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Standardizing Managed Services to Increase Your Revenues

How do you distinguish yourself in a market where every service provider promises reliable, affordable and specialized offerings? The cornerstone of ITIL® is the concept of aligning IT operations with business objectives. Most service organizations have difficulty assessing and managing the quality and effectiveness of IT service and support.
Feb 17, 2004
By

Mark Scott





How do you distinguish yourself in a market where every service provider promises reliable, affordable and specialized offerings? The answer is simple and the revenues are high - Managed Services.

In the late 1990's the Managed Service Provider (MSP) model began to gain traction in mainstream IT. This model promised to deliver something both the network and systems management (NSM) and IT outsourcing industries had failed to do for years - provide predictable, cost-effective IT service and support. But despite the myriad of NSM tools and service models available, most companies are still delivering IT services on an "old world", reactive basis.

The new paradigm today of increased optimization and business involvement in IT clearly underlines the need to do things in a new way. Reactive models need to evolve to a proactive level and ultimately reach the level of managed services.

Step One
Moving from a reactive to proactive level requires organizations to adopt a customer-focused approach that supports end users. At the basic level the service desk needs to proactively monitor devices and applications across the organization for availability status, incident notification, escalation, and performance reporting for capacity planning and predictive analysis. This will automate rudimentary support tasks and allow providers to know, not guess, what a clients' IT performance and requirements really are.

This resonates well with clients because it creates predictable monthly costs and performance levels while providing proactive IT support. This phase can be addressed primarily through NSM tools according to the size of the organization and its level of sophistication. The Internet has greatly improved the ability for proactive services to be delivered through a remote, centralized network operation center.

Step Two
Moving from a proactive to a managed level requires more than just basic tools. It requires a change in mindset to delivering the value of IT to a business, and not just IT as a service. The crux of this evolution exists within the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) framework, a set of IT best practices. This is particularly important within the service level management process, as the only way to meet business expectations is to know what they are in the first place and report them on an ongoing basis.

Paying for the value of IT based on agreed-upon business expectations is therefore the underlying concept of managed services. Interoperability of NSM tools is also critical for an organization to be able to prioritize and evolve its ITIL® processes.


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