Many enterprise software vendors offer basic support services for their products. These services can help reassure organizations that they won’t be left out on a limb when it comes to the implementation, training, and support of the complex software they are looking to purchase.
However, as most vendors specialize in product development and enhancement rather than business and user support and system integration, they may not have the bandwidth, expertise or structure in place to provide the detailed service levels their clients require.
If you are looking for more comprehensive support, it may be time to consider a managed services provider. (MSPs), often part of larger IT system integration firms, offer an additional layer of services beyond the basic provisions product vendors provide. They partner with your organization to not only supply customized support for the enterprise application(s) of choice, but also bring to bear knowledge of your other IT applications, infrastructure and business needs to provide more comprehensive support.
Here are the top 5 reasons why a managed IT services provider may be a better choice to support your enterprise systems:
1. Support for your entire business
On premise or in the cloud, a product vendor’s support services will only cover the software they sell. But most enterprise applications touch or integrate with numerous aspects of an organization, including IT infrastructure, other third-party applications and business processes.
A managed services provider supports the organization as a whole. It can help with legacy systems, technologies and processes as well as answer how-to questions or provide technology enhancements. It also can work as a liaison with the vendor to resolve any software-related issues.
A managed services provider works for you to ensure your business continuity is aligned with your objectives. They also drive user training and enablement by providing on-the-go training.
Further, a MSP aligns its support services with a client’s specific requirements. For example, certain clients may be only looking for coverage during off hours, weekends and vacation schedules of their internal Tier 1 support team. A MSP’s support team would step in and take over the Level 1 support responsibility during such occasions.
2. Industry specific knowledge
Product vendor support staff is normally comprised of software developers who know the product well, but not your business or how you use it and will always recommend solutions within the portfolio of products tied to the vendor.
Managed service providers function as an extension of your IT team. They not only have direct access to your system to troubleshoot the issues for you, but also know your environment, configurations, processes and culture. This can help expedite service requests and offer more detailed, effective support. Further, most MSPs staff their team with ex-implementation and industry consultants that have multiple years of experience in various industries. Organizations benefit from such a cross pollination where the MSP’s industry knowledge can benefit the entire customer base it services.
MSPs also can help with best practices and provide a direction to help the business to gain the most out of the product in which it’s invested. They also offer a holistic view and provide the best recommendations agnostic of the product.
3. Individually customized services
Enterprise vendors sell to organizations in various industries but often don’t have the resources to segment their support staff in such a way. Instead, they allocate a pool of resources—possibly located all over the world--to manage such support, which means they likely won’t have insight into your business or access to your specific infrastructure when they troubleshoot issues. It will be left up to you to troubleshoot with their direction. You also may be given a new support resource for every request you have.
MSPs instead often segment their staff and create smaller support teams dedicated to their clients that work together on a regular basis to develop a long-term relationship. This helps maintain continuity, increased productivity and quicker resolution to service requests.
Also, most vendors don’t make individual customizations or enhancements to their software. If enough customers request a change, they will consider it, but there’s often a long approval and development cycle before it comes to fruition in a software upgrade. And when a third party is involved, product vendors prefer to stay out of it.
Managed IT service providers can offer customized development within enterprise systems to help meet specialized needs. They can suggest and implement accelerators that have helped other organizations, or develop other organization-specific shortcuts, analytics or automation that would enhance the system for optimal use. With an MSP, you also get SME level of expertise for only the amount of support you need as opposed to staffing a FTE on your team.
4. Dedicated account manager and response times
Some vendor support services might not be able to offer a live support option or offer a guaranteed response time to issues. Sometimes the services are as simple as pointing the client to specific areas of user guides or manuals to troubleshoot issues.
Managed service providers offer a dedicated account manager for anytime status and escalations, as well as commit to response time service levels depending on issue severity. They also offer detailed assistance--often via live conference--to troubleshoot issues.
5. Support Framework
An MSP brings to bear the entire framework, often based on industry-standard ITIL methodology of processes and tools toward providing support services. This can include a helpdesk system, knowledge base, scorecards, reporting, service level agreements, 1-800 on call support, change management processes, escalation paths, etc. MSPs often align these processes and tools per each client’s requirements. For example, the service levels tied to response times can be tweaked for each client’s needs. Some clients want more offshore support vs. onshore support to lower their support spend. These tools, methodologies and processes enable customers to have complete control, transparency and understanding of their enterprise systems’ transition from go live to stead state support.
While vendor support services can help some organizations better manage their enterprise applications, many organizations require more comprehensive support at one time or another. Managed service organizations, like Emtec’s ClearCARE® team, can provide the higher-level, customized support to enable companies to better optimize such systems.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help your organization today!