Cloud Managed Services Provider (MSP) Is it really about services or winning customer trust?

August 24, 2016
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           We have entered the era of outcome economy, or it would be appropriate to say that we are slowly entering the era of consumer trust economy. We can conclude that customers across the industry are shying away from paying for products or services. Consumers are willing to sign on the outcome, the product or service delivers. Moreover, that is not all; they also continue to pay if the service provider wins the ongoing trust and offer customer delight. Clients in the fast changing age of digital transformation are showing no loyalty to any service provider if they fail to win the continued trust and offer ongoing delight.

             “Managed Services” has become the emerging buzzword and most of the cloud service providers and System Integrators are busy in reorganizing their service delivery. But what do managed services mean and how they differentiate from any other services providers? Managed Services by its definition allow a business to offload or outsource entire Information Technology (IT) applications. The managed service provider (MSP) takes the ownership and enters into Service Level Agreement (SLAs) for 24/7 operations for managing, monitoring or problem resolution for the IT systems of a customer.

             There are many factors for a successful Managed Service Provider (MSP). However, we may consider the following as the important criteria to succeed:

                 Winning the customer trust

             Winning the customer trust is paramount in the Managed Services, and has to be considered the most important aspect of this business.  The ability to offer impartial advice and counsel to the customer will also differentiate an MSP a regular IT service provider. The chances of succeeding in MSP operations will be high if the service provider has already built the reputation of a trusted advisor.

            Transparency and Full Disclosure

            Transparency and honest behavior with customers will distinguish any MSP with the regular IT service providers. Transparency and full disclosure is an essential component of a professional’s obligation to a client. MSP may disclose and refuse to accept a customer or sign the Service Level Agreement (SLA) due to their existing customer in the similar business. They may also express inability to fulfill customer’s expectation to win the trust in the long run if they are not ready with the resources.

             Maintaining Customers Confidentiality

            Customer will develop a long-term trust if the MSP offers to keep confidentiality of client data and business critical competitiveness. By nature of business, MSPs will have access to customers sensitive and critical business information. Customers will provide this critical information when they have enough built in trust and MSP need to maintain the confidentiality of the shared information at all times.

                Technical expertise (People, Process and Tools)

             It is paramount for an MSP to publish their proven service catalog with proven experience with few testimonials to establish the track record of expertise and process to mitigate any risk and failure to comply with service outages. The Service descriptions and management processes must be well documented for customer’s verification and audit. The team behind the delivery of managed services must be fully trained on Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) that offers a set of practices for IT services management.

             The team needs to possess the expertise on various cloud deployment architecture, trained on automation tools for cloud services provisioning, monitoring, orchestration, billing, and subscription. The MSP should also provide a customer dashboard for tracking, follow-up and status update for clear visibility and control.

             Cloud-based Managed Services offer yet another challenge of providing Data migration, security, and integration of various applications deployed under different cloud architecture. MSP must exhibit expertise in various cloud platforms to address business challenges of customers undergoing business transformations.

             Cloud Managed Services is not merely about offering services but it all about winning customer trust in the emerging era of Outcome/ customer delight economy.