Does Your Managed Network Service Provider Understand Your Business Model?
When it comes to managing your infrastructure, the days of doing-it-yourself are long gone. For most small and mid-sized enterprises, maintaining a dedicated team to monitor, manage and operate the infrastructure is a daunting proposition. But with the advent of cloud-based services and the availability of mature Managed Network Service (MNS) providers for all sizes of enterprises, it really does not make sense to go it alone anymore.
MNS providers have become critical business partners. They help to reduce the operating expenses around managing the network infrastructure that your enterprise depends upon. When looking for an MNS provider, make sure you require that they understand your service delivery needs and focus on your unique business model.
Speaking Your Language
At the end of the day, it all comes down to assuring that the managed network services you utilize deliver a superior, always-on experience to your customers and end-users. For example, when things go wrong in the infrastructure, you will need to rapidly determine the services and user base affected. You need to be able to look past the technical jargon and understand the implications to your specific operations as an enterprise.
In short, your MNS provider needs to be able to show you the impact to your business. When selecting a provider, don’t hesitate to ask these questions:
- Can you deliver the kind of information and visibility to achieve my business goals?
- Do you understand my business model?
- Can you articulate the issue in terms that make sense to me from a customer perspective?
- In other words, can you speak my language?
Seasoned MNS providers will have developed the capabilities to address these questions and serve the specific needs of each customer. Let’s look at a couple of key capabilities you should expact:
Business Impact Monitoring
The infrastructure that delivers your services is complex. There are multiple components and interacting entities that have to work in harmony to maintain an acceptable level of service delivery. To understand the business impact, an understanding of how services are related to the supporting infrastructure is critical.
Make sure your MNS provider has the capability to orchestrate the reliance of technology to support a business function – and to articulate it within dependency models that reside at the business service monitoring layer. They should embed this process in your infrastructure during the onboarding stages at the start of the engagement and incrementally develop it as you build out.
This articulation should be much more robust than simple parent-child relationships. They should be able to articulate N+1, single-point-of-failure, and 1-to-1 resiliency, to understand what the true state of the service is. They should be able to develop dependency models to provide a holistic view of the entire delivery ecosystem.
Look for an MNS provider that is able to provide an awareness of what the service level of the business process or service is – as opposed to simply responding to events in components along the service delivery chain. For example, the monitoring platform shouldn’t react to every single alarm with high criticality. It should be able to consider resiliency that may not be evident at first glance.
These dependency models should be incorporated directly at the monitoring layer. This speeds up business impact evaluation by not having to rely on tickets bubbling up to the IT Service Management layer to perform the required analysis.
Knowing the business impact is one thing, communicating it to the folks affected is quite another. MNS providers need to be able to speak in terms that are easily understood by you – the customer. Of course, this is simply not possible if the provider doesn’t understand your operations and business model.
They need to get inside your daily operations mindset – your service vernacular. Make sure your MNS provider strives to develop a deeper understanding of your business model to provide a continuum of visibility that goes beyond simply tracking alarms, events, issues, and trouble tickets.
For example, in a classic Remote Management engagement, make sure your Network Operations Center (NOC) team has visibility into the services outsourced. Your MNS provider should share engineering perspective with your NOC in a manner that is readily comprehensible. They should provide dashboards and views based on the business impact dependency models that describe events in terms of the critical services that your NOC needs to care about.
This gives your NOC the ability to communicate effectively within the enterprise. And it enables you to have a true understanding of what the issue is and how it affects you and your user community.
There is a direct correlation between your ability to operate your business successfully and the ability of your MNS provider to cater to your needs in a timely and assured manner. Demand an MNS provider that truly understands your business model and your service vernacular.