Blog Series: Managed Services Study 2022
Yvonne Kern | June 7, 2022

Strategies for Collaboration with Managed Services Providers

When companies digitalize, the path today usually leads via cloud solutions. And since very few companies are implementing this transformation on their own, managed services providers (MSPs) are more important than ever. This is confirmed by the “Managed Services 2022” study, which NTT DATA Business Solutions Germany conducted together with the team from CIO Magazin, CSO online and COMPUTERWOCHE: 78 percent of respondents use additional services when moving to the cloud, and 79 percent additionally obtain (strategic) consulting services.

Laptop, notebook and survey chart on a table represent the managed services study by NTT DATA Business Solutions

The study initiated by NTT DATA Business Solutions Germany identifies the most important success criteria for working with an MSP, the added value of outsourcing, and what the situation is with regard to data security and data protection in the context of managed services.

In addition to the assessments and experiences of the surveyed companies, we would like to present our view as a managed services provider. That is why we are supplementing the survey with a series of interviews – in the second part with Yvonne Kern, Account Manager for Managed Services, NTT DATA Business Solutions AG.

Graph showing survey results on the question: This is important to the people surveyed

Bild von Yvonne Kern, Account Manager Managed Services
"A well-established internal IT organization is important for any business. If this is not established yet, a managed services provider (MSP) can fill or help fill this gap to keep IT running smoothly."

Yvonne Kern Account Manager Managed Services

Mrs. Kern, the top five criteria for successful collaboration with an MSP from the point of view of the respondents are: local contact person, good internal IT organization, suitable SLA and communication in German, and customer orientation. Is that also your experience?

Yvonne Kern:A well-established internal IT organization is important for every company. If this is currently missing, a Managed Services Provider (MSP) can close this gap or help to close it so that the IT runs smoothly. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that the demands placed on IT have grown in recent years. In the past, the standard in companies was “keep the lights on”; today, the IT department should act as a business enabler that generates added value for the business. The IT organization does not necessarily have to be large if it has an MSP at its side. However, such a partnership requires an efficient organization and cooperation at eye level.

What can an MSP do to strengthen the customer's IT organization?

Yvonne Kern: As an MSP, we say what needs to be ensured in order to provide a good service – for example, we need a service manager (contract owner) on the company side who has sufficient influence and creates awareness. If this competence is not yet available on the customer side, we help to establish it. The contact person should have contacts in the business, basic SAP knowledge, but also have a general view. We give this internal contact person the necessary skills, for example through on-the-job training. He/she then becomes the interface between his/her company and the MSP.

And on our side, the local service delivery manager is important – with cultural understanding for the customer. Besides the contractual issues, managed services are often a matter of trust. And we believe that localness and local understanding are important for this. In the case of globally active companies, this can also mean local peer groups. In addition, the company’s service manager should also feel comfortable with the topic and the type of communication. Then the development will be successful and the investment will pay off.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) define the scope of services, response times and processing times of the MSP. How do you develop suitable SLAs?

Yvonne Kern: We often start with a standard that has evolved from our experience and is suitable for many companies. Then we ask the central question: How does the customer earn his money? What are his core processes that have to run 24/7? This could be production, for example, which runs via SAP ERP. We can secure these. 24/7 support for all SAP modules would also be possible, but this has commercial implications and should be examined together to determine whether it makes sense. In order to adjust the contracts and the service model, we talk to the customer regularly. This gives us the best possible understanding of the company, its business, its requirements and also its ongoing development. In the end, it’s all about providing a sense of security.

Does it make a big difference whether a company outsources IT issues for the first time or already had a partner?

Yvonne Kern: Especially when a company hands over control to an MSP for the first time, it often means a change for the people in the IT department. Some employees are not happy to hand over topics that they have been responsible for years. The keyword is change: Many companies are currently in the process of switching to SAP S/4HANA. At the same time, employees who have specialized in SAP R/3 and ECC are often leaving the company due to age. For a successful changeover to SAP S/4HANA, an MSP should therefore join the company in good time to ensure that the handover is a success.

Customer orientation is also perceived as important in the survey. In your experience, what do companies understand by this?

Yvonne Kern:It is important for customers to have a personal contact whose face and voice they know. This also includes the transfer of industry experience and the joint design of cooperation. That’s why we form an individual account team for our customers, which is basically structured as follows: The account manager is responsible for the commercial side and draws up the contracts. The Service Delivery Manager is the day-to-day operational contact. He or she is responsible for the regular status calls, checks whether the SLAs have been fulfilled and the tickets resolved. And our experts work in the background on the individual problems and projects.

In addition to support, the service delivery manager also gives impulses, because he or she quickly learns where the system can be improved within the application management services with added value for the company. The account manager also provides innovation ideas, which is particularly welcome by larger companies.

Interview Managed Services
Watch on Mit einem Managed Services Provider (MSP) eine zukunftsfähige IT-Strategie gestalten und umsetzen