How Can Managed Services Enable Digital Transformation

By Brad Ellison| May 29, 2018

The buzzword, “digital transformation” is now an actively discussed topic in boardrooms, with businesses of all sizes trying to capitalize on new opportunities while avoiding disruption from newcomers or innovation from existing rivals.

As businesses seek to be the disruptor, not the disrupted, IT is constantly under pressure to shed outdated processes and increase efficiency wherever possible. As IT is working hard to drive business growth, they’re simultaneously responsible for keeping the lights on, navigating expectations of a dynamic workforce, mitigating evolving cybersecurity threats, and addressing a host of other interconnected and complex challenges along the way.

As businesses move forward with their digital efforts, almost every organization today is tapping a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to some degree, as new elements of computing and integration require different skills. But even with all this focus on digital transformation, not all managed services providers have evolved to meet the demands of modern business today.

Managed Services for Digital Transformation

In the past, Managed Services was created to help support “server room equipment.” Today, a MSP with leading-edge solutions can help make a major impact in all areas of the business, including output and revenue. The right partner can even impact a company’s ability to enter new markets with innovative solutions.

To limit the expectations of your MSP to simply “keeping the lights on” would miss the real opportunity to build strength and endurance in a marketplace where competitive advantage is fleeting.

Seven Important Traits to Look for in a Managed Services Provider

As more service providers emerge claiming to help organizations on their digital transformation journey, it’s important to recognize that not all managed service providers are created equal.

Here are seven important traits to look for when vetting MSPs:

  1. Skills: A small percentage of MSPs actually have the depth and breadth of skill sets needed to support the many facets of digital transformation. Look for a provider who can support existing, as well as emerging, trends, such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and IoT.
  2. Proactive: Find a MSP who doesn’t just react when things go wrong, but can proactively identify priorities and challenges, and map them to better solutions.
  3. Measurement: You need a MSP that can optimize IT efficiency in terms of cost and solution review, cloud consumption management, consolidation of tools and software, capacity planning, and IT operations.
  4. Accountability: Find a MSP that can tie performance to business objectives. For example, an adept MSP might put SLAs in place to support users, apps, and more.
  5. User Experience: When vetting MSPs, we talk a lot about technical expertise. But often what’s missing is perhaps the most important trait of all – the ability to enable your company’s people in the face of change. Deploying a solution is no longer the last step to a successful IT project. You’ll want a partner that ensures the users are leveraging the solution to its full potential. Look for MSPs who can articulate a clear framework for user enablement and adoption. You’ll also want to find a MSP with a highly reliable service desk ready to help as your company transitions to managed services.
  6. Partnership: Always go with your gut. Does your MSP have the ability to connect with users and understand business processes and objectives? Are they speaking the same language as your business? Keep in mind, most MSPs today don’t actually talk to users. This isn’t what you want!
  7. Security: Last but not least, always inquire about security and governance. When transformation is underway, shadow IT problems tend to arise in the form of security risks and governance challenges. You’ll want to ensure that your MSP is able to tackle these issues with agility, implementing the advanced security solutions and governance methodologies that can accelerate transformation while managing risk.

Despite digital transformation being regarded as an important step in the evolution of organizations, many Managed Services Providers still struggle to turn leading edge IT innovation into real-world transformation. By partnering with the right MSP who understand the needs and opportunities of midsize companies, you can begin to bridge the skill gap and guide your organization through its digital transformation journey.

If you’re looking for a strategic partner who can help you identify your business goals, map solutions, and develop a roadmap for digital transformation, BDO Digital is uniquely positioned to help you align the right people, process, and technology to achieve better business outcomes. Contact us to learn more about our approach.

Transforming business for the digital age