outsourcing your IT is that you are partnered with an entire team of professionals that bring a broad depth of knowledge across industries, at a flat monthly rate. The reality is that no one person can keep up with all the changes happening in technology today, and it’s often not in the best interest of a business, non-profit, or health provider to remain “status quo”. When you partner with a qualified MSP, you receive a team of IT professionals, project managers, cloud experts, help desk professionals, and virtual CIOs that that bring best of breed solutions to help your company remain competitive.   

Security 

Cyber security is not a “set it and forget it” function anymore. In today’s world of increasing ransomware and cyber-crime, all companies need to be looking at MSPs that bring security solutions to the forefront of the conversation. Many MSPs offer the most current cyber products in the market, including training your staff, email, and network monitoring, and even leveraging software that uses artificial intelligence to detect potential issues before they become a problem.   

Scalability 

As your business grows and changes, your IT needs grow, change, and evolve, and you will need to scale your IT systems up or down to accommodate those needs. IT demands can be changed in real-time to meet your unique business needs weather you’re on premise or in the cloud. Your MSP should monitor your needs and provide suggestions to scale up or down based on your hardware usage to ensure that your user experience is maximized while costs are kept low.       

Transparency  

Many MSPs can provide detail customized reporting about your ticket resolution times and utilization of their services.  Also, the ability to log into a dashboard that can show you the health of your IT systems, both on premise and in the cloud. 

What Size Company Benefits from Working with an MSP? 

Overall any size company can receive enormous benefits when working with a Managed Service Provider. A company,  that does not have an IT department can retain a Managed Service Provider to act as an outsourced IT staff that keeps the computers and the network running, makes sure that software upgrades and patches are done, provides cyber security services to minimize the risk of hacks or ransomware, and makes recommendations about timing to replace aging internal servers and networking equipment. Or provide consulting if moving everything to a cloud environment makes more sense for greater accessibility and flexibility.  

Mid-size and large companies, that have an IT Manager, or some IT staff often outsource pieces of their IT functions to avoid hiring and training additional IT engineers and avoid the added expense of company-paid benefits or the risk of turnover that is prevalent today.    

When there is an internal IT team, the MSP staff often takes care of the “day-to-day” issues, such as helping users when they are forgetting passwords, supporting users with access to applications and data, or assisting with network issues.  Many large companies hire an MSP to manage cyber security software and provide “tier 3” technical support beyond the capabilities of internal junior-level IT staff.   

 

What Should I Consider When Selecting a Managed Service Provider? 

Now if you’ve read this far and are thinking, “I could really use the services of a Managed Service Provider,” here are some things to consider...   

Expertise 

Once you understand the range of services you need, look for a Managed Service Provider with the experience and expertise to provide reliable IT solutions for those services. Many small to mid-size Managed Service Providers across the United States specialize in specific products and specific industries. Do your plans include moving to the cloud, look for a Managed Service Provider with cloud experience. Or, if you have a particular software integral to your business, consider a MSP that understands and supports that software.   Struggling with  compliance requirements, make sure the MSP has the tools and ability to support your organization through this complex process. 

A Managed Service Provider with the right expertise can become a partner in your business’s growth, management, and health.   

Range of Services 

Every MSP has a range of services that they provide to take care of your IT and cloud needs. Those can include onsite IT resources, remote technical support and network monitoring.  Along with cyber security software products, cloud hosting and management, even virtual CIO services. Determine the services you need and partner with a Managed Service Provider that comprehensively addresses your unique needs.   

 

Security Solutions  

It is critical to work with a MSP that operates in protected environments to ensure the safety of your data. Find out what security products are available and if they’re offering the most comprehensive solutions to keep your data safe.   

If you’re in a cloud environment here are some items to consider:

  • are they advising a “shared” cloud or a “private” cloud
  • consequently what are the risk should another of their clients fall to a cyber-attack
  • if you need to change service providers would there be a cost to migrate your systems off their platform
  • how easy would it be to migrate off the platform

Customer Experience 

Firstly make sure to discuss your needs and requirements when it comes to response times.  Dig into the support structure to make sure they have an adequate number of employees to support your organization.  What type of customer service does the Managed Service Provider provide? Customer service should be apparent at every stage of their operation, from the sales team to the technical support. A MSP is an essential part of your tech team, ensure you are working with a helpful service-minded provider. Most MSPs monitor client satisfaction, ask to see those scores to find out how their clients experience the service received.   

