Taking a look at IT Field Services

June 3rd, 2013

As the IT world continues to change, what role could outsourced IT field services play for your company?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing. Mark asks

There are a number of trends occurring in the support of IT products and processes today, not the least of which are the trends of increasing expansion of business through acquisition and the decreasing number of qualified resources with experience necessary to perform the tasks a company needs.  When you couple these two trends with the trend of employees having shorter and shorter stays working for a company, it is no wonder companies are looking to outsourced IT break fix and managed services to provide a backup to their existing staffs.

In today’s blog we will be looking at a few of the points to keep in mind as you explore this area of managed services for your company; looking at your current landscape, the questions you should be asking about where you want to head as an organization and the methods you can use to evaluate the vendors against your eventual goals.

Current Landscape – As with any project, understanding where you want to go starts with understanding where you came from and more importantly, where you are now.  With acquisitions and growth happening in so many industries it becomes a challenge to support new infrastructures and IT equipment that the existing staff may have no familiarity with.  This is especially true in the retail industry where new acquisitions can mean new Loss Prevention equipment, new scanners, new Point-of-sale equipment and software.  Geographic expansion can also create difficulties as recruiting and managing your own IT resources requires looking at areas the company may have less knowledge.  Outsourced field service companies can be a great addition to assist in bridging the gap of new equipment experience or geographical coverage on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Create the Project – How you know where your company is currently, the next step is to determine how the outsourced supplier will be used by your organization.  In the case of expansion this may be filling geographical needs that your current staff cannot support or it could mean providing a temporary knowledge bridge of unfamiliar equipment until your own staff can be brought up to speed or the equipment can be standardized to something more familiar.  Some of the things that will need to be determined with your organization are:
•   Pricing – Generally there will be a “per incident” or monthly flat fee offering.
•   Flow of support for issues from your employees to the supplier
•   The purpose of the managed provider – Staff augmentation (temporary or permanent) or special projects.
•   The services you will be expecting them to perform.

Evaluate the Suppliers –  Once you have determined your current needs and the plan for how best to fill them it is time to evaluate the suppliers who can help you.  Depending on the level of service you have details for; this may begin as a Request for Information, gathering general information about what each supplier can offer and who they are working with today as well as their preferred pricing model.  If the scope of service is well-determined moving right into a Request for Proposal would be the first step.  Locations, detailed service expectations and equipment count are all important pieces that would be needed for suppliers to provide you with accurate pricing.  Once this has been collected and a Statement of Work and pricing model have been established based on the RFP responses the final stage would be a Request for Quote or Tender, requiring all invited participants to provide pricing in the model you have requested. 

Outsourced Managed Services are becoming commonplace in how we do business and will continue to do business in the future especially for National companies how need services across a large portion or all of the country.  Maintaining your IT equipment is one of the fastest growing managed service industries and can be used affectively once your goals have been established for their use.  For more information on how we can help you evaluate suppliers against these goals or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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