Managed information technology (IT) services are becoming more prevalent in the business world, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Companies can leverage the benefits of managed services in a variety of ways, ranging from simply utilizing a managed IT services provider’s remote support and monitoring to outsourcing the management of their entire IT environment. The right managed services provider (MSP) helps keep IT environments running efficiently by providing top notch IT support and maintaining an organized and stable support structure. There are multiple managed service providers available, but there are distinct structural differences that separate a next-generation MSP from the rest.

Familiarity with clients and their environments

The term “information technology” encompasses a massive number of topics, including software, hardware, data management, networking, and the list goes on and on. A next-generation managed services provider recognizes that every business’s IT environment is different, with its own set of core applications and configurations, and that every member of an MSP’s support team must be familiar with the client’s environment. If a client has to work with many different support technicians to find the one person who is familiar with their issues, it can be a real headache for the customer.

A great support structure focused on client familiarity results in faster issue resolution and happier clients. This concept is so critical that, according to a customer experience survey by Convergys, 29% of customers say the quality of the product being sold is most important, while 28% of customers say that the quality of customer service provided by a company is the most important aspect when compared to price, brand name, reputation, and product quality. Clients clearly desire value above all, not only in the product, but also in the customer service provided. In the IT managed services industry, this means the client expects the MSP to be as familiar as possible with the client’s environment and solutions in place.

Tiered level of support and expertise

One of the biggest benefits a next-generation MSP can provide is the availability of a deep bench of expertise in a multitude of technology solutions. Demands can easily become overwhelming for the few IT staff who a business might employ to handle the entire IT support of the company. It is difficult for an in-house staff to acquire and maintain the very specific IT expertise that is often required for complex systems and networks, as well as security and compliance requirements. And even if someone on the team does acquire that expertise, if that internal expert leaves, so does the expertise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary of one specialized employee can cost a company more than $115,000 annually prior to the addition of their benefits package, training, and taxes. Additionally, outsourcing IT can open up cash flows in other areas of the business.

On the other hand, some businesses prefer to have an MSP handle the daily support and upkeep of the current environment, thereby giving the client’s technology team time to focus on planning projects that increase profits and efficiencies for the whole business, instead of worrying about the day-to-day end-user technical support of their employees. In this scenario, the right MSP will have an answer for every support request, taking advantage of the ability to call on a wide variety of experts in the support pool. An MSP with a wide breadth of knowledge in multiple technology fields and within multiple industries can escalate each issue to the right person every time.

Real-world results

Implementing a structured approach to managed IT services has made a noticeable impact on our clients. They tell us that their issues are resolved faster, they are happier talking to familiar service representatives who understand them, and they feel like they are receiving an overall better service experience. On the MSP side, a structured approach means improved communications and a better understanding of clients’ needs. We are able to focus on proactively enhancing the client’s technology solutions by constantly looking ahead to ensure their technology meets their future needs and, ultimately, their strategic business goals.

The focus of a next-generation MSP is to provide great support that results in high customer satisfaction. That can only come from a well-structured tiered support model filled with expertise that is focused on familiarity with the client’s environment. At RSM, we put all of these techniques to work and strive to provide the best service possible, with the goal of showing the client the true power of being understood.

For more information on all of the managed IT services that RSM has to offer, please visit our website. You can also contact RSM’s technology and management consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or via email.