Reach 

If you have offices in multiple cities or states, find a MSP that can support all locations. However many MSPs work only regionally, while others have the resources to provide services nationally or internationally.   

Trust 

Turning over your IT services to an MSP is a big decision that involves a great deal of trust. Make the right decision, and you sleep well at night. Make the wrong decision, and your business will suffer.    

Understandably trust is earned over time, so be sure to ask your MSP for the following:

  • references
  • customer satisfaction scores
  • number of years in business
  • partnerships (are they large organizations like Microsoft?)
  • review response and professionalism of sales process

Cloud Customization  

Your business is unique, when considering moving to the cloud, you want a MSP that will create a custom environment. Therefore choose a Managed Service Provider that will customize its services and solutions to help optimize your business.  

Cost 

Since cost is a consideration in business decisions compare the cost of the services to the cost of hiring internally. Typically, a company cannot hire the expertise and resources available at the cost a Managed Service Provider charges. Work with the Managed Service Provider to help them understand your budget and choose services that meet your IT requirements. To stay competitive in today’s market, reduce costs and keep your data secure, consider partnering with a MSP.   

 Interested in learning more about our help desk? Click here.

 

Having an internet connection go down or slow to a crawl is not only a nuisance, but can grind business operations to a halt, or at best, put a severe damper on productivity. Even a seemingly minute delay can have exponentially adverse effects on your company's effectiveness.

Every extra second of loading time, multiplied by the total number of employees and the many daily operations can eat up several hours of collective work time every single week. We should, of course, exclude the frustrations generated as a result of slow network speed.

What Constitutes a Fast Network?

In perspective, the average broadband DSL service provides speeds anywhere in between 10 to 25 megabits per second (Mbps). Fiber-to-business services, on the other hand, can range from 25 to 300, while some providers can offer as much as 1,000 Mbps.

It's safe to say that with a 1,000 Mbps network speed, your application will run super fast, video streaming will be seamless, and you can use multiple resources at a time without seeing any drop in performance. But the question is whether you need that much speed, or you can achieve the same level of efficiency with less.

It's not all that difficult to determine the actual Mbps your workspace needs. One factor to keep in mind, however, is that the more internet connections you have and the more people are using separate devices at the same time, the higher the Mbps connection you will need.

Testing

The first step is to check your monthly statements from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They should clearly state how many Mbps you are getting. Once you have this information, you should run a simple speed test to determine the actual performance of your connection. If the numbers don't add up, contact your ISP to see what the issue is.

Most commonly, however, a slow network speed may be caused by factors in your office. Two major factors determine the exact internet speed you need. How many people are using your network and what are they using it for.

Optimizing Your Network Infrastructure

Aside from increasing your internet connection, you can also work to streamline your network's architecture to improve functionality and overall productivity. Here are some examples:

iWAN - Intelligent wide area networks (iWANs) extend the capabilities of traditional WANs by integrating advanced services that benefit remote workers.

SD-WAN - Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) will help boost the network performance, as well as the security and scalability of that network. They can incorporate regular broadband as well as other modes of transport and provide various failsafe protections in the event of a slow or downed system.

VPNs - Remote work is an ever more common occurrence across the United States. And while this improves flexibility, it can, however, harm productivity as well as security. To circumvent this problem, you should use virtual private networks (VPNs). These will extend a private connection over a public network, ensuring secure and easy access to essential company apps and resources.

Conclusion

Managing your network and improving its efficiency are investments that will surely increase company productivity. By partnering up with a managed service provider, you will keep your system in top working efficiency while allowing your employees to do the same.

And if you're working from home, check out this in-depth article on how you can boost your wifi signal.

is-my-network-speed-fast

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Stability in Technology for San Diego 501 (c) 3 Non Profit
Business Needs: Since 2009, Managed Solution has been providing the San Diego Opera with Managed Services from Silver to Platinum Support. We are an affordable resource when their budgets fluctuate and have been cost effective by outsourcing their IT needs instead of hiring full time staff. They initially came to us because their server was not getting emails and they had several domains needing to be safe guarded. They had a small internal team managing over 100 users and were looking to find a trusted provider who could manage their day-to-day support with printers and email.
Solution: Managed Solution was able to service their company with Platinum Support, visit on site every other week and take care of all requests. We rectified VPN client issues, set up new users, normal daily crisis issues, file permissions, log in issues, WIFI challenges and set up Back Up Disaster and Recovery because they were using tape prior. We upgraded them from tape backups to redundant cloud BDR services.
Success: Managed Solution was able to streamline internal processes, quickly resolve issues and increase productivity. We continue to provide a high level of quality service with our on-going relationship between transitions in leadership and with different levels of support. SD Opera is grateful for the stability provided by Managed Solution during a challenging transition period.

