It’s A Trap!: Fallacies of Managed Services

In a galaxy far far away… Information Technology day to day operational transactions have been the force behind the teams’ identity. Long ago, it was understood that IT just does payroll and payroll functions; sometimes they help us in printing as well. Today, that role has evolved with the advent of the web, data security, mobile devices, distributed computing, etc… However, even today’s modern IT Manager still sees Managed Services as the loss of critical roles in the company…

“The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side…”
   – Master Yoda

Managed Service addresses all aspects of the business, e.g. front end, back office, and infrastructure that are common among your several departments that are considered mundane or repeatable. This is also true for the issues that stem from these systems that we burn countless valuable hours performing the same fixes for several systems.
Knowing this, Managed Services delivers, through an organized center of experienced personnel, seasoned toolsets, and developed best practices, relief from the more time consuming ‘non-core’ operational functions that are fundamentally the same across multiple organizations. Thus, their experience and skills translate to better service.
However, this is not the perception that the industry shares about this function. In fact, there are many who still have diametrically opposed views out there that, although unfounded, actually have frozen positions on not electing to use this very beneficial service.

“Oh. They’ve encased him in Carbonite. He should be quite well protected. If he survived the freezing process, that is. “
   – C3PO

So to help clear the air once and for all, here are the top 3 fallacies that exist today about Managed Services.

Fallacy no. 1:

Managed Service saves money at the price of service.

This would be almost an instinctual response, with fear that no one would care for your systems more than you.

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.”’
   – Master Yoda

However, one must remember that Managed Services usually involves a centralized support system with the ability to scale to large numbers, either by size of a client or additional clients. This ability to rapidly scale and address several client environments requires Best practice processes and efficiencies usually not organic to the individual client.
With this, the Managed Service provider has to employ the use and reuse of common tools, processes and technologies in order to achieve the cost savings that are to be realized by their customers. This reuse of the common tools will involve countless hours of configuring, testing, and retesting tools that will amount to 1000s of hours of actual experience that will translate to more reliable configurations and deployments as opposed to the first time tool experience.

“For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.”
   – Master Yoda

Better performance, better information, better management. It is these practices that will deliver better service to the customer at a reduced cost.

Fallacy no 2:

A remote provider cannot by any means provide a better service than a team on site.

Perhaps this was true for days-of-old, where many serviceable items were islands in themselves, in other words, unreachable without a visit. However today technology is is predominately connected either by telephone line, or internet. It’s almost laughable when a provider charges a premium for onsite support vs. remote support. If you really think about it, the provider doesn’t climb in your technology box chassis, he connects to it electronically. So you’re really paying a premium to induce a delay in service.

“You don’t need to see his identification … These aren’t the droids you’re looking for … He can go about his business … Move along.”
   – Obi-wan

Well, let’s examine this more closely, for an off hours on-site visit, someone has to be contacted, the service provider usually a call back within 30 minutes, then someone has to be provisioned to visit your site, usually within a 2 hour time frame, then someone on your side has to be reachable in the wee hours to meet him there to let him in and baby sit him while on premise, (which by the way is a true joy, for those who haven’t experienced this yet, I recommend it thoroughly, especially 2 am in the morning).

“I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.”
   – Luke Skywalker

So now he arrives, is let in, now the investigation begins, he hooks up his equipment, powers up, finds an appropriate place to connect to your site, and spends 30 minutes to an hour trying to find the culprit. Then he begins to remedy the situation, which is usually another 30 minutes to an hour if you’re lucky. Now, we are looking from cradle to grave about 3.5 hours at best 4.5 hours is the average (certainly not the worst – I’ve heard of days).

“This is some rescue.”
   -Princess Leia

Now this is compared to a remote response which if under a managed service provider, not only will get the warning flag instantly, but probably would have seen signs of the emanate failure hours earlier – scheduling the replacement before the failure even occurs. However, let’s go with the surprise failure, the flag is set, the remote support team logins in and begins to immediately remedy the failed system. Probably within 30 minutes. See… why someone pays extra for a delay is beyond me…

Fallacy no. 3

By employing Managed Services we lose our jobs or talented people and this stops us from being involved in our technology solutions.

“We’ll be sent to the spice mines of Kessel or smashed into who-knows-what!”

By moving the more basic and repeatable transaction functions into a Managed Service center, the department can finally grow in skill and charter; freeing up the time and resource to focus the team on policy setting, planning and strategy.
The team not only gains space, but time, which in turn will lead to a more dynamic interaction with fellow co-workers. Initiatives can be better planned and will get delivered more quickly; a great way for the freed up department to become a more viable leader in their company’s strategic decisions.
Essentially, we are pushing out the mundane, repeatable, transactional services helping to eliminate tactical operational workload and developing a more strategic function for the company.

“Oh yes, that’s very good. I like that….oh, something’s not right because now I can’t see. Oh, oh that’s much better. Wait….wait! Oh my! What have you done-! I’m backwards! You flea-bit furball!

Who would benefit the most for this you may ask, perhaps the very departments that currently spend too much valuable time fire-fighting and maintaining tedious functions day-to-day. Not to mention their customers that spend most of their time waiting for the hold music to stop.

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