Two weeks ago we looked at what managed services are and how they can be a benefit for you and your company. This week I want to talk about what you can expect from those services.
To help you understand Managed Services, you need to understand the traditional model of consulting services. Traditionally consultants work on a time and materials basis, under this construct the worse off your infrastructure is, the better it is for the consultant. The consultant will only do what you approve and all the work completed will typically be to restore services to their prior state. Very little will be done to improve the configuration or the general health of the network. The issue here is not that the consultant is uncaring, but that you only call on him at the worst possible time and you only have resources to put out the current fire.
Often an organization will see the value of the consultant and want him to spend more time on their network so as sort of an intermediate step between Managed Services and ‘time and materials,’ they buy ‘Block Time’ from the consultant. Usually this Block Time is used to put out fires during the first part of the month and start pet projects during the last part of the month. Most Block Time contracts are a use it or lose it model, resulting in project work being pushed out when crises occur. The most attractive part of Block Time for most organizations is the fixed budget – easier to predict. Most of the pet projects born at the last part of the month take too long to complete or simply die because of the amount of time that elapses from month to month.
Well, let’s say you have 5 servers and contract a consultant firm to manage them for you. The first thing that will happen is the consultant firm will take a good look at the hardware and associated warrantees. They’ll look at the Operating Systems of the servers and the patch levels. Based on the age of the hardware and software and current stability, the consultant firm will determine the level of risk they would have to assume in order to manage the server(s). The older the hardware and software the higher the cost will be for them to assume the risk. The cost is based on actuarial tables just like those used by insurance companies to determine the premium for life insurance. In the end it might be more cost effective to upgrade a server rather than pay the premium for an old server.
You can expect a substantial amount of contact from the consultant firm upfront as they onboard the servers and make them stable; this contact is then reduced as the server is stabilized and monitoring is implemented. You will know exactly what your monthly budget will be from the consulting firm.
In the end, you can expect your servers to perform better and more consistant than before, and what’s even better, if anything were to happen, you will have immediate attention, and at NO additional cost.
Pinnacle has recently decided to offer a Managed Services solution for businesses. If you are interested there will be an informal class offered at the Pinnacle offices. The cost is free, and lunch will be provided we just need you to sign up. Hope to see you there.