It is common to have the impression of mission accomplished after a project has been delivered, an infrastructure or an application has been developed. However, it is precisely at this moment that an important stage begins: we enter the world of Managed Services.
By definition, Managed Services is a service delivery model where a company, specialised in information technology (IT), assumes responsibility for managing and monitoring the technological environment of another company. Basically, it is an extension of the organisation that can function as a team that monitors and manages the infrastructure, that guarantees and manages the availability of its customer’s service 24/7, 365 days a year, or even that it can work in a Hybrid model and Multi-Cloud with a diversified technological stack. One of the main success factors for hiring this type of service is the fact that performance is measured using previously defined KPI’s and SLA’s.
There are several ways of offering this type of service, some of which:
- Systems monitoring
Monitoring service for companies’ IT systems to identify any problems and solve them before they affect productivity or cause interruptions.
- Specialised support
Access to a specialised and certified technical support team, ready to deal with any problem that may arise in the infrastructure.
- Network management
Responsible for managing and maintaining the organisation’s network, ensuring its safety, reliability and efficiency.
- Data backup and recovery management
Management and monitoring of backups, so that data is safeguarded and, if necessary, can be recovered.
- Backup and disaster recovery test
Aligned at the beginning of the contract, and defined later with the customer, the service may include planned intervention to ensure that, in case of failure, there is a tested model and that recovery is done quickly.
- Security management
Responsible for ensuring the security of the company’s IT systems, monitoring and mitigating any security threats.
- Suppliers management
Management of the company’s different IT service providers, ensuring that established quality and performance standards are met.
- Cost optimisation
Cloud consumption monitoring, for example, to suggest optimisations whenever possible.
- Capacity planning
Collaborative planning and management of the capacity of IT systems, ensuring that the infrastructure is scalable to meet the growing needs of organisations.
- 24/7 technical support
Near real-time technical support, which means that organisations can count on help whenever it is needed, with the aim of minimising the impact for their users.
- Tasks and processes automation
There are repetitive tasks that, beyond the team allocation and effort, can generate incidents and consequently human errors. Part of the managed services team’s job is to identify these situations and automate where possible, thus mitigating these risks.
- Regular updates
Infrastructure maintenance with the latest software and hardware updates.
- IT service management (ITSM) tools
Processes and activities to design, create, provide and support IT services, using ITIL best practices as a reference, centralising all incident, problem and change management.
- Document management and configuration management database (CMDB)
Detailed management of documentation and a database of CI’s (Configuration Item), allowing the customer to have a notion of the system diagram, procedures used, as well as the identification of the most critical CI’s.
- Monthly report and service management
Monthly reports with the general status of the service and suggestions for improvement. The service is monitored by the Service Manager, ensuring customer satisfaction and unblocking any issue.
“Putting Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes”
Much of the work of a Managed Services team involves, together with the Service Manager, ensure the customer is satisfied with the service provided. For this to happen, it is important that companies that provide Managed Services understand how to “incorporate the customer’s challenges”, and to guarantee a quality service and care.
Providing an empathetic service with technical knowledge, transmitting confidence, and being agile in communication, are elements that should be part of the initial training of any new member of a Managed Services team. Many companies neglect the importance of this area as a key part of a continuous journey with their customers, which can even culminate in new projects or expanding the scope of current projects.
This was a high level approach of what, in my point of view, a Managed Services team should be, and consequently what the service should represent. In the next articles, we will go deeper into some of the topics discussed here.