Managed Services - Becoming useful to the Business
Managed Services by definition is managing the IT Services (aka Commodity Services) via outcomes and SLAs . The basic mantra is for the client to become more strategic and a metrics driven organization( its own IT arm now focusing on new Cutting edge technologies, Enterprise architecture , Thought leadership and supporting new business enablement ideas) and leaving the daily IT operations to their IT Services Partner.
One may argue that by letting go of the operational arm, due to the inherent nature of Managed Services, client IT team is actually distancing themselves from the day- to- day IT operations. Client IT Managers often grapple to get status on support issues as now they have to go through various IT Support layers. In the Pre- Managed Services days, the Client IT team would have been engrained into IT operations , by virtue of one team doing support and development and hence would have had real time information on support tickets. So, how can IT become useful to the Business in the Managed Services world?
IT Services Partner should build a Business Liaison Layer in its organization thereby removing dependency on Client IT Layer for day to day Business Liaising on Support issues. Well, let us be practical, without major rebadging upfront, the very foundation of Managed Services will not support this on Day 1.Typically clients would not like to rebadge their key IT Managers as this is a huge risk to their business. Also it could take months for the IT Services Partner to build this capability internally across all areas. So this option will fall into continuous improvement bucket and is not an immediate solution.
Another option which we can consider is what I would like to call "Control Rods in a Nuclear Reactor" scenario - here the Nuclear Reactor is "Managed Services Operations" and the Control Rods are the "Client IT - interventions". Per this option, the Client IT team focuses on its core functions but makes interventions into the Managed Services operations only when required. The Managed Services Team continuously broadcasts the current status of the support ticket, tagging it by the relevant Business area so that its operations are transparent and "Business Visible". The Broadcast module should be a bolt on to the ITSM framework resulting in minimum impact to Support productivity, personnel diversion. The module seamlessly translates the status of the tickets to the Client. e.g. If the Order Management System is down , the System automatically sends update on who is working on it, time spent, ETA, Escalation status , contact numbers. During critical tickets, the client IT team, based on some exception criteria, can make interventions when thresholds are about to be breached.
Managed Services structure cannot be "one size fit all". It has to be customized based on individual client landscape and business needs and has to continuously evolve to be relevant.
Posted on behalf of Thomas Mathen, Associate Manager, Client Services, RCL