Managed Services have been around for a few years now. They are well known in highly technical or technological fields like IT for example, however, a new approach towards managing traditional business processes by a third party is now emerging.
As well as with IT there are a number of businesses and admin functions that can be managed by a third party vendor (MSP). These functions live around your core competence activities and are usually performed by your core team which is usually taxing to them, but are different in nature as they can be offloaded and trained to increase productivity of these core teams by continue doing what they do best, which is core to your business. Managing and delivering service for these functions is not easy as there’s a need for a deep understanding of the work and expectations by the MSP. Expectations are always high and businesses demand the same or even better quality of work before even considering a move like this.
Good and reliable MSPs are known as experts when combining people, processes and technology. At times they resemble consulting firms that guide businesses when implementing a managed service solution as most of the time businesses have a clear idea of the work being done in-house but offloading this work reliably to achieve even better results through an MSP requires a combination of best practices, streamlined processes, software as a service (SaaS) solutions and great people behind the process (executing and managing everything), all of which should be provided by the MSP.
How can I evaluate a Managed Services Partner (MSP)?
Here are three fundamental aspects that you need to consider before offloading any business process to a third party:
Communication: This is where the majority of MSPs fail. Having a strong communication team inside the MSP that understands your working culture as well as the expectations for each deliverable is key for success. Cultural differences make this challenging, specially when the MSP works with offshore teams (i.e. Asia or Latin America) so you should spend enough time evaluating the communication skills of the MSP before working with them.
Pilot: Having the MSP work on a small pilot of the actual work is usually a great proxy to determine the overall quality of work (accuracy/quality, understanding of the work and communication)
Costs: There are two types of costs that you need to take into account. First is the actual cost that the MSP will charge to perform the work on an ongoing basis which should be much lower than what you’re currently spending with your core team and the other is actually how much time your team will have to spend training and offloading the work. The later one is a bit more intangible but should be taken into account.
Choosing the right MSP can be a daunting task but if you pay special attention to these three aspects you will have more certainty when choosing the right MSP for your business.