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Managed Services – It’s All About the Alignment of Goals

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IT alignmentA good percentage of my day is spent speaking with prospects – folks who are contemplating a change, have made up their minds that they need a change, or are simply looking to see what else might be out there that they should be aware of. Many of those folks have similar circumstances: they have in-house IT talent, have a service provider who only provides break/fix service, or (yikes!) they have a member of their staff that looks after their IT while doing whatever it was they were originally hire for. Some have already engaged with a Managed Services provider but aren’t getting what they think they should be. Invariably, the question comes down to “Why Managed Services?”.

It’s a fair question. If you are contemplating a change, you probably want to know full well what you are getting into. There are a number of reasons – here are just some of the examples:
• It costs less compared to what you pay for a full time IT employee.
• You get a greater breadth of knowledge. Obviously a team of IT people have seen more and done more, hence the greater breadth of knowledge.
• You don’t have to worry about coverage for downtime (sickness, training, personal emergencies, etc.).
• You have a fixed cost for IT whereas with a break/fix service, you have no idea what it will cost you month in and month out.
• You never spend time combing through invoices trying to justify why it costed more to install a new PC this time than the last three times (and there may or may not be valid reasons).wrong alignment

There are as many reasons as there are Managed Services companies. But the #1 reason for Managed Services (and the one that seems to get the least press) is the alignment of goals. What do I mean by that? Well, look at it this way: A break/fix outfit only ever gets to profit off of your bad luck. If you have a problem, they have a windfall. Your misfortune is their lottery ticket. And it really is like a lottery ticket because the service provider never knows when the next win is coming. Not really a great business plan for the provider as they have no idea how profitable they will be from one month to the next (it could be feast, it could be famine). And for the customer, could there be a more antagonistic relationship? They win when you lose? Not what I would call a great basis for a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

But what if your IT is handled internally? Well if it is handled by an employee whose real job is say, accounting – do you really want to pay him to fix your computers when he has (likely no training whatsoever or do you think it is wiser to have him do what he was trained for which is accounting. I’ll let you do the math on that. And if you have a full time IT person, I can tell you from experience that like a politician, job one is to ensure they stay in power. The result of this can be what we call “empire building”. You end up with massive over-complication because for the most part, they are looking to protect their jobs and that is one of the easiest ways to do it: make yourself indispensable.

Couple with umbrellasSo, back to my original point: the alignment of goals and Managed Services. A Managed Services provider only makes money when their customers’ systems are running efficiently and users are computing error-free. This is simply because if they can keep you up and running smoothly, they don’t have to deploy expensive resources to fix broken stuff. The more problems YOU have the more money THEY spend. So the onus is upon them to ensure they keep you rocking and rolling along as neatly and efficiently as they can. Otherwise, in a very short period of time, they blow clean through their monthly stipend and start spending their own money. That can’t last very long.

Now you can see that both you and provider have complete alignment of goals. When you’re up and running, you’re happy and so is the Managed Services provider. You are running along problem free and they’re not having to apply expensive resources to solve your problems.

Kinda like everyone rowing in the same direction, yes? Want to get your business in alignment with your information technology? We can help!