Any business can manage its own IT - just as it can do its own accounting and legal work, property management, marketing, brand design and management, health and safety, catering, cleaning - provided it is willing to divert resources away from its core business activity.I have posted before about how the Managed Services paradigm takes away the need for the businesses attention to be on its IT, and puts that attention back on the core (see Why Your Competitors are Outsourcing Their IT Services). The challenge for a small to medium enterprise is to have trust in its Information Technology resource, especially in a Managed Services agreement.
At base, the Managed Services paradigm requires trust. The Managed Services Provider effectively says "trust me to keep your IT maintained and in good working order", billing an agreed amount for an outcome rather than the effort expended to achieve that outcome.
Unlike in the more traditional time-&-materials approach, where performance alone justifies expense, the MSP's customer needs to know that their IT platform is being appropriately maintained as well as experiencing it's availability. In the MSP context, availability is performance.
Trust comes from performance + transparency.
Note that useful transparency is does not equate to full discovery. Excess of transparency creates overhead - getting 28 pages of 8-point reports on your four servers to review every 30 days is not going to make your life a lot easier.
Transparency in the Managed Services context means at least:
- Systems state reporting, minimum monthly, with easy to consume health summaries backed by detail and followed up with a meeting to discuss any concerns
- Systems state reporting, on demand as required, with easy to consume health summaries backed by detail
- A time detail report for any work done outside of the agreement
- A full onboarding report, along with recommendations for remediation
- Reviews, at least quarterly, to map the trends reported to the businesses digital transformation roadmap
Reports must be crafted to have business meaning for the business reader, while avoiding over-simplification. This also provides you with some confidence that your Managed Services provider has some understanding of your business!
Customer-centric intent drives customer-focussed outcomes.
If you are concerned that you are not getting the transparency you need for trust, feel free to reach out to me for advice.