 

“Managed Solution has been a great asset to the team and my field engineer, Jake, is wonderful, also the help desk is always extremely responsive”. - Michael Lowry, CFO

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

A managed service provider (MSP) is an organization that manages a company’s IT infrastructure and user systems from a remote location. An MSP is a network administrator, security consultant and disaster recovery expert rolled into one.

These professionals handle information services, business-to-business integration, supply chain management, and all the tasks clients don’t want to carry out themselves.

MSP Providers Explained

MSPs streamline a range of business services for clients in various industries, from healthcare to retail. These services include payroll management, human resources, systems operations, compliance and network monitoring. In a recent study, 77 percent of MSPs provided backup and disaster recovery — the most popular service offered by these professionals. Seventy-six percent specialized in remote monitoring and management, and 57 percent provided managed network security. Other popular MSP services include mobile device management, payment processing, and hosted and cloud video surveillance.

MSPs serve an important function. They execute functions that organizations don’t have the time — or the resources — to complete themselves. Fifty-six percent of companies with 100 or more employees who used managed IT services said they chose an MSP to improve the efficiency and reliability of their IT operations. Moreover, 38 percent of companies said enhanced security and compliance was a motivating factor for choosing an MSP. As more organizations worry about IT security — 60 percent of small brands go out of business within six months of a cyber attack, according to one study — it makes sense to choose an MSP that has experience and knowledge in this field.

MSPs date back to the 1990s. Back then, they were called Application Service Providers (ASPs) — companies that hosted and maintained applications for other businesses. Today, MSPs are used by more people than ever before. Research suggests that global managed IT services spending will reach $193 billion by 2019 — double the amount organizations spent on these services in 2014.

How an IT Managed Services Provider Works

Most MSPs operate on a subscription-based model. Clients pay monthly or annual fees for services, and costs vary depending on the MSP. One study suggests that MSPs in the United States charge clients $65 per desktop, on average, for IT support and maintenance. After agreeing on costs, the MSP and the client will come up with a service-level agreement (SLA) — a contract that defines the roles and the responsibilities of each party. The SLA will stipulate factors like performance benchmarks, availability, and uptime.

There are lots of customization options, too. Typically, clients just pay for the services they require — procurement or employee management, for example — instead of expensive packages that include services they don’t need. Communication between the MSP and the client is critical, however. “To fully take advantage of the available managed services options, an IT department must become adept at managing relationships, not only with external providers but also with internal users, who are increasingly being seen as customers,” says Danny Bradbury from CenturyLink, writing for Forbes magazine.

The Benefits of an MSP Managed Service Provider

MSP IT providers optimize various business processes. Clients relinquish control of their operations, but MSPs take care of all the time-consuming and repetitive tasks. This provides clients with more time to focus on other business-related duties. Outsourcing IT services to a third party suits organizations that have a small team of staff or want to drive business growth. They can reduce labor costs by delegating IT services to an MSP, for example.

MSPs save clients money, too. These professionals search for ways to cut spending and improve cost management. Forty-six percent of managed IT service users have reduced IT costs by 25 percent or more; 50 percent have reduced IT costs by between one and 24 percent.

Network security is one of the most popular managed services. MSPs upgrade IT services, manage IT infrastructure and ensure systems aren’t compromised by malicious parties. They often have specialist IT skills, providing the client with peace of mind.

Also, MSPs are familiar with federal and state legislation and PCI compliance standards. This reduces the likelihood of clients receiving hefty fines for non-compliance.

What are Cloud Managed Service Providers?

Cloud managed service providers are a type of MSP that deliver managed IT services via the cloud. These companies centralize network services and applications from a single data center, allowing users to access data quickly. Other benefits include data recovery: Cloud managed service providers store data in the cloud, so users have access to files after a natural disaster or another emergency. More than half of all MSPs now offer cloud managed services to clients.

