• michaelthould

Why Understanding Your Service Provider’s Maturity Level Is Critical To Your Company’s Success

Businesses have long turned to third-party managed service providers (MSPs) to handle the routine, yet critical aspects of maintaining their technology infrastructure. Instead of spending their own time and resources, companies negotiate Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with the MSP to provide round-the-clock monitoring of the health of the company’s servers and computers. MSPs charge a flat fee for their services, which can include applying critical updates and patches, fault-detection and issue reporting and resolution. In essence, companies delegate to the MSP full control of its IT infrastructure including maintenance and support.

Not all MSPs are the same and businesses who seek to partner with an MSP should consider understanding the potential vendor’s Operational Maturity Level (OML). OML is a model advanced by Plano, a TX-based industry think tank for Service Leadership that businesses can use to measure the effectiveness of a potential service provider. The differences in maturity levels are evaluated in part by ‘traits’ that the MSP exhibits in 5 key areas. These areas of Sales, Compensation, Strategy, Service, and Financial Management are assessed and the MSP’s ability to leverage their maturity in these areas to provide a value determines how mature they are.

The lowest OML Level 1 is tagged as “Beginning” and is characterized by reactive processes. The competence and actions of the people in the organization keep it afloat, as opposed to established processes. Due to this, there’s a high likelihood of downtime and the MSP will spend more time fixing issues instead of helping your organization develop strategies to maximize your IT assets.

At Level 2, or “Emerging,” the organization is beginning to show the ability to manage systematically. Some standardization is already being planned or applied, but in pockets.

OML Level 3, “Stable” results after significant investments are made in the IT infrastructure and assets. The processes are well documented, risks minimized and issues are handled quickly and efficiently.

At OML Level 4, “Optimizing,” the organization can look to improve and optimize performance. Since critical business applications are reliable and the focus turns to extracting the most from the IT assets instead of just making sure they’re available, this is the point where the MSP ensures your technology is able to support business innovation.

Finally at OML Level 5, “Innovating,” technology becomes a strategic advantage to the company, allowing it to use it as a differentiator against competition. IT infrastructure issues are few and far between with high system availability a given. The MSP becomes a trusted strategic partner, instead of merely a trusted service provider.

Fusion Professionals has the expertise to help your business understand and evaluate the Operational Maturity Level of your organization. Contact us today, and we’ll help you analyse and make an informed decision about not just your MSPs but also your own IT organization’s OML.

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