Over the years as a managed service provider for IT systems and processes, Umbrella has amassed a lot of experience and we have tweaked our offerings based on our learnings. We have revised our understanding and gained perspectives dealing with multitude of scenarios while striving to service our customers better.

We have learned that the ambit of managed services is much more than just technology and dealing with people, and we wanted to share the learnings to help our customers better appreciate our efforts.

Below we have identified five pillars which are essential to have successful managed services partnership.

People: The centrality of people in any relationship cannot be overstated, more so in technology. While technology is an enabler to help businesses achieve goals, people define how technology is leveraged and therefore determine deployment outcomes. For effective results, roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined so skill-mapping and skill-enhancement strategies are in place. This will enable the organization to build capacity and have required skillsets to manage it effectively.

At the same time, continuous trainings and certifications are critical to keep pace with technology and to harness it better.

Processes: It is important to have proper processes related to incident management; problem management; configuration management and asset management; escalation management; and SLA management to get the best results from managed services partnership. Incident resolution and management is quick and easy with systems and processes in place as everyone knows the next steps. Processes help the organization achieve strict security compliances, specifically in areas related to configuration and asset management where permissions are required and only authorized individual can make changes.

However only having processes will be ineffective if due processes are not adhered, therefore strict adoption of processes is equally important.

Tools and Automation: Automation is an important part of managed services which monitors deployment, enables self-healing, sends auto-alerts, and prepares reports. There are a wide variety of tools available to help an organization better manage its managed services strategy. Organizations must adopt automation tools for proactive montoring, to predict future failures, identify anamolies, build capacity and deploy as a fail-safe strategy.

Communication: Continuous and consistent communication is required for effective governance and management of managed services relationship. There must be regular knowledge-sharing sessions within the organization to have wider acceptance and understanding of systems and processes. The customer must have regular interactions with the service provider for reviews, updates, recommendations and changes in customer goals and requirements. This must be conducted in a disciplined manner as communication gap can not only hamper smooth functioning but can even be disastrous if changes and best practices are not properly communicated to the user organization.

Continuous Improvement: Like any project or initiative in life, technology deployments require the same care and careful nurturing to deliver consistent results. Project Management teams must continuously monitor systems and processes, tweak it to optimize performance and explore new tools, methodologies which help achieve goals better, faster. Continuous improvement also entails interactions with other customers to understand best practices and learnings and incorporate the same in the organization’s deployment.