IT Governance

4 Tips to Get the Most from Managed Service Providers

Outsourcing happens not just because it is cheap, but often because it is more effective. But what makes all the difference in working with managed service providers is if the relationship is being properly maintained. In a post for AXELOS, Charlotte Morison outlines how businesses and providers can function as partners for a stronger bottom line.

Managed Service, Managed Relationship

In an ideal relationship, a contract will exist mostly to make expectations clear between the two parties—and not to be used to constantly scrutinize each other’s efforts. The contract is just the bridge upon which the parties build their relationship. Beyond that, your business should be keeping the provider up to date on strategic developments, so that the provider can offer feedback and better position itself to help you. It is a mistake to keep providers at arm’s length with a “just do what we paid you for” attitude.

Morison goes on to outline four steps to maintain a healthy relationship:

  1. Customers own the information.
  2. Speak the same language.
  3. Insist on best practice in the tender.
  4. Consider your risk profile.

About the first tip, Morison says this:

The customer owns the information and if using a provider’s tool, organizations should write into the contract that company-specific information, such as incidents and configuration management information, belongs to them and not the provider. The data and information about the customer’s environment and its performance should be readily available, not something that the customer needs to request, but something they have the ability to access themselves. This allows senior stakeholders to see how IT is performing and make strategic decisions based on proper insight.

As for a common language, she recommends ITIL—this is AXELOS we are talking about—but fortunately, it is a good recommendation. Whatever best practices language you use, do not take it on faith that the provider is up to speed with it. Make sure that they demonstrate their capability with crucial processes like ITIL processes up front. And lastly, gauge the provider’s risk appetite. You want to work with providers who treat risk, regulation, and consequences with at least the same severity that you treat it.

Do those things, and a beautiful friendship will result. You can view the original post here:

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