What Critical Capabilities Should You Look for in an MNS Provider?

Managed network service (MNS) providers make it possible for enterprises to be effective in meeting their IT service delivery goals. You should entrust them to do so in an efficient manner with wide ranging benefits.

In addition to providing superior service levels to your users on a day-to-day basis, MNS providers enable your organization to focus on planning and fulfilling strategic needs leading to better business outcomes. To accomplish this, MNS providers need to have certain critical capabilities. Let’s dig deeper into some of these from an outcome perspective.

Service Delivery Quality

Service delivery quality refers to the MNS provider’s ability to satisfy the basic needs of standardized service delivery at a high quality. Key aspects include the following:

  • Having mature process frameworks and the operational discipline to exercise them to secure the efficiencies they can deliver.
  • A sophisticated Service Delivery Platform (SDP) that consists of multitenant hardware, software, applications, security and scalability components to deliver the MNS.
  • Integrations and APIs to connect the MNS providers systems with your organization’s existing IT Service Management (ITSM), Application Performance Management (APM) and Configuration Management Database (CMDB) tools.
  • The ability to manage adjacent technologies such as Unified Communication and Collaboration systems amongst other enterprise applications.
  • The ability to maintain adequate IT security policies to safeguard both on-premises and cloud-hosted services.

Network Operations Automation

Automation is a major consideration when it comes to bringing about operational and cost efficiencies for managed network services. Your MNS provider should make it possible to manage the infrastructure at scale and reduce man-made errors in repetitive tasks.

Some of the capabilities to look for that are associated with automation include:

  • Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) provides the ability to analyze large amounts of data and glean insights that can be used to perform corrective and other actions on the infrastructure. This capability needs to be a part of the functionality of the MNS provider’s is an extension of observability.
  • Basic IT automations may be configurable at the SDP, but to reap greater value there needs to be an overlay of an orchestration framework that can automate across different systems and management silos. This provides a higher level of operational capabilities.
  • In order to conduct effective automation, the integrity of data used for reference and decision making is paramount. In order to do this, accurate data needs to be maintained.

Require that your MNS provider has the ability to interface with your CMDB and ITSM suite to ensure that up-to-date information is available for the infrastructure and for change- and configuration management-related items.

Customer Experience Management

From the MNS provider’s perspective, this includes the consumers of the business services delivered by the infrastructure. Depending on the nature of the service, this could include your employees as well as the stakeholders responsible for managing the business.

Some core user experience management capabilities to look for are:

  • A real-time customer portal, which allows for ready access to all service requests, incidents and performance status. The portal should provide access to the performance of the entire scope of the MNS provider’s The provider also needs to include persistent updates that can later be leveraged for reporting and accountability as needed.
  • Business Impact modeling, which readily provides information on what end-user services are affected when any part of the infrastructure is undergoing issues.
  • Anomaly detection by monitoring of actual or synthetic transactions as part of the SDP. This makes it possible to understand the user experience in real-time. When an anomaly is detected, either with a service or in a particular geography or subset of users, this information can be used to rapidly effect network remediation

This list is by no means comprehensive, but is intended to provide an outcome-based perspective on the critical capabilities to look for in a MNS provider.

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