NOA Outsourcing YearBook 2015.

The Outsourcing Yearbook is now available throughout the year to the entire industry as an e-book.

The Outsourcing Yearbook 2015 takes a more statstical view of the outsourcing industry than in previous years – it is the ultimate annual compendium of outsourcing knowledge and insight.

This year’s Outsourcing Yearbook contains:

  • Exclusive research assessing the state of the outsourcing industry and its future
  • Expert predictions from sourcing specialists
  • Outsourcing case studies featuring the NHS and the BBC
  • Opinions, commentary and analysis from the industry’s ‘outspoken outsourcers’
  • A full version of the NOA’s Directory of Outsourcing Suppliers

Access your free copy at: NOA Outsourcing YearBook 2015. 

How to Deal With a Perfect Storm of Disruption in the Managed Services Business

There is a growing chorus of concern among MSP’s. It’s not that they are filled with doom-andgloom; rather, there’s a shared feeling that a major inflection point has been reached in the MSP industry. We’re bracing for more change in the next two years than the industry has seen in the past 15. Drivers that are creating a perfect storm of disruption include new competitors, converging technologies, and IT everywhere. Change on the scale we’re anticipating always brings explosive opportunities and challenges. Whether you emerge a winner or loser will be defined by how you respond to both. That’s my purpose in writing this paper: to share candid insights on the big trends we’re seeing. More importantly, I want to give you the strategies and action steps N-able Technologies is recommending to ensure our global Partners stay on top of change – and remain the most successful MSPs in the world. Everything in this paper is based on my experience working with our 2,500 global Partners and an analysis by N-able’s senior management team. This paper will be invaluable if you’re a MSP or IT service provider targeting SMBs or mid-market customers. The insights will equip you with practical strategies for sailing with greater confidence through a perfect storm of disruption.

Big Drivers fo Change

We always expect change. When we see the following, we quickly realize that “rear view vision” will be less and less useful for predicting the road ahead. Here are the five big change agents we are actively tracking and creating strategies for:

1. New Competitors – and “Convergence”

2. Commoditization – driving price wars

3. Mobility – and mobile computing

4. IT Anywhere – and on any device

5. The Cloud – a new reality in Managed Services

Let’s tackle each one to create the right context for the strategies we are recommending to our global Partners – and that you may want to adopt too.

Download the whitepaper:  How to Deal With a Perfect Storm of Disruption in the Managed Services Business

Overcoming the Top 6 Obstacles to Managed Services Success

Overcoming the Top 6 Obstacles to Managed Services Success
White Paper sponsored by N-able Technologies
The MSP market is predicted to grow from $142.75 billion to $256.05 billion by 2018, a trend that is likely due to growth in outsourcing, increased market penetration by new businesses, and advancements in cloud technology. However, in spite of this clear trend, many service providers still struggle to make ends meet, with few successfully reaping the benefits of transforming their business to managed services.

This white paper reveals the top six obstacles to success in managed services, drawn from the experiences of 3,000 MSPs around the world. This list is an equally great resource for those just getting into managed services and those whose businesses are struggling, detailing the following topics:

  • The key to building recurring revenue
  • Why automation is the key to profitability
  • And more

Download the WhitePaper at: Overcoming the Top 6 Obstacles to Managed Services Success

An Overview of the ISO Guidance on Outsourcing

On 31 October 2014, the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) published the first international standard for outsourcing, ISO: 375000: Guidance on Outsourcing (the “Standard”). The Standard seeks to provide a comprehensive guide to the outsourcing process, regardless of the size of the transaction, the industry sector or the activities to be outsourced. The Standard provides guidance on the phases of an outsourcing project, the processes that organisations need to implement and the governance that is required for an outsourcing transaction to be successful.

The Standard is the final product of a process instigated by a request from the national standards authorities of the Netherlands and Switzerland in 2010. In 2011, an ISO Technical Committee was formed and received input from the standards bodies of 13 countries. The Technical Committee also received input from buyers, service providers, outsourcing advisors and academics over the four years of the Standard’s development. A draft standard was published in 2013 and a final version was agreed in October 2014.

ISO standards are not legally binding but are important statements of industry specific best practice, which suppliers and customers alike are likely to make reference to, both in their general business conduct and in their contractual arrangements with customers and suppliers.

Read the full publication here.

Source: Arthur Cox-  An Overview of the ISO Guidance on Outsourcing

Seattle IT Company Reveals IT Strategies That Enable Business Scalability and Growth in Recently Released Downloadable Guide

For C-level executives and other managerial staff experiencing IT problems, PacketDrivers IT Outsourcing has released a download that reveals their cutting-edge IT strategies that can keep a company’s operations functioning ahead of the curve.

Falling behind the times is every company’s nightmare. As technology develops, business operations and IT functions must change along with it. It sure isn’t every day that you see a Windows XP interface, and Cloud technology is expanding exponentially, allowing for more scalable business solutions for both users and data storage.

However, it’s not just cloud computing that PacketDrivers IT Outsourcing discusses as a strategy for scalability. Their recently released downloadable white paper guide to IT solutions explains how companies can strategize as they anticipate future growth.

