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The Definitive Guide to IT Managed Services
Edition 1 – November 2018

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Chapter 6

Transitioning from the Current State

TAKEAWAY
The transition to managed services is a crucial process.

To simplify you should:
• Agree a workable timeline – and attach financial penalties for non-delivery where appropriate
• Again, ensure your employees are aware of how things are going to change, and manage their perceptions accordingly
• Meet your obligations – a successful contract requires input from both parties
• Keep stakeholders informed about progress of the transition
• Act on advice from your MSP – they are working on your behalf to improve operations

In an ideal world the transition to managed services would be so seamless that no one notices any difference. But the reality may be slightly different – particularly as you need to shape end-user expectations to accept forthcoming changes. Make sure you find an MSP with a robust transition process.

Timeline
The actual timeframe for completing a managed services transition will depend on several factors including:
• The service itself
• The complexity of the service
• The volumes of data
• Any internal constraints (resource availability, business priorities etc)

In practice, this looks like:
1. Contract terms agreed and work begins.
2. Assessment of current provisions, and resources required to complete the transition.
3. Small-scale roll-out of managed service to provide proof of concept to your stakeholders (if possible).
4. Staggered roll-out to the rest of the organisation.
5. Initial assessment of performance and testing against SLAs.
6. Enhance and improve operations using agreed benchmarks to ensure that the service meets your needs.

You should then schedule weekly/monthly check-ups to verify that standards are being upheld and address shortfalls as quickly as possible.

Dos & Don’ts
How can you get make the transition as smooth as possible?
Here’s some dos and don’ts to bear in mind.

Dos

  • Remember that your MSP will not be doing everything – your team will also play an important role in the transition.
  • Know your responsibilities and ensure they are met – otherwise the migration will fail.
  • Get your end users onboard – things are going to change, and there will be a bedding-in period during which quality of service may be affected temporarily.
  • Keep track of SLAs and milestones to ensure your MSP is meeting their obligations.

Don’ts

  • Don’t assume your MSP will do everything – that’s not how the agreement works, and your project will suffer.
  • Don’t just expect your end users to “suck it up” – they need to understand why the transition is taking place, what is involved, and how things will change in future.
  • Don’t miss project milestones – it is your infrastructure and operations that will suffer, not the MSP’s.

Surviving the first few weeks
The first few weeks of any new system (internal or managed) will involve disruption of operations and expectations. Obviously planning and testing in advance should help to minimise disruption, but there is always potential for something to go wrong.

Ensure that you maintain close contact with your account manager at the MSP; they are your champion, flagging and prioritising issues for resolution. This relationship will help you navigate the first few weeks as smoothly as possible.

When something does go wrong, make sure that inquests into failure are saved until after the transition has completed. You do not have the luxury of assigning blame in the middle of the project – these issues can (and will) wait.

Finally, keep internal stakeholders and end users updated as to migration progress. You need their buy-in for the long-term success of your outsourcing agreement, and regular updates will help secure it.

Getting the most from your contract
Given that most MSP contracts run for three years, it is essential that you identify what you want now and into the future.

You need to ensure you are receiving the service you paid for. Don’t ignore the regular reports provided by your MSP as these will show areas of underperformance. Instead, use them to facilitate discussions on how performance will be improved over the next week/month.

To simplify communications about service provision, appoint a single person to liaise with your MSP’s account manager. This will help to ensure that issues are managed more effectively.

Ultimately, you will get out what you put in when it comes to managed services contracts – but you need to put the effort in early to ensure you maximise those returns.

Conclusion
Choosing to go down the managed services route is a strategic business decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Make sure you do your research first and understand the benefit and risks.

This ebook is designed to help you with your decision making process. Follow the key points below and you will be well on your way to ensuring a successful long-term partnership with your new MSP.

5 key pointers

1. Don’t forget that managed services are not simply about saving money.

2. Choose carefully – do you need a managed service or a fully outsourced service?

3. Calculating RoI is difficult – but it’s the only way to ensure you will receive value for money.

4. Use the due diligence checklist (page 15) to assist with the MSP selection process.

5. Ensure you understand the division of tasks and workloads between you and your MSP.

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Head of IT, ECIC

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