Rethinking Managed Services
After almost 16 years working in, overseeing, founding, and advising large managed services teams, I’m confident that now is the time to think differently about managed services and the value these types of offerings provide. I’m not talking about simply building a better mousetrap, although that is certainly part of it. Instead, I’m talking about rethinking why you want to catch the mouse in the first place. In other words, what are you trying to achieve?
Hang with me. I realize that the mousetrap analogy is overplayed and you probably rolled your eyes. But cliches become cliches for a reason.
Today’s idea of IT managed services finds its roots in the service bureaus formed by IBM in the late 1930s and 1940s. These services offered a great way to access state-of-the-art computing power to perform complex calculations for a fraction of the cost (do more for less!).
The late ‘80s and early ‘90s then saw the first major shift in managed services, as the creation and adoption of affordable hardware and software began to change the way business was conducted. This same timeframe produced the office desktop computer, user-friendly operating systems, the first ERP systems, and, of course, the internet. Because of these advancements, new types of managed services offerings arose with a primary focus on software support for these new large programs.
The computing landscape changed drastically in the last 70 years. But over that same time period, managed service offerings have changed very little. These early service bureaus were said to be ideal for “vanilla” customers with little to no customization. This outlook has persisted, which has heavily impacted the way organizations think about and staff their managed services teams. More specifically, these teams are often filled with junior resources that have little to no practical experience. This has become particularly problematic as more and more software solutions adopt the platform approach. Much like you wouldn’t want to give a 16 year the keys to a Porsche 911, you don’t want to turn over your OneStream implementation to a well-meaning junior resource who doesn’t know the warning signs of an impending issue or someone who doesn’t fully understand how to coax the top performance out of the platform without being reckless.
So, why do companies staff their managed services offerings this way? First, and perhaps most obviously, it’s cheaper. Second, many simply view managed services as a way to keep the lights on while trying to sell you new projects, instead of as an opportunity to help you move your instance forward through a steady and stable stream of enhancements, support, and advice. Third, companies often use their managed services engagements to get their junior resources the real-world experience they need to move into implementations. This results in an impersonal revolving door, all while you foot the bill for their on-the-spot training.
While these three reasons help shine light on why organizations approach managed services this way, the final and most important explanation is that most simply don’t understand the difficulties of supporting a live and evolving instance of OneStream. They will tell you that their best-in-class implementation teams build extremely complex, high-quality functionality that meets your every need. But once live, they try to support it with a handful of junior developers, who are likely over leveraged and don’t understand your business’s goals and values. That math simply does not add up.
The complex and dynamic needs of your organization, changing global regulatory landscape, and sheer power of the OneStream platform leads us back to the original question: What are you trying to achieve? Do you want basic support from a shifting, impersonal set of resources that simply keeps you running or resets a password? Or do you want a true partner who has the experience and best practice knowledge to help keep you on the cutting edge?
The strongest, most effective managed services offerings come from companies that want to be more than just order takers.
To meet the growing needs and expectations of users, you should strive to work with a partner who utilizes certified experts with years of proven experience in post-go-live engagements. As the approach to managed services continues to evolve, you need to work with someone who will focus as much on crafting top-notch experiences as they do on leveraging OneStream’s functionality.
While other companies may refuse to adapt to these higher standards of managed services offerings, Black Diamond embraces them. We view our post-go-live engagements in a much more forward-thinking way, believing that these are opportunities to ensure the future success of our clients. Experts Only is our moto at Black Diamond and that extends to how we approach continuous innovation and support after go-live. It’s for this reason that we formed the Summit Services program. With this service, we aren’t looking to simply maintain the status quo; we want to make you successful without any unnecessary headache. With Summit Services, you can trust that you are working with a team of experts who are committed to helping you achieve your business goals. With their deep consultative experience, innovative approach, and dedicated relationship-focused assignment, Summit Services is the solution you need to unlock the full potential of your OneStream implementation.
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