Are your ICT managed services cost-effective? Part 3

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

In Part 1 we discussed: what delivery model is your managed services provider (MSP) using? Dedicated, shared, on-demand? The dedicated delivery model will cost you a multiple of the other, leveraged, models, potentially 2 to 3 times, but may still best suit some organisations. All delivery models offer different sets of pros and cons, but the need for core managed services to be delivered locally, and with that, dedicated services, is diminishing.

Part 2 dealt with improvements and innovations your MSP is proactively bringing to your organisation. You should expect your MSP to optimally exploit modern technologies and platforms, to apply lessons learned from previous, similar project delivery experiences, and, at the operational, service desk level, you should see cost and/or service improvements as their knowledge base of your ICT environment expands over time. If you’re not seeing these benefits you really need to think hard about your current managed services contract.

Next, as an extension of Part 2, let’s talk specifically about whether your MSP is helping your organisation optimally exploit the alternative application, compute and storage platforms: data centre, on premise and cloud.

First, let’s establish a key point – there is no “one size fits all”.

The optimum use of these platforms is completely dependent on the characteristics of your organisation’s business operations and internal processes and data. So, the notion of “everything’s going to the cloud” is highly debatable, despite the many advantages of cloud platforms.

Some organisations’ data is so sensitive that going to the cloud means too much risk, perceived or real. In other cases, it’s nothing to do with data sensitivity. For example, if you’re an organisation with remote operations and a lot of production data (e.g. a remote mine site, or an offshore oil platform), where the available, affordable telecommunications bandwidth is limited, it makes little sense to try pumping your data up into (and getting back down from) the cloud – it’s neither practical nor economical.

But the point here is that, by now, if you’re not an organisation constrained by data sovereignty issues, your MSP should have no excuse whatsoever to not having taken a good hard look at optimising the mix of application, compute and storage cloud / on-premise / data centre platforms for your organisation. After all, the notion and availability of cloud computing is at least a decade or more, old – depending on which ICT industry gurus / vendors you give credit to.

If your MSP hasn’t yet seriously explored the options for you, and, hopefully, worked to migrate you wholly or partly out of the data centre and / or your premises, you are paying too much for your ICT. Potentially a great deal too much.

You’re also not optimally positioned to cope with your organisation’s changing business needs. If this is the case, you need to ask your MSP why.

Frontline Services lives and breathes IT platform optimisation, both in advising organisations about their optimum ICT architecture, and well as in delivering managed services for clients. If you want help with this topic, feel free to contact us via www.frontline-services.com.au .

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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Are your ICT managed services cost-effective? Part 4

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

In the first three 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.

Now let’s move on to cover the way your MSP engages strategically, tactically and operationally with your organisation. The key question is “how often does your MSP engage with you to understand your business objectives, strategy, challenges and opportunities?”.

There’s no one correct answer to this question, because it depends on each organisation’s preferences, needs and environment.

But in the connected, networked, online world, ICT is more than ever an essential resource for many organisations. More services and products are being procured and delivered online, both B2B and B2C. Organisations’ online, digital presence is now their “front door” to the world, their prospective and current customers, partners, their staff and all their stakeholders.

So, it makes a lot of sense to ensure that your MSP is tuned into your organisation’s business plans and priorities, so they can add maximum value from an ICT perspective.

Ideally, your MSP is proactive in this regard; at an operational level you should be engaging regularly to review services and maintain at least a 90-day outlook of your business priorities and the ICT projects in the pipeline.

A strategic and / or tactical level engagement process also makes sense: business and industry changes, threats and opportunities are appearing at an increasing pace, as are technology choices, features and benefits. So, ensuring that your MSP is appropriately aware of your 12+ month horizon plans and priorities is beneficial to both parties. You should expect your MSP to proactively respond with proposals and a roadmap to drive ICT investments.

Just one other, closing point. If your MSP genuinely seeks a long-term relationship focused on your organisation’s business outcome then you should expect them to give you impartial advice on technology investments. This can be a dilemma for some MSP’s: many derive significant revenues from re-selling hardware, software and platform services, and will incentivise their representatives accordingly. But not all MSP’s actively pursue reseller revenues – something you should consider when selecting your MSP.

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 ICT topics, please contact us via www.frontline-services.com.au .

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. 

Connect via LinkedIn

 


View the full series:

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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. 

Connect via LinkedIn

 


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26th WAITTA INCITE Awards

Our sister company, InteliCare, was recognised for their approach to solving real world problems at the 26th Annual WAITTA INCITE Awards and AIIA National iAwards for 2017.

On Friday, 16 June 2017, WA’s ICT Industry assembled at Hyatt Regency Perth Hotel for the Awards Presentation of the Twenty-sixth Annual WA Information Technology and Telecommunications Alliance INCITE Awards. We congratulate all finalists, Winners and National iAwards Finalists on their efforts. All Winners and National iAwards Finalists will represent Western Australia at the AIIA National iAwards, which will be held in Melbourne in August 2017.

MOST EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT SOLUTION AWARD
State & National iAwards Finalist

Finalist for MOST IMPACTFUL SOCIAL BENEFIT 

Finalist for MOST DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Finalist for START UP OF THE YEAR

Finalist for MOST EFFECTIVE PLATFORM