I get outraged when a potential client tells me about their IT Company. For many years now, there have been hundreds (probably thousands) of these outsourcing IT Companies offering "Managed Services" to their clients.
In their sales and marketing materials, they offer things like helpdesk services, network and server monitoring, patch management, proactive maintenance on critical infrastructure, and more. It all sounds really good on paper. You just spend a fortune to buy your own network infrastructure and now you need experts to care and feed for it.
Managed Services is Not Reactive Support
But the stories I hear and experience are quite different. For some Managed Service companies, this is a free ticket to send a recurring invoice for a set amount and just collect. It's true. There are some companies who claimed to be providing those services, but in reality all they did was REACTIVE support whenever the primary contact from the client called them. There was NO proactive management at all. No patches deployed, no backups for the past 2 months, no alerts. In this one case, the network infrastructure stayed up and running based on Pure Luck!
When I do interim management roles for a company, one of the first things I do is an audit of their outsourced providers. I ask for the contract to review what has been promised, I ask for reports so they can show what they've been doing, and I look at the billing. A good sign of a bad Managed Service company is that they don't ever change the user count from invoice to invoice.
For most of these companies, they charge "per user" or "per computer" to provide their services. If your bill remains the same month after month, but you have turnover in your organization - that's a real good sign that your provider isn't paying attention.
Ask for Proof of Work
Ask your current provider to produce a list of helpdesk tickets from the past 90 days. If they can even produce one, look it over and see if they are properly tracking issues and resolving them so they don't happen again. Also, are there trends that you see that you can fix with training or adjustments to policy? Do you get 90% of your helpdesk calls from users that can't remember their password? Question it.
Do you get alerts or notifications when something breaks? How about when your website or e-mail is down? Many managed service providers promise to monitor your network, but do THEY even know when it's down? I remember on old client long ago had to do a building move. They wanted to test their current managed service provider who claimed to be monitoring the network. On moving day, the client turned OFF the servers and moved them to the new building. They were down for pretty much the whole day moving, yet did not receive any alerts or phone calls from their provider.
This seems typical in the past 2 decades. I've seen it way too much. Say Goodbye to the Old Managed Service model.
Now, in this era of Cloud Computing, there is no longer a need for the services of those traditional managed service companies. Businesses are getting rid of their servers. They are moving apps to the cloud. The real important thing to focus on for the cloud isn't the infrastructure - the workstations and the PCs. It's the applications, the data, and the people. The cloud platforms of today - like Microsoft's Office 365 and Azure are like blank slates. All the infrastructure is taken care of - but the Administration and Content Management is still necessary. Applications need settings configured, Access needs to be secured, Data needs to be cleaned up and archived or deleted, and people need to be properly onboarded, provided with continuous training, and 24/7 support.
That is what Finchloom does. That is what 2016 is all about. The new Managed Service. Cloud Administration. Applications, Data, People. Secure. Productive.
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