Rethinking Managed Services

Joe Norman

After almost 15 years working in and overseeing large managed services teams, I’m confident that now, perhaps more than ever, is the time to think differently about managed services and the value these types of offerings provide. I’m not talking about simply building a better mousetrap, although that is certainly part of it. Instead, I’m talking about rethinking why you want to catch the mouse in the first place. In other words, what are you trying to achieve?

Hang with me. I realize that the mousetrap analogy is overplayed and you probably rolled your eyes. But cliches become cliches for a reason.

Today’s idea of IT managed services finds its roots in the service bureaus formed by IBM in the late 1930s and 1940s. These services offered a great way to access state-of-the-art computing power to perform complex calculations for a fraction of the cost (do more for less!).

The late ‘80s and early ‘90s then saw the first major shift in managed services, as the creation and adoption of affordable hardware and software began to change the way business was conducted. This same timeframe produced the office desktop computer, user-friendly operating systems, the first ERP systems, and, of course, the internet. Because of these advancements, new types of managed services offerings arose with a primary focus on software support for these new large programs.

The computing landscape changed drastically in the last 70 years. But over that same time period, managed service offerings have changed very little. These early service bureaus were said to be ideal for “vanilla” customers with little to no customization. This outlook has persisted, which has heavily impacted the way organizations think about and staff their managed services teams. More specifically, these teams are often filled with junior resources that have little to no practical experience. Within the Salesforce ecosystem, this became particularly problematic. While you might work with certified Salesforce practitioners, they haven’t gained the real-world experience required to spot the dangers and opportunities that come with a live Salesforce org. 

So, why do companies staff their managed services offerings this way? First, and perhaps most obviously, it’s cheaper. Second, many simply view managed services as a way to keep the lights on while trying to sell you new projects, instead of as an opportunity to help you move your org forward through a steady and stable stream of enhancements. Third, companies often use their managed services engagements to get their junior resources the real-world experience they need to move into implementations. This results in an impersonal revolving door, all while you foot the bill for their on-the-spot training.  

While these three reasons help shine light on why organizations approach managed services this way, the final and most important explanation is that most simply don’t understand the difficulties of supporting a live org. They will tell you that their best-in-class implementation teams build extremely complex, high-quality functionality that meets your every need. But once live, they try to support it with a handful of junior developers, who are likely offshore and don’t understand your business’s goals and values. That math simply does not add up.

Salesforce, with its frequent new releases and evolving functionality, remains as dynamic as your business needs. It requires talent with deep technical expertise and experience to enhance and maintain it properly. And is true now more than ever, as Intelligent Experiences and the hyper-relevance and data-powered insights that they unlock become the standard for which your users expect their interactions with you to meet. 

The complex needs of your organization and the dynamicity of the Salesforce platform lead your managed services approach back to the original question: What are you trying to achieve? Do you want basic support from a shifting, impersonal set of resources that simply keeps your site running or resets a password? Or do you want a true partner who has the experience and best practice knowledge to help keep your program on the cutting edge?

Rethinking Customer Success

The strongest, most effective managed services offerings come from companies that want to be more than just order takers. To handle Salesforce’s frequent updates and innovations, today’s leading implementations require added attention. 

To meet the growing needs and expectations of users, you should strive to work with a partner who utilizes certified, onshore experts with years of proven experience in post-go-live engagements. As the approach to managed services continues to evolve, you need to work with someone who will focus as much on crafting top-notch experiences as they do on leveraging Salesforce’s functionality.

While other companies may refuse to adapt to these higher standards of managed services offerings, 7Summits embraces them. We view our post-go-live engagements in a much more forward-thinking way, believing that these are opportunities to ensure the future success of our clients. It is for this reason that we named our offering “Customer Success.” With this service, we aren’t looking to simply maintain the status quo; we want to make you successful.

7Summits’ Customer Success team will ensure your ROI is protected, your users are getting the experience they deserve, and your org is keeping pace with changing business demands and Salesforce enhancements. And because we understand how important these digital experiences are to your users, you can rest assured that you’ll maximize Return on Experience (ROX)–a measurement that is becoming increasingly important and complements ROI–as well. 

So you’ve gotten yourself to launch–congrats! That’s the easy part. But truly innovative digital solutions are never done evolving. When choosing a managed services partner to guide you through the rest of your journey, remind yourself what you want to achieve from your post-launch digital solution.

Joe Norman is 7Summits’ Director of Customer Success. Joe brings years of experience working in and leading managed services teams and ensuring long-term stability and success of clients’ digital solutions. 

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