Debunking Myths of Managed Services

By John Richardson
9/27/2013

Today’s IT leaders are pressed more than ever to deliver not just technology to their internal and external customers, but well packaged services with easy to understand scopes, SLAs and pricing. They need the people and processes to deliver them and the automation to measure and report on the services their customers are consuming. Given the size of these challenges, managed services are considered by most IT leaders as an option for keeping up with the escalating demands of the business.

Throughout my 20+ years in the managed services business, I’ve had countless discussions with IT leaders who were trying to figure out where, if anywhere, managed services fit their needs. And I’ve come across many misconceptions. Here, I share my experiences involving a common managed services myth, probable sources of the myth, the reality, and why the reality matters.

Myth: My infrastructure must be “ready” for managed services. In my conversations with customers, we get to the point where they start to see that managed services can address many key issues they are facing, such as:
  • The urgent need for deep skills on an occasional, unpredictable basis
  • Affordable 24 x 7 coverage for the infrastructure
  • Detailed operational and financial reporting
  • Improved ITIL maturity
Then I hear: “I can see the benefits, but our infrastructure isn’t ready for managed services.” It’s a common misconception that managed services providers will only accept an environment that’s already running smoothly. Where does this myth come from? While it’s hard to believe, some managed services providers may have that policy, I’ve never come across it. It’s more likely that the myth spreads from the common practice that while onboarding a new customer, providers usually don’t have SLA/penalty language count until the infrastructure is stabilized. And they all charge for the high value stabilization work, whether it’s bundled into the monthly services fee or a separate startup charge. Most often, though, I’ve heard this myth from people who just don’t want to use managed services. They may be people at the operational level who see managed services as a threat to their jobs, or sometimes executives who lean toward protecting the status quo and fear the perceived repercussions from their internal teams of using an external provider.

The reality is that organizations seek managed services providers to improve the stability, performance and visibility of functions they’ve been running unsuccessfully in-house. In fact, managed services can be the fastest way to improve the operation of a function that has been underperforming due to inadequate staffing, process and/or tools. Managed services providers are prepared to implement their commercial-grade people, processes and automation tools on a company’s ailing functions to quickly improve performance in a way that will be visible to those inside IT,  to business leaders, and more importantly, to customers.

So don’t let the “not ready” myth stop you from considering the benefits of managed services.  I welcome your feedback on these posts – comment below, or send me your thoughts at jrichardson@datalink.com