Businesses are under pressure to provide customers with high-quality IT services. Thirty-six percent of brands want to deliver IT services faster, and 16 percent hope to increase the quality of IT services. Managed IT service providers offer a solution. Clients can deploy services these professionals to better manage their everyday business operations.

Managed Solution offers support services to organizations with dedicated IT consulting and managed services – helping improve productivity, setting predictable controlled costs and reducing the impact of infrastructure challenges on daily operations.

Optimize your existing resources and put more focus on Strategic IT projects while we provide quality support through our award-winning US-based Help Desk located in Southern California

Our Managed Services Portfolio includes offerings that cover a wide range of technology’s – choose from one of our packaged offerings or pick and choose the specific services and applications that fit your business needs. The first step will be a Network Assessment with one of our infrastructure experts that will provide you a network inventory analysis, identify any and all network issues and correlate data collected to provide you extensive insight into your network and its performance

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

July 20, 2017 – At “Inspire,” Microsoft’s Annual Global Conference, held earlier this month in Washington D.C. Managed Solution, the top 1% of Microsoft Cloud Service Providers worldwide, was honored with “CIE Facilitator of the Year” Award.
This prestigious accolade recognizes Managed Solution’s contributions to the SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise communities for their commitment to excellence in delivery and execution in conducting dozens of Customer Immersion Experiences in the Southwest. The Marketing Team at Managed Solution developed innovative engagement experiences for attendees with the development of HoloLens demos and virtual CIEs.
About CIEs: Customer Immersion Experiences are provided, in a public or private setting, with up to 12 team members. Lunch is provided by Microsoft and participants engage with the suite of Office 365 products. Attendees interact with software in a classroom environment and learn actionable ways to boost productivity within the workplace.
About Managed Solution: Managed Solution was founded in 2002 and was quickly recognized as one of San Diego’s 40 fastest growing companies and the 27th fastest growing IT company in Southern California. With corporate headquarters in San Diego, Managed Solution provides IT services nationwide and was recently recognized as one of the top 10 National Cloud Service Providers.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How to Get the Most From a Managed IT Services Provider

Leaning on a managed IT services provider (MSP) for a subset of your IT services can be a boon. More than just tackling specific domains like email hosting or customer relationship management, having an MSP as part of your IT mix can free up internal IT staff for more strategic projects.

But establishing a strong, strategic partnership with your MSP is essential. Here we take a look at the current state of managed IT services, where companies are employing the MSP model, and how to get the most out of your MSP partnership.

Managed Services Growth is Steady

Managed services comprise the second-most popular business model in the channel today, according to IT industry trade association CompTIA's Fifth Annual Trends in Managed Services study.

Three-in-10 MSPs surveyed by CompTIA ranked managed services as the leading generator of revenue in the previous 12 months, second to the 44 percent that pointed to IT solutions (such as projects incorporating hardware, software, and services), but ahead of other business model choices like value-added resellers (VARs), IT support, and help desk and consulting services.

The study, authored by Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA, found that the rate of growth of managed services is continuing, but more or less at a steady pace.

"I think the managed services space is moving slowly at sort of the same pace as we've seen over the past five years," April says. "Where we're seeing more momentum right now is the channel that's growing around SaaS applications and SaaS ISVs."

"A lot of these SaaS players are actually MSPs themselves: They've either been born in the cloud or they are existing MSPs that are adding a SaaS component to what they sell in their portfolio," she adds.

Resist the Urge to Bargain Shop for Managed IT Services

Organizations are continuing to turn to MSPs to handle elements of their IT needs as part of a collaborative arrangement with the internal IT department, according to CompTIA’s research. Companies have become more familiar with managed services and are turning to them for certain IT functions, particularly email hosting, customer relationship management (CRM) applications, storage, backup and recovery, and network monitoring.

However, CompTIA is also seeing commoditization occurring because of oversupply, especially at the lower end of the stack. April says this may tempt CIOs to bargain shop for managed services, but they should resist the urge.

"Look for MSPs that understand your business and that speak less about the technology," she says. "I think that's important across the board. You want a partner that can talk about business outcomes and how their services are going to help further your goals from a business perspective, not a technology perspective."

Here, April says a proven track record is key — especially customer testimonials from existing customers. She warns that it should be a red flag if an MSP offers you a cookie-cutter service-level agreement (SLA). It's a much better sign if they seek to craft a customized contract based on your business and needs.

