Managed Service Providers vs
Managed Business IT Service Providers
Professor and prolific author in the field of Leadership, Lee Bolman (Ph.D. in Organisational Behaviour) knows a thing or two about helping C-level executives get a better handle on what’s going on, see more possibilities and achieve their goals. He’s also partial to coming up with an inspirational quote to get his point across – one such gem is: “A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.”
If we frame this in the context of outsourcing IT systems to support a business and deliver effective change; an IT strategy that considers the organisation as a whole – not just technology – is required to turn this vision into reality. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done.
Managed Service Provider
You’d be forgiven for assuming that you should seek the services of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to manage your IT infrastructure. An MSP seems like the obvious choice because they’re the only choice, right? Wrong – we’ll get to that bit in a minute.
Broadly speaking an MSP is: “an outsourced third-party company that manages and assumes the responsibility of a defined set of day-to-day management services to its customers.” In terms of IT this includes: network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration on customers’ premises, external data centres (hosting), or in the public cloud.
These suppliers of IT services have the potential to save your business time and money, while also increasing your skills, knowledge and vigilance. However, they – and the businesses that work with them – are often constrained by their Achilles heel: they mainly focus on the technical aspects of IT.
Despite adding value to the daily operation of the IT department, this approach might prevent them from harnessing its potential to act as a business enabler. Instead, it remains a cost centre – an essential department that doesn’t directly add to profit but still costs the business money to operate.
Looking beyond an MSP
So, what options lie beyond a Managed Service Providers?
Imagine you could engage with an IT partner that considers the impact technology has on the entire business and its growth strategy – one that can help drive your business forward.
If you think about the bigger picture, you will find yourself on the path to discovering a partner that does the same – AKA a Managed Business IT Service (M-BiTS) provider. Don’t just review each potential providers credentials and track record; take the time to explore their values, goals and willingness to embrace your business strategy.
- Ensure cultural compatibility
- Ensure they understand your business’s goals and how your IT strategy can contribute to achieving them
- Review each providers ability to integrate with you at the business level
- Review each providers ability to help you innovate
Managed Business IT Service
M-BiTS provide a holistic approach to managing IT operations and implementing organisational change that brings business value.
They recognise that there’s more to IT and digital transformations than just technology: there are various building blocks within a business that not only need considering; they need to be balanced and a good relationship maintained between them to manage IT operations effectively and deliver innovative change.
To identify and – most importantly – understand these building blocks, let’s refer to a framework for managing effective organisational change that was first created by Harold Leavitt in the 1960s – a pioneer in the field of organisational behaviour and psychology. Originally called the People, Process, Technology framework, it has changed with the digital times and now includes data:
Whether your business is engaging with existing IT systems or exploring new ones, an M-BiTS approach considers the interactions of people at every stage of the process – from the suppliers to the users and management. This holistic approach recognises that each building block (data, process, technology) is underpinned by the human element.
With people at its core, an M-BiTS provider can implement a comprehensive strategy that delivers relevant IT services within the context of the business – not just from a technology perspective. This forward-thinking mindset enables them to go that extra mile by working with your business to add real value; rather than simply keeping things ticking along as they were. We think Professor Bolman would approve.