How do you judge the effectiveness of any service company that you deal with? Probably against two key criteria: how effectively they solve the problem, and how quickly they respond.
In non-emergency situations, the second of these points isn’t generally a big deal. Conveniently fitting in the work is more important. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want a serious injury left waiting for when the trauma team happens to have a spare moment!
The same calculations apply when deciding on service level agreements (SLA) for your outsourced managed IT support and incident management processes.
A commonly used tool to understand the outsourced IT SLA appropriate to needs is the Severity and Impact Risk Matrix. Create a matrix for your company by analysing operations and defining the various areas of risk should faults develop with your IT systems. The key is for all necessary scenarios to be visible to you. Simply put, you don’t want any nasty surprises!
‘Triage’ the scenarios by considering which events are:
- Certain to occur
- Highly likely to occur
- Less likely to occur
- Rare or completely unlikely to occur.
With these scenarios understood, you have a basis from which to assess the impact of each event on operations, customers and suppliers, and your reputation in the marketplace. At one end of the scale, the effects might be fairly negligible; at the other, they could mean a critical or even catastrophic effect on your business, particularly if your IT support isn’t up to the task.
From this information, you can build a picture of the necessary countermeasures and how to best put them in place around your IT solutions.
But what has that to do with your outsourced IT support and service provider? Quite a bit, actually.
When dealing with managed IT outsource providers (which is an increasingly popular option), you’ll be offered tiered levels of IT support services. For example, Leap Consulting has range of managed security services (MSS) as part of the outsourced IT support we offer. From that range, we tailor a support package to meet your specific needs; however, the crucial necessity is that we need to understand your needs in order to create that package.
This is where a clear Severity and Impact Risk Matrix is essential in providing a clear idea of what your risk profiles are and how we can deliver the right level of support to ensure your business has the necessary resilience to deal with potential IT issues.
MSS is just one area of many support options which are drawn upon to create a technology support package which optimally meets the areas identified in the Severity and Impact Risk Matrix (and which can deliver a competitive advantage). The Matrix will help determine the support hours required, from a full 24/7 immediate response for some aspects of your IT, to others which are less of a problem and can therefore be sorted out ‘when convenient’.
Crucially, knowing the IT response time – classed from urgent to low priority – and responses can be expected, and what target success rate can be expected, should be baked into the SLA.
Once these assessments and metrics are established, it doesn’t mean the work is done. It’s a good idea to conduct regular reviews with your managed service provider because needs and conditions do change. With incident management processes and help desk prioritisation models in place, ‘sudden emergencies’ and ‘unexpected problems’ are likely to become less prevalent – and ‘panic’ can give way to ‘process’, even when bad things happen (and this is about IT…bad things can always happen!)
Leap Consulting provides professional outsourced solutions backed by clear service level agreements, across WA and far beyond. Regardless of the IT partner you choose, know what you need and know what to expect. Check out our free ebook ‘8 Mistakes Businesses Make When Outsourcing Their IT’ and avoid the pitfalls that many fall into. Else, give us a call on 1300-532-748 for an obligation-free discussion about the benefits and practicalities of outsourcing your IT function.