Top MSPs Extending Their Reach to Meet Demand

Strategic MSP use doesn’t have to be confined to commodity IT services. Many CIOs, says April, are looking for MSPs that can deliver advanced services, including cloud infrastructure management, application management, and business process outsourcing.

Modern MSPs offer comprehensive cloud services, including cloud migration, management, and optimization. They help businesses leverage cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud for improved scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. Additionally, they provide robust cybersecurity solutions, including advanced threat detection and response, managed firewalls, encryption, and regular security assessments.

April also notes increased demand for services around data analytics, business intelligence (BI), and advanced application monitoring. And while some upper echelon services are offering managed services to meet those needs, most MSPs have yet to extend beyond their heritage in managing network infrastructure and basic software infrastructure.

Utilizing automation and artificial intelligence to streamline operations, modern MSPs can proactively manage and maintain IT environments, predict and prevent issues, and improve service delivery efficiency.

"I think mobile is an area where the channel is getting some traction but they're really not tapping the full opportunity there," she adds.

Partners, Not Replacements

It is also important to note that while companies are increasingly relying on outside providers for part of their IT needs, MSPs generally complement rather than replace internal IT.

"Very few of these companies get rid of their IT staffs just because they join up with an MSP," April says.

Instead, especially in larger companies, bringing an MSP into the mix frees up existing IT staff to focus on more strategic projects. Proactive monitoring and maintenance by modern MSPs ensure maximum uptime and reliability, while scalable solutions grow with clients' needs, providing flexible service models customized to specific requirements and budgets.

"It elevates the IT staff and brings them out of the shadows within the organization," she says. "It allows them to focus on a custom app dev project or cloud initiative — something highly strategic. I think that's a win-win for your IT staff."

A top-tier Managed IT Services Provider will align their services with their clients' business goals, helping them achieve desired outcomes such as increased productivity, cost savings, and competitive advantage. They assist clients in meeting industry-specific regulatory requirements and standards, ensuring that IT practices are in line with compliance mandates like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.

That also highlights that the reasons organizations turn to MSPs have begun to change. In the past, April says, cost savings were seen as the primary benefit of MSPs. Now, cost benefits are considered table stakes, and customers are looking for additional benefits like generating revenue and helping the company become more efficient.

Even security has evolved from being considered a roadblock to using MSPs to a reason for doing so. April explains that companies have shifted their views over security as it has become clear that security problems are often the result of human error by internal staff.

Modern MSPs prioritize customer satisfaction, offering personalized services, transparent communication, and a partnership mentality. They focus on building long-term relationships and understanding their clients' unique needs.

By staying current with the latest technological advancements and trends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and blockchain, MSPs integrate these technologies into their service offerings to provide cutting-edge solutions.

Remote and Hybrid Work Support

MSPs can provide robust support for remote and hybrid work environments, ensuring that employees can securely and efficiently work from anywhere with access to necessary resources and tools.

By leveraging the capabilities of a modern managed IT services provider, businesses can achieve a more strategic, efficient, and secure IT environment, positioning themselves for success in an increasingly digital landscape.

(more…)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

9 things MSPs want you to know - managed solution

9 things your service provider wants you to know

The relationship between enterprise IT and service providers can be difficult. IT has frustrations in achieving optimal service levels. Service providers, as it turns out, have an equal number of bugaboos when it comes to their enterprise clients' readiness for and acceptance of provider intervention.
We asked providers across a range of services what advice they can offer to smooth out some typical bumps in the road for their clients. Here's a look at what they had to say.

1. Focus on the business users' needs, not the technology.

One of the biggest mistakes that enterprise IT makes when engaging a service provider is focusing too much on finding technology to solve the problem instead of fully understanding the problem that needs to be solved.
Consider the problems that can arise if you take a "technology first" approach to data management. Stan Christiaens, CTO at service provider Collibra, which specializes in data governance, says focusing on the technology rather than the problem can create chaos, especially if different technologies are pieced together and critical information is siloed in different groups and departments within the organization. Such a hodgepodge strategy erodes user trust about the reliability of data.
"There needs to be a much greater emphasis and focus on the business users and the processes and methods they use to find the data that's most important to them," Christiaens says. Once you understand that, he explains, IT can help create governance rules and policies accordingly, enabling business users and data scientists to find, understand and trust the data they need to fuel critical insights.

