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New Metrics for Managed Services Success

Author: Avanade’s Raffaele Sgherri
Author: Avanade's Raffaele Sgherri

Look back three years and ask yourself, "How much has technology changed? How much has it changed my daily routine?" The answer is, most likely, "A lot." It's because we are at the dawn of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence, and those were considered research fields just a few years back. With this rapid pace in technology evolution, a 3-5 year managed services contract is like a time capsule; at the end of it, even the smoothest and leanest issue-free service provided will be obsolete with little valuable. We talk daily to our personal assistants to order a pizza or make a call, why does engaging the support team for help need to be any different by not offering the same experience?

As a consequence, IT is moving more and more to a “service model” approach where anything is considered a consumed service – from SaaS platforms to Windows 10 continuous releases, from cloud platforms to Agile and DevOps methodologies enabling very frequent releases of new functionalities. Evergreen is the new norm, as changes are continuously pushed by continuous software updates or by the need to remain market relevant.

How Managed Services Has Changed

We all recognize changes because people are the single-fixed entity in the new IT ecosystem. Managed services used to focus on preventing issues and keeping software or processes away from disruptions, but the demand is now to facilitate changes and allow managed disruptions while keeping people effective, engaged and productive. In the past, we used to fix issues on large and monolithic software to keep it running smoothly and consistently over time, valuing the ability to minimize changes.

Nowadays, we need to make people flexible and adaptive, safe in the eye of the storm on a daily basis while using critical applications that are key to the business and subject to continuous changes and evolutions.

How Avanade IT Services Evolved

At Avanade, we embrace change. Our IT Services team looks after the security and the availability of our internal applications portfolio from Office 365 to Dynamics 365 and Windows 10 as a service, is the concrete evidence of what managed services looks like now from the perspective of our clients. 90% of our applications live in the Cloud, each of us runs on Windows 10, and all those moving parts are evaluated, tested and deployed with no business disruptions.

We have a helpdesk bot, we evolved our CRM and Knowledge Base and we now collaborate with Microsoft Teams in a managed and secure way, which did not exist two years ago. Tools have changed and our Avanade culture is stronger than ever. This is the same approach we apply to our clients, proactively integrating innovation and automation so the focus of delivery is shifted from low value activities to implement big enhancements.

The Most Valuable Metrics: End User Adoption, Plus...

Consistent to one of our core values at Avanade, we innovate with passion and purpose, so infrastructure and applications under our management run healthy and remain valuable for our clients. To measure success, we define "End User Adoption" and a solid business case as the most valuable metrics, and provide support to our clients in how to best define and implement a Technology Vision and Strategy. This is where Avanade Advisory Services fits in, to help our clients see the big picture and where to invest and transform technology for the better.

A mid-term managed services engagement should not be like a "pause" button, but rather a strategic engagement with a partner to make technology more effective and efficient.

I invite you to take the Avanade Performance Assessment that we developed in collaboration with IDC to help you determine how your current managed services can be upgraded for increased productivity in this cloud-first digital world.

And I'd love to get your comments and feedback.

Raffaele Sgherri is director, global managed services center of excellence at Avanade. Read more Avanade blogs here.