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Standardizing Managed Services to Increase Your Revenues

Feb 17, 2004

Mark Scott

What are ITIL® and ITSM?
The IT Service Management (ITSM) standards of ITIL® are the "de facto" best practice standards for IT service and support. These standards were created in the 1980's in the United Kingdom and have been prevalent in Europe for years while adoption is only just increasing in North America. It is anticipated ITSM will form the basis for an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard for IT in the next three years.

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. The majority tend to spend the bulk of their time focusing on technology rather than the business objectives their technology is attempting to solve or support.

The ITSM standards of ITIL® are broken down into ten processes and function under the categories of Service Delivery and Service Support:
  • Service Delivery is primarily focused on the strategic tasks of managing the delivery of new services. It is comprised of service level management, capacity management, availability management, IT service continuity management and financial management.
  • Service Support focuses on supporting and improving the quality of existing services. This is comprised of incident management, problem management, change management, release management, configuration management and service desk.
The ITIL® processes encourage an atmosphere where IT people understand the business objectives on three levels:
  1. strategic (where decisions are made)
  2. tactical (where decisions are implemented)
  3. operational (ongoing support and maintenance of the decision)
An example would be a company that decides to implement a Web-based customer relationship management tool: the firm would have varying expectations from each ITIL® process at each level. The idea is to articulate technology requirements and its effects on business objectives and result in a greater understanding and appreciation of the costs by business stakeholders. Business people ultimately want to understand the impact on their business - not the technology requirements.

Does One Size Fit All?
The evolution to managed services is not an easy one for the service firms, but it is what today's budget holders demand. Organizations considering managed services to support all or part of their IT infrastructure are doing this for three main reasons:
  1. optimization of existing technology infrastructure
  2. expertise of the MSP
  3. industry regulatory requirements (like the recently-updated requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
It is important to understand their service management methodology (i.e. ITIL®), use of NSM tools to deliver the services and technical skills inventory to assess expertise. Request for proposals reward these attributes today more than ever before.

One size does not fit all when evaluating the best MSP for the job. Mark Scott is President and CEO of N-able Technologies. Mark co-founded N-able and is responsible for the overall corporate strategy, as well as establishing and fostering key partnerships and new market opportunities.

Mark has been the principal architect in defining N-able's business plan and vision in developing world-class management software for technology optimization through Aligning IT with Business™.