2. Don't get caught in the 'expert' trap.

Companies must be careful to choose services that work for the whole company, not just one person. Catering to power users can get you into a heap of trouble.
This is especially true when it comes to services that rely on certain skill sets. "Just because you have someone on your team who is an expert with a specific tool or programming language doesn't mean it is what's best for your specific enterprise system," says Steve Logue, senior business development manager at Surety Systems, which focuses on ERP systems.
Logue gives the example of a client, a women's apparel company, that had implemented a system primarily because it had an in-house developer who could build custom programs and outbound interfaces for the application. The developer subsequently left the company, making it difficult for the remaining users to "future-proof" the system, he says. For instance, that developer's custom-built programs might break if users installed patches that the software vendor had intended for the off-the-shelf version of its system, Logue explains.
Companies should make sure that the services they choose will still work even if an expert user isn't around to maintain the system. Most providers nowadays have tools that need little customization and easily adapt to updates.

3. Know the problem you need to solve.

"One of the most challenging things for solution providers is that the customer often doesn't have a complete understanding of the problem they're trying to solve," says Jeremy Larkin, CTO at Imgix, a provider of real-time image processing and delivery services.
Therefore, service providers often spend a lot of time trying to understand the client's enterprise environment when the client should have had that information ready before the engagement began.
Larkin acknowledges that "it kind of makes sense" that clients may not fully grasp their own problems, because "part of the reason they're outsourcing in the first place is they have something they don't know how to solve on their own." But it nonetheless "makes things very hard on us, because it means they often can't [provide answers] we need to structure the best solution for them," he adds. "At the worst, it could mean they end up buying something that doesn't actually solve their core issue."
Carlos Meléndez, COO at Wovenware, a software development and engineering company in Puerto Rico, agrees. "By providing more information to service providers, IT teams would help bring more value to the projects and to their own organizations," he says, adding that they could also "potentially save money."
A good place to start is to know the requirements of the system you want to develop. Meléndez encourages IT to work with end users to make sure they capture the correct requirements.
Knowing the requirements in advance enables service providers "to efficiently develop a system that meets the company's needs," Meléndez says, adding that it also enables them "to bid their project fees based on the actual requirements rather than factoring in potential scenarios."
Part of the problem, according to Meléndez, is that IT sometimes sees service provider relationships as opportunities to offload responsibility. "System development is a partnership. To get the greatest value, it shouldn't be about transferring responsibility from the IT team to the service provider, but rather about both strategically collaborating throughout the process," he says.

4. Be prepared to share details of your current IT infrastructure.

Clients that aren't well acquainted with their own IT infrastructures create problems for service providers.
"One of the biggest issues we face on a consistent basis is a lack of knowledge about the current IT infrastructure," says Emil Sayegh, CEO of Hostway, a global cloud and managed hosting provider. "So, before we can begin on transitioning to a public/private/hybrid cloud or dedicated infrastructure, it requires an assessment by one of our solution architects."
When a service provider is forced to study a client's architecture, timelines are delayed, requirements must be revisited, and costs start to rise.
"We run into situations where software is cobbled together running on multiple operating systems and on multiple generations of hardware — and it's still on physical servers," Sayegh says. "It's much better if the customer has made some transition to virtual servers, which is a good steppingstone to the cloud."

5. Remember: Training isn't a one-time exercise.

When engaging service providers, IT shops have been known to budget for initial training on the application but not for ongoing instruction. That's a big mistake, says Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies, a help desk and IT service management provider.
"Things will change," she says. Additional training will be needed when new people join the IT team and new features are added to the system.
Therefore, IT's contracts with service providers should allow for as-needed training.

6. Identify a point person to act as IT's sole liaison with the service provider.

Service providers may have difficulty interacting with IT departments that have multiple silos, so it's important for IT to choose someone to act as a single point of contact.
Nathan Ziege, director of application development at software development and technical services provider GlowTouch, says the client must appoint a technical liaison who can work across the entire enterprise IT team to gather specifications and resolve incidents.
For instance, if Ziege's team is working on an API and runs into a problem downstream with a billing system, they want a champion on the client side who can bring in the person responsible for the billing system.
"Whoever represents the enterprise IT team should be someone who can reach across the various departments within IT to get all the relevant teams on board and ready to participate," Ziege says.

