Embracing a Managed Services Culture


Managed Services is a term used by a lot of people and you, like me, have probably at some point recognized that the definition means different things to different people.

I was speaking at a PMI symposium on the topic of managed services. I noticed that the session preceding mine was titled “What is managed services”. “Hah!” I thought. “Good luck with that!” I wanted to attend that session just to see what the speaker had to say. That session is one I will remember forever, not for its content but for what I realized during the discussion. I realized managed services is not WHAT service is delivered, but rather HOW it is delivered.

It was suddenly clear to me. With many years in the managed services industry, I came to realize that managed services is a culture — centered on analysis, planning, making commitments, communicating progress against the commitments and always looking for ways to increase efficiency (continuous improvement). A managed services culture is one of accountability to the outcome and to continuously improve one’s ability to predict the outcome independent of the service provided.

Today that culture still provides results. An organization that embraces a managed services culture will realize the most value. The people benefit too. They grow because they don’t just need to have technical skills.  It is like the difference between an order-taker and a problem solver.

  • An order-taker is quite content to complete the task assigned to him. He makes no attempt to understand what problem he needs to solve.
  • The problem solver looks beyond just completing the task at hand. He looks at the possibility of fixing the problem vs. the symptom and is always focused on identifying ways to add VALUE.

Which one best describes your organization?

So, if you are like many organizations out there, you may be wondering “what” to implement to make improvements. That is a noble pursuit. But sometimes, the opportunity (the “what”) is already present, and progress can happen if you simply change the “how”. Organizational maturity is the result of creating a managed services culture that is focused on repeatable methods of delivering the “how”… REPEATABILITY breeds PREDICTABILITY.

My upcoming blogs will be focused on some of the key components that drive an effective managed services culture and have proven to increase organizational maturity:

  • Metrics management
  • Root cause analysis vs. band-aid approach
  • Workflow definition
  • Status reporting
  • Continuous improvement

I welcome your thoughts – what is most important in creating such a culture of continuous improvement?

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