Decisions about hardware and tech are important to be made while considering business needs that will arise as the business continues to scale and become more successful. If IT solutions are not developed to expand as they function within a scalable business model, the growth of the business will inevitably be hindered when past tech solutions become inadequate over time.

The white paper download also discusses the necessity of building proper IT infrastructure that is supports the company’s internal goals and needs. The majority of dissatisfied c-level executives, landed with the job of managing the company’s IT support personnel, will find themselves frustrated with IT teams that obsess about tech and hardware that don’t align with the business’ goals and needs.

More importantly, however, there are often issues with communication. A growing majority of IT teams use an inordinate amount of ‘tech speak’ that their managers and executives simply don’t understand. This is a source of frustration and tension on both sides, resulting in misaligned and mismanaged IT infrastructure and exasperated personnel. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

PacketDrivers IT Outsourcing makes it their goal to fully communicate with business partners that choose to work with them, ensuring that they leave ‘tech speak’ at the office and explain their strategies in a way that helps decision-makers to confidently make IT management choices. They also establish a flexible IT infrastructure that can expand as the business grows, and they keep business tech, hardware, and software up to date with recent updates, upgrades, and the latest, efficient IT solutions as needed.

Source: IT Company Reveals IT Strategies That Enable Business Scalability and Growth in Recently Released Downloadable Guide

IT Service Catalogs: The Biggest Mistakes

Your IT service catalog is a vital anchor in the relationship between your IT services and the customer. If you’re going to bother going to the effort to put a service catalog in place, you may as well do it right. Here is the biggest mistake to avoid with your IT service catalog.

The biggest mistake we see in service catalogs is that organizations often define services at the component or activity level instead of at the business level. These technical services are important to your IT shop, but no offense, the business doesn’t give a donut.

Your service catalog needs to START with the business in mind. Talk to the business, determine what business processes you’re supporting and then work to define the few (less than 15 probably) business services you offer. You’ll find that most of the items you are considering for your catalog are technical services that support those business services.

“We’re flying people, not planes.”

Pierre Beaudoin, CEO, Bombardier Aerospace

Your service catalog should list the services, as your business needs to know and understand what you do, but not burden the business with having to view the systems, components or work instructions associated with offering those services.  Those items are for your IT teams.  The following graphic displays how the various service definitions snap together.

Benefits of a well-constructed  service catalog:

  1. Shows the business that IT understands what the business does and how IT integrates with the business
  2. Can provide an essential medium for communication and coordination among IT and its customers
  3. Allows you to determine costs by business service
  4. Puts the business in a position of making IT investment decisions, based on impact to business services.
  5. Reduction of overspending on the operational costs of delivering IT services
  6. Faster cycle time for the fulfillment of services
  7. Better allocation of resources to effectively meet business demand
  8. Most importantly, significant improvements in internal customer satisfaction

Services that IT provides are too complex and too important to the core business processes to just leave it up to the customer to try and figure out how IT can best enable the outcomes the business is seeking.  IT needs to clearly define its offerings and products in terms that customers will understand and value and, more importantly, demonstrate that IT understands the business and what it values.

If a Service Catalog is not designed with the customer in mind it will distort the business view of IT and only aggravate the disconnect the Service Catalog is supposed to bridge. Business and IT are one…Talk business.

Get a sample of IT Service Catalog by Julie Montgomery 

Instructions: Sample IT Service Level Agreement

A document alone?  No effective SLA is simply a document.

First and foremost, this template should only be used as a place to keep track of the details from the negotiations with your customers. All too often I see IT people type up an SLA without actually negotiating with or even informing their customers about the details within it. The most important part of any SLA effort is to communicate with your customers to understand what their needs are then identify a way to meet those needs.

There are different types of SLA to cover your services, including:

  • Service-Based SLA – Covers one service for all the customers of that service)
  • Customer-Based SLA  – This is an SLA written for an individual customer group, covering all the services used by that customer.
  • Multilevel SLA – In the “real world,” organizations rarely have ALL service-based SLAs or ALL customer-based SLAs.  Multi-level SLAs are how it really happens.  Combing aspects of both for various parts of the organization or services and “stacking” agreements. The ITIL books actually provide a good example of how a three-layer structure might look:

“Corporate level This will cover all the generic SLM issues appropriate to every customer throughout the organization. These issues are likely to be less volatile, so updates are less frequently required

Customer level This will cover all SLM issues relevant to the particular customer group or business unit, regardless of the service being used.

Service level This will cover all SLM issues relevant to the specific service, in relation to a specific customer group (one for each service covered by the SLA).

Such a structure allows SLAs to be kept to a manageable size, avoids unnecessary duplication, and reduces the need for frequent updates. However, it does mean that extra effort is required to maintain the necessary relationships and links within the service catalogue and the CMS.”

Regardless of your format, every one of the services in your service catalog should be covered by at least one SLA. While this template is more geared towards a service-based SLA, with some minor adjustments you could use it for other types as well.

Download the SLA sample and read more at: Instructions: Sample IT Service Level Agreement by Jay Long