When you hire an IT services & management team, what should you expect them to do? Each provider has its own method of delivering IT services. However, there are some common elements that make up the strategy for most IT services & management providers.
We’ve put together a list of services you can expect from an IT services and management service provider. But keep in mind that these may vary slightly depending on each provider.
One of the most important services an IT service and management provider offers is their IT support. Part of their service includes service requests from their clients through a management tool (also sometimes referred to as a workflow tool).
The IT Service Desk (the management request tool) takes care of all aspects of IT services and management. Through this tool, clients can:
- Request access to existing software
- Request new hardware or software
- Report problems and security issues
The service management request tool is usually the main point of contact, where all client requests and issues are reported, logged, and recorded. In most cases, related requests are grouped together.
The manage request tool also rates the order of priority for service, too. This ensures all requests are dealt with in a reasonable amount of time.
The tool also allows for communication between the users and the engineers. Clients can then receive notifications about the progress of their requests. They’re also able to log into the tool and check the status of their request.
In addition, some IT services & management providers offer a 24/7 help desk that is included as part of their request management system. Some businesses may offer face-to-face client support at a real desk. However, these services usually only run during certain hours. However, a face-to-face service can reduce some of the load from the service management request tool and provide support for requests that are fairly easy to handle.
Data management is another essential service provided by managed IT service providers. Today’s businesses create extensive amounts of data. All of this data must be handled according to regulations, stored, and back up for later use.
An effective data management service reduces costs in handling, storing, locating, and backup valuable data. It’s also essential to keep sensitive data from customers and other aspects of a business safe and secure. When such data is made available incorrectly, a business is immediately put at risk of losing customer confidence and suffering damage to its brand.
Data management services by an IT management provider usually include:
- Data backup
- Data storage
- Data recovery (if data is lost by accident or stolen)
- Data security (only certain individuals are allowed to access specific data)
- Cybersecurity (processes are put in place to protect data as part of IT security measures)
This brings us to incident management, one of the most important services provided by IT service and management providers. Incident management is involved with IT-related issues that cause a disruption to the end user(s) and keeps them from working.
A typical flow for incident management may look something like this for most managed IT service providers:
- They receive a report of an incident (via the logged report in a service request tool)
- Next, the incident is categorised and prioritised (incidents may be rated as low, medium, high, or critical).
- The incident will then be assigned and handled by the right technician.
- They will manage the tasks related to the incident (this may involve several technicians across various departments)
- They will also manage SLAs to ensure the incident is resolved within the agreed timeframe; if not, the incident will then be escalated.
- The tech(s) will resolve the incident.
- Finally, the request will be closed, ensuring the client is satisfied with the solution. This may also involve the documentation of the incident, so if there’s a recurrence, best-practice recommendations can be used for the next incident.
IT connectivity is another key element of managed IT services. It works to ensure employees are able to access the tools they need to get their work done, no matter what location they’re working from. Connectivity management may include the following:
- Video conferencing applications (such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and more)
- Text, chat applications (such as Slack and Microsoft Teams)
- Stable, reliable Internet connections
Each form of communication must be done in a secure manner that doesn’t put business data at risk. That means it may be necessary to deploy a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect employees from cybercriminals who want to steal data or login information.
There are also other connectivity tools that may fall under connectivity management, including:
- MPLS (a network protocol that separates different types of traffic into low or high priority)
- SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network—allows for multiple Internet connections from different providers to be combined into a single network)
Changes are an everyday part of running a business, and some changes do impact IT systems. For this reason, an IT service & management provider offers key strategies to manage these changes and ensure IT services are running without disruption.
- Changes that may impact IT systems include:
- A major system experiences a small update or a complete redo
- New software is installed to replace outdated software
- Changes that arise from unrelated business projects can have an impact on IT systems
Strategies that an IT service provider may apply for change management issues include:
- Running tests before a full rollout of a change
- Selling the benefits of change, such as an update to communications
- Managing user expectations during a rollout
- Providing additional support during the change process and ongoing support beyond the rollout
Summing It Up
These are the main elements that may be offered by managed IT service providers. Of course, these will vary slightly between providers. In addition, other essential services to check for include IT communication, IT procurement, IT network services, and more.
The key is to find an IT services & management provider that meets the needs of your business. Strive to find an IT management service that delivers comprehensive IT support by understanding what their clients need. They should be ready to do more than just fix your computers. They should also offer comprehensive IT services that meet your company’s requirements.