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By David Leech, Vice President of Professional and Managed Services, Logicalis US

Today’s CIOs are facing some incredible challenges as they make the transition from being technology-focused to becoming a services-defined, digital enterprise. If you’re caught in the midst of this transformation, it’s probably clear by now that not every task IT is responsible for needs to be performed in house. In fact, as you re-invent the way your IT department functions, it’s important to move your staff into more business-facing, application-centric, vendor management roles by using a managed services provider (MSP) as an extension of your IT team.

So, what’s holding you back? A number of CIOs have told us their greatest concerns in partnering with an MSP include fears about losing control over security measures, concerns about vendor lock-in, and, of course, concerns about the security of their own positions. Each of these concerns, however, can be resolved by choosing your MSP carefully.

When you have the right MSP on board and you’re able to really embrace that relationship, you’ll see your entire team become a much more strategic, valuable asset to your organization. By outsourcing select time-consuming IT tasks, you and your team will be freed to attend board meetings and product development sessions, and you’ll be better able to help your business colleagues drive innovation and growth.

The key to all this is selecting the right MSP, something which may seem like an arduous process unless you have a gameplan to follow. At Logicalis, we suggest the following 11-step strategy:

  1. Determine which components you need to outsource (i.e., service desk, security, etc.).
  2. Don’t provide an RFP that is too prescriptive; ask the provider for recommendations on solving your business problem.
  3. Look for a firm that is adaptable and willing to meet the needs of your organization, and be sure they are willing and able to transform with you as your organization grows and changes.
  4. Be sure there is a cultural fit between the MSP and your organization.
  5. Invite all business and IT stakeholders to the table.
  6. Bring the vendors that may be impacted into the conversation.
  7. Clearly explain to your in-house IT team what their role will be, including future career paths.
  8. Provide a clear transformational roadmap with identified checkpoints.
  9. Determine a well-defined, two-way, tiered communication schedule between the partner and each level of your own organization that allows you to stay engaged and closely monitor the quality of the services being provided.
  10. Define how you will measure the value of the project.
  11. Create a flexible contract so you’re not locked in for multiple years without an exit path.

Want to learn more? Start by attending a Logicalis web event tomorrow, October 5th, and hear Logicalis’ Kevin Clark, Director of Cloud and Managed Services, discuss the six surprise benefits of managed services as well as the best ways to leverage outsourced resources to become a more strategic player in your own organization. Next, in this WatchIT video, part of SmartPros’ eCampus Learning Management System, hear Logicalis expert David Leech discuss the evolution and importance of managed services. Learn what it takes to support business-critical operations with mature managed services in this Logicalis video, then explore the business benefits of managed services and find out much experience a managed services provider needs: