Three Traps to Avoid When Choosing a Managed Services Provider

Seeking to drive profitability and manage costs, organisations are increasingly leveraging automation and technology at the expense of IT support team head count. As a result, limited IT personnel resource is stretched across a broader skill set. The challenge is only intensified by the on-going transition into the digital era.

Lean and mean is all very well. However talented your IT team, though, it’s unlikely you’ll have the complete skill set, in house, necessary to manage business-critical infrastructure, platforms and applications.

If, like most organisations, you don’t want to leap straight into full outsourcing, it’s essential that you find the right managed services provider to integrate seamlessly with your in-house IT department. Getting this right can pay huge dividends. It can help you meet the growing demand for 24/7 availability, ensure systems stay stable, efficient and secure around the clock and at the same time release your internal IT team’s resources to focus on business enablement. We’ve looked at this in our blog How outsourcing IT maintenance can improve the user experience .

Key to getting this right is choosing a managed services partner that can deliver the services that are right for your organisation. Interested to know how our clients came to decide on ONI, I recently asked some of them a deceptively simple question: “What was it that led you to choose ONI as your managed services provider?”

The criteria they used offer an excellent basis for the assessment of any potential provider. Here are three of the most often mentioned. We’ll explore three more in my next article.

Meeting SLA targets – but only just?

Service providers often publish performance data which shows they are meeting their SLA commitments. What’s often hidden is that while they’re meeting the SLA, they’re only doing so by a hair’s breadth. Instead of looking just at what percentage of issues are resolved within the SLA, look at the average time taken to solve them. For example, the ONI Technical Assistance Centre is near-obsessive about resolving all customer enquiries not just within the two hours specified by the SLA, but instead resolving it within half of this time, every time.

Near enough is good enough?

Many of our customers find that suppliers (especially the larger players) offer pre-defined SLAs, trying to persuade them to accept “near enough” as good enough. Typically, they lack the flexibility to deliver a bespoke SLA to work closely with your hybrid services solution. At ONI everything is driven by your needs: we always create a solution, complete with SLA, to meet your actual requirements.

Never accept a solution that suits your provider, if it doesn’t suit you. If you need a four-hour SLA and your supplier offers a solution with an eight-hour  SLA, go ahead and challenge them to offer a service with four-hour SLA you need.

SLA buck-passing

Be wary of resellers who sub-contract their SLAs to third parties. They won’t have full control over the service they deliver to you and there’s a danger you’ll find yourself passed back and forth when seeking issue resolution. While it’s inevitable that complex solutions may demand elements of third party support, it’s important to be sure you have a single provider to deal with, with full control over all aspects of the solution package.

Make sure that, like ONI, any provider you use conducts thorough and effective due diligence on all third parties. If they don’t have the confidence they will deliver a service that they’re happy to put their name to, why should you be prepared to bet your business on it?

I’ll be looking at three more key criteria for assessing a Managed Services Provider in my next article. Meanwhile, we are regularly assessed by prospective customers on these and similar criteria. If you’d like to see how we stack up against criteria such as these – and your own – then please do get in contact.


About the author:

Trevor Mockett- Customer Service B&W

Trevor Mockett, Customer Services Director

As ONI’s Customer Services Director, Trevor is responsible for ensuring we always put the customer first and embodies the ideal of “going the extra mile” to ensure we deliver service excellence.

Trevor has over 25 years’ experience in the IT industry, most of which has been spent in a systems integration or managed service environment. He joined ONI in 2012 and has been instrumental in the development of the majority of our Cloud service propositions.