Vendor Management a Key Benefit of Managed Services
Although technological innovation is occurring at an astounding pace, organizations often are wary about adopting new solutions and practices. Fears of disruption and downtime can discourage the implementation of emerging technologies — even when there are clear cost and operational advantages. One reason for such fear is a lack of confidence in vendor support.
Technology vendors obviously have their own objectives and agendas, which aren’t always aligned with their customers. Vendor support processes seldom recognize that a particular system, application or service is critical to an organization’s operations. When a vendor does not provide timely support, it creates strategic risk for the customer — not to mention major headaches.
That’s why third-party vendor management is one of the most valuable functions performed by top managed service providers (MSPs). By serving as a liaison between clients and vendors, an MSP can enable better understanding, execution and troubleshooting of new technology implementations, and help ensure that the solution provides real value to the organization over the long term.
The Realities of Vendor Support
The truth is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease when it comes to vendor support. Large enterprise organizations typically are high-volume technology buyers, and their issues naturally get the attention of vendors. In many cases, vendors will even have dedicated representatives assigned to their large enterprise customers. When problems arise, the vendor’s technical resources work directly with in-house IT staff to troubleshoot issues.
Small to midsized businesses (SMBs) have neither the sway nor the need for dedicated vendor resources. Smaller IT environments generally don’t experience issues as frequently as their larger counterparts. When problems arise, however, they often find that the vendor reps who focus on SMB customers are spread thin and have little insight into their specific needs.
Seeking support becomes a time-consuming exercise in frustration, with phone calls getting cycled through the call center — often without effective resolution. Customers often have to repeat the issue multiple times to multiple people, and go through troubleshooting processes that have already been tried.
Another problem is that today’s technology solutions often involve products from multiple vendors. When problems occur, it can be difficult to isolate the root cause. That can lead to finger-pointing among vendors, which just wastes everyone’s time.
How an MSP Can Help
An MSP can speed problem resolution in such scenarios. The MSP will provide the first line of support, isolating the root cause of issues and troubleshooting most problems without vendor intervention. If support escalation is required, the MSP will likely be familiar with the vendor’s operational processes, and can communicate effectively with the vendor’s technical staff.
Many vendors also have partner programs that include technical assistance for MSPs. Here at IronLogix, for example, our vendor relationships give us access to special services and support options that aren’t always offered directly to small businesses.
MSPs such as IronLogix not only know the ins and outs of the IT industry, but also understand your unique business needs. We can advise when it’s time to replace or upgrade certain equipment, and which technologies may benefit your operations. We take a vendor-agnostic approach, which means we don’t have a vested interest in recommending a particular product or solution.
Emerging technologies can be disruptive, but they can also increase efficiency and innovation. What’s more, they will soon become mainstream — consider how commonplace cloud-based solutions have become. The fear of support issues shouldn’t prevent you from capitalizing on technologies that can bring real improvements to your business. If you’re considering a significant technology implementation, give us a call. We can help you overcome potential pitfalls to achieve the greatest possible benefits with the least amount of frustration.