Are your ICT managed services cost-effective? Part 5

How do you know if your ICT managed services contract is delivering the best available value for your organisation?

In the first four parts of this discussion we covered:

  1. What delivery model is your managed services provider (MSP) using? Dedicated, shared, on-demand?
  2. Part 2 dealt with improvements and innovations your MSP is proactively bringing to your organisation.
  3. Then we talked about whether your MSP is helping your organisation optimally exploit the alternative application, compute and storage platforms: data centre, on premise and cloud.
  4. Last week we dealt with: how often does your MSP engage with you to understand your business objectives, strategy, challenges and opportunities?

So, in this final piece of this topic let’s delve into an infrequently talked about, but key, determinant of MSP value:

Are your MSP’s operational staff engaged with your staff, day to day and demonstrating high motivation and commitment to achieving your goals?

This is a more intangible, and multi-dimensional, topic, but real nevertheless. The Situational Leadership model shows that two fundamental people performance dimensions determine team effectiveness: motivation and capability. Organisations need their own people to be both motivated to, and capable of (as in having the skills and, ideally, experience), delivering the outcomes they’re employed for.

Where you’ve outsourced your ICT managed services then the same needs to be true of your MSP’s staff. Their managers and staff need to be high-performing at the ground level if you’re going to get the value you’re paying for.

So how can you assess this? Day to day, general, observation is the most direct way.

  • Do the MSP staff demonstrate a sense of urgency and do what they say they’re going to?
  • Do they listen effectively?
  • Do they show passion to help you and regularly go the extra mile to get things done?
  • Do they demonstrate a knowledge of your organisation when problem solving?
  • Do they convey empathy and look for alternative options to problem-solve?
  • Do they communicate regularly and openly – accepting responsibility when things don’t go right (versus finger-pointing elsewhere) – but then remain focused on getting the right outcome?
  • Do they diplomatically, but firmly, explain when your organisation has some responsibility, and then promote collaboration to get the outcomes you want?
  • On the topic of capability, how often is re-work needed?
  • Do outcomes generally happen when you expect them to?
  • Or, more simply, do they generally seem to know what they’re doing?

There’s a second way to assess MSP engagement in terms of motivation and capability. Look at what their own employees say about them. Sites like SEEK and Glassdoor publish this information. This can give you insights into the mood of the company and staff, and what’s really going on inside the MSP. But a word of caution – employee reviews on such sites are typically anonymous. So, like other types of online review sites, anyone with an email address can post comments, with no doubt, editorial vetting by the sites. You need to make your own mind up whether the comments are objective or, possibly, someone with another agenda – positive or negative.

Frontline Services provides impartial CIO as a service advice to our clients, including ICT planning, product and services selection, and procurement. If you want help with these or other, please contact us.

Stay tuned for the rest of Steve’s Series, published weekly here and on his LinkedIn page.

About Steve Richards, General Manager

Steve is an experienced General Manager with over 35 years’ experience, and a demonstrated history of delivering outcomes. He bring extensive experience to the Frontline Services Executive team, particular in the information technology and services industry, as well as Finance and Oil & Gas. Skilled in Sales Management, Change Management, General Management, Program and Project Management, Steve’s breadth of knowledge makes him a welcome leader for our expanding team. 

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