7. Make sure your provider understands how you like to communicate.

Communication can be a big hurdle for service provider-enterprise IT relationships. Service providers must know at the start how the client likes to communicate, including the key systems they use.
"Working on an internal infosecurity team for a security service provider provides an interesting perspective on improving communication," says Katie Ledoux, an information security analyst at security provider Rapid7. "For both sides, whether you're on an internal IT team or a service provider, the first step must be setting expectations, defining goals and adapting to each other's communication styles."
She emphasizes that knowing the specifics of a client's approach to communication — "when to use email, phone, ticketing systems etc. versus more casual channels like Slack or other chat platforms" — can help teams work together more effectively. "No one wants to disrupt another team's workflow," she says. "We know it's not effective."
Make sure to stipulate in your contract the communications systems essential to enterprise IT's workflow.

8. Be as clear as possible about your expectations.

Every business relationship involves certain expectations, but IT doesn't always make its expectations completely clear in contracts with service providers.
One detail that's often overlooked is the metric IT will use to gauge whether its expectations have been fulfilled. "Trust can only be built and maintained on the basis of mutual clarity. Therefore, transparency of IT's priority measurements for each service provider relationship is foundational to success," says Michael Hubbard, global vice president of ServiceNow's Inspire advisory program.
Enterprises must be clear from the outset which metrics, such as cost, quality, availability, value and adoption, they plan to use to judge how well the service provider met their needs.
"Service providers can optimize their delivery in many ways, but don't make them guess on your priorities, nor on how you will measure their achievement," Hubbard says.
He recommends an exercise where the enterprise envisions a future headline it would share in an internal memo defining the success of the engagement with the service provider. The headline would include quantifiable outcomes, such as cost savings, the project's deadline and projected ongoing returns on investment.
Hubbard says this exercise helps everyone work toward the same goal. "Day in and day out, especially in times of crisis or tough decisions, this anchors the team," he says. "When weighing the options of going right versus left on a topic, asking which route best supports the outcome quickly drives to a preferred direction of action."
SysAid's Lahav says enterprise IT should manage contracts by the "spirit of the agreement" rather than the "letter of the law."
"Service providers rarely try to fail against contracted service levels — it's bad business to do so," she says. So, while some type of remedial action may be necessary to address persistent failure, she suggest that, in general, if a service provider is working hard to meet tough service-level targets, it might be better to evaluate the provider's performance on a monthly basis, in the context of the full duration of the contract, rather than on short-term results.

9. Understand that service providers have been hired to help, not harm.

Enterprise IT teams can be wary of working with third parties, especially if it wasn't their idea to hire a service provider. Therefore, service providers spend a lot of time — sometimes too much time — trying to convince IT that they are there to help.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta_button2 h2="Looking for a technology partner to assist with a specific project or services?" title="Managed Services Quote" position="bottom" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.managedsolution.com%2Fmanaged-services-quote-request%2F||"]

As one of the biggest, brightest and friendliest IT companies in Southern California we want you to take advantage of our free security assessment or just request a quote for managed services. We can even work on your behalf to get appropriate projects funded by Microsoft. Call Managed Solution at 800-790-1524.

[/vc_cta_button2][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Better business needs better business tools. Successful companies are using Managed Service Providers to increase profitability without out-of-control IT costs.

A Managed Service Provider advises in the selection and design of Cloud, mobile and on premise environments.  With our flexible management service models your infrastructure becomes agile, secure and cost effective with a pay-on-a-per user model.  Check out these four reasons modern businesses are choosing Managed Service Providers: 

1) Cloud Strategist guides to the RIGHT CLOUD strategy  

  • Decreased Operational spending increases asset utilization
  • Full access and control of  your DATA
  • Instant access to enterprise level services

2) Flexible CHOICE to integrated layered support services 

  •  Predictable “pay-as-you- go-model”
  • Technology Advisors available  anytime 24/7/365 days
  •  Service plans designed to fit clients business needs

3) Secure Data access from anywhere, any device

  • Capitalize on mobile technology for increased user productivity
  • Enterprise authentication to secure and protect your data
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model with application management

4) Trusted Technology Roadmap Advisor & Partner

  • Build Cost to Serve technology & support model
  • Rationalize reasons for technology performance Gaps
  • Preparation of Business Continuity Plan to plan for the worst

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.