Using A Managed Services Framework to Guide Transition to a New IT Services Model

Using A Managed Services Framework to Guide Transition to a New IT Services Model


By Shailesh Patel, Chief Solutions Architect

This article is the second of a series and focuses on why a managed services framework can help transition your organization to a new model for IT services. In it, we present a recommended framework for consideration. Please read the prior article for context.

Moving to managed services is not a simple matter of flipping a switch. It requires a systematic and intentional strategy to identify candidate services and orchestrate moving each service to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). A framework (Figure 1) is needed that provides multiple perspectives and a clear delineation of the steps involved. Our recommended framework contains two dimensions: (1) time-based phases (left to right) and (2) grouping of activities (top to bottom). This framework also helps define the relationship between the buying organization and MSPs. Each service is defined, planned, and executed with clarity on who does what, when, and why.

Figure 1. Criterion-Recommended Managed Services Framework

The phases described in the figure are iterative and apply for a service item (e.g., implement enterprise service desk) or a group of services (e.g., commodity workplace services). The granularity and specificity of each service that is migrated to an MSP is an organizational decision and to be selected and defined during the plan phase.

Phases of the managed services framework are:

  • Discover – This phase is cyclical and provides an opportunity to align business strategy and explore your customers/end users and identify how they consume IT. Involve your MSP(s) [*] to conduct discovery and map your requirements to MSP processes.
  • Plan – Once a service is selected for migration to an MSP, conduct planning sessions to define service expectations, demarcation points, and metrics. Conduct a series of reviews culminating in a readiness review to initiate migration of the service.
  • Migrate – The duration of migration will vary based on the size and scope of the service; however, consider starting small with a select population of customers/end users.
  • Operate – Armed with data from migration, move the services to production for increasingly larger end user populations – either as a “big bang” or incrementally based on your plans. Conduct increased monitoring during a 30- or 60-day stabilization period.
  • Close – Formally close services with MSPs and use the opportunity to learn lessons from the experience.

Consider grouping activities into three major buckets described below. By grouping in this manner, tasks and activities can be logically assigned to the right resources and provide visibility into progress.

  • Management – Establish processes for governance, performance management, project management, and organizational readiness. While the MSP will focus on managing the transition and delivery of services, the buying organization must have management practices in place to change the behavior of the enterprise.
  • Transition – Act rapidly to address issues and focus on what metrics will provide a leading indicator of success or failure (e.g., tickets logged per day vs tickets closed per day). It is also critical to measure customer satisfaction in the smaller population and conduct planning to scale to the larger population. Also, continue to update your service catalog.
  • Delivery – During the operate phase, delivery activities focus on monitoring services, addressing issues and risks, and continually measuring outcomes. Establish agile processes to make incremental changes based on feedback from end users and analysis of metrics.

Every organization has unique cultural, organizational, and technological environments that requires specialized attention to details. Criterion’s Managed Services Framework provides the structure to smoothly transition services from internal teams to MSPs by providing a structure to deal with unique situations and standardizing where possible. This will result in services that work for your organization while delivering on the benefits of managed services.

Future articles will address:

  • Selecting MSPs
  • Tools and techniques
  • Organizational change strategies to fully adopt managed services
[*] Recommendations and selecting MSP’s will be part of a future article