By: Leslie Faughnan
As managed ICT services move into the mainstream it is already clear that a new role has emerged, either for the inhouse CIO or IT director and department, or for an appropriate senior manager in smaller organisations.
Whether it is regarded as vendor management or leading the enterprise technology strategy, the key point is that managing the stream of managed services is becoming a function in its own right.
"The advice to any organisation looking seriously at managed services has to be about setting the objectives and the scope in the first place," said John Purdy, managing director of the Ergo Group.
"When you know what you expect to achieve you can move on to the next step, which is agreeing how performance of the managed service is going to be measured."
There are many possible elements to measure and the relative importance may shift as time goes on. Cost reduction in the initial stages may be overtaken in priority by customer satisfaction, or simply the consistent attainment of high quality SLAs.
"Our experience is that in many ways the clients' satisfaction in a contract reflects the depth and scope of the initial specification work," said Purdy.
"Any well-managed ICT service is always changing, just like in-company ICT. As each objective or service setting is achieved we tick the box and ask, 'What should be done next?'. It is an evolving process that gets bench marked afresh at each review and discussion."
Ergo uses a simple five-section scorecard as the basis for rolling reviews and development.
"That covers innovation, quality, service-level attainment, value and customer service, all as measured by the client.
"If we do not score over 90 per cent we focus hard on what may have gone wrong, fix it and move on," said Purdy. Pointing out that innovation topped the list, he said "simply keeping things going on the level is not management, it's maintenance".
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