The evolution of managed services in the last few years has transformed IT infrastructure operations and the service delivery landscape. This transformation is largely due to the leveraging of tailored service contracts actively supported by analysts and advisory groups.
The key attributes of a managed services contract cover the role of a service provider, which includes: owning responsibility for a given portfolio of services and other key responsibilities such as:
- Managing service performance on SLAs, KPI along with continuous service improvement
- Being accountable for the innovation and transformation within the portfolio
As outsourcing services matured, managed service providers have become reliable technology stewards with years of experience in remote infrastructure management. Today, enterprises have started realizing the benefits of managed services, which majorly includes IT value addition.
To quote Agatha Christie,
“One doesn’t recognize the really important moments in one’s life until it’s too late.”
Through an effective contractual partnership, a managed services provider can decrease IT spending, improve in SLA and enhance overall operational productivity. However, value creation is less dependent on evolutionary steps like process maturity and cost per unit of service, but more on enhancing organizational maturity of transforming IT in lock steps with business.
A managed service provider should transform its role as a valued strategic business partner and:
- React to business seasonality – manage highs and lows of business by leveraging a dynamic operational model
- Participate in the blueprinting and conceptualizing the adoption of a digital strategy
- Enrich end user customer service that in turn allows them to offer enhanced products or services, with a unique and personalized experience, to their customers
While the new era of managed services will focus on a customer-centric model, the balance scorecard on people, process, operation and productivity will be measured through a lens of business value and customer experience. Imagine a situation, where a service provider provides a service desk operation charging based on number of users, and whether the user raises a ticket or calls the service desk. Here, the total cost of resolving an issue will be less when the user raises a ticket and if a managed service provider is capable of encouraging this behavior, then such approach will not only positively impact the cost of operation but will also drive customer behavior through an intelligent business operation which will be sustainable for the firm. However, this is not a simple feat to achieve. The success of such intelligent business outcomes depends strongly on the right systems, processes, governance and focus on continuous improvement. In today’s competitive environment, customer-centricity is not aspirational – it is essential. While this customer-centric managed services model focuses on customer expectations and demands, merely aligning service delivery is not enough – what is required is change in the pattern of operation!
The new era of managed services
With due focus on the constantly evolving business dimensions and customer experience, the new era of infrastructure managed services will not be purely focused on SLA and productivity but driven by dynamism and agility. The new era will not only be an industrialized delivery model but most importantly be a privatized one. Each customer will be offered tailor-made solutions promising the best possible experience through prompt, courteous and professional services. The new era of managed services will be aligned with customers’ business outcomes and not completely focused on IT driven outcomes, assuring high quality of service. For example, tracking the number of reopened tickets will gain importance over measuring the mean time to resolve them.
A successful managed services framework will therefore need to focus on three key elements:
- Collaboration led by led by business consulting – A thorough analysis of customer needs and designing a solution is envisaged based on multiple business offerings
- Organizational Change Management – a people centric approach that can build larger business agendas; A transformation bringing paradigm shift and moving IT from technology stewards to valued strategic business partners
- Micro level execution plan through effective and competitive approach, delivering business outcomes
A command center’s response to server or router alerts will vary between business and non-business hours. The infrastructure rules or table can help arrive at a solution to address this requirement, but in future, intelligent business operations will replace the rule-book based reaction of the earlier era.
The new era of managed services providers should aim to acquire a whole new skill-set that will intelligently link IT infrastructure processes and data to business operations. This will generate a more pronounced business outcome like the service desk example given above. In this era, IT infrastructure teams will create rules that will not be pre-configured but will be configured on a real-time basis and will deliver a point of business solution including end customer experience.