The attraction of managed services is compelling, and employing the capabilities of managed service provider (MSPs) is not just about cost savings. With the speed of innovation more crucial than ever, savvy communications service providers (CSPs) leverage MSPs to help deliver innovative featured services rapidly that drive transformation.
This makes choosing the right MSP an important task. Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) (ALU) recently released a white paper discussing the twelve crucial areas service providers should consider when selecting MSPs.
In a previous article we covered the first six: starting with a partnership mindset, focusing on metrics that matter most, working toward a transformational vision for the future, investing in an initial consultation, understanding that outsourcing offers more control, and taking a holistic view of total cost of ownership. Here we discuss the second six crucial areas.
First and perhaps foremost among the next six is determining if the MSP can deliver ongoing improvements to the customer experience management (CEM). With roughly 40 percent of end users willing to switch providers after a bad customer experience, leveraging MSPs for improved customer experience is crucial.
“CSPs need to question potential MSPs about their current CEM strategy and approach and their vision for the future,” Alcatel-Lucent wrote in the white paper. “For example, can the MSP use analytics to predict and help control churn rates? Does the MSP provide reports that will help the CSP (News - Alert) to understand the relationship between end-user service quality and ARPU? Have the CEM tools and methodologies been tested and validated?”
Also important is leveraging industrialized operations delivery, and looking for innovative strengths. Some MSPs are making large investments in building “industrialized” operations delivery capabilities, leveraging best-in-class tools, methodologies and highly skilled technicians, noted the paper. CSPs gain a substantial advantage from utilizing this strength, as they do when their MSP is visionary in its approach to innovation.
When the relationship of an MSP goes beyond helping to achieve simple cost savings, a fourth crucial area to consider is how best to combine structured governance and open communication.
“Ideally, a governance plan should be flexible, easy to follow and have fail-safe triggers when unexpected changes occur,” noted the paper by Alcatel-Lucent. “Easy-to-access dashboards are also valuable for providing CSPs with relevant statistics about the MSP’s business operations.”
Making sure to have a flexible scope of agreement is important, too, so the CSP can best leverage the expertise of the MSP. Often a CSP might not know how to best utilize all the strengths of an MSP at the onset, so a flexible approach to the scope of agreement is a huge asset.
Edited by Peter Bernstein