Even the savviest of professional services providers – lawyers, engineers, consultants, finance executives – sometimes find themselves baffled by the IT systems they rely on to do their jobs. That’s why they, and the firms they help manage, outsource the oversight of those systems to IT managed services providers.
But since IT can sometimes be a weak spot for the un-geeky among us, it can be challenging to accurately ascertain whether your professional services firm is being properly charged – or overcharged – for IT managed services.
If you see any of the following things happening in your relationship with your IT managed services provider, you might be paying more than you should.
1) Onsite visits occur randomly. It’s one thing if there’s a legitimate reason for your IT managed services vendor to stop by. Maybe it’s a routine visit that’s built into your service level agreement. But if onsite visits are not built into the cost and each time your vendor shows up unannounced, it’s followed by an invoice, you might be being overcharged.
2) New equipment recommendations aren’t justified. Yes, sometimes your professional services firm needs new hardware or software to ensure uptime for the system overall. Or, maybe some technological advancement has come along that will improve employee productivity. If, however, you can’t see a clear-cut business case for the purchase, it may be a sign you’re being persuaded to pay for something you really don’t need.
3) The man-hour service billing is unclear. You’re the partner in charge of overseeing the IT managed services at your professional firm. You need transparent reporting on the man-hours the firm is being charged for; not only how much time, but how the time was used. If the man-hour billing reports are vague, something’s not right.
4) You’re not sure what’s in your service bundle. Bundling IT services can be a powerful, convenient way to minimize decision-making time and reduce costs for the myriad services you need, such as antivirus, antispam, help desk services, or even third party cloud storage solutions. But if you don’t know what’s included in your bundle and what’s not, your professional services firm might be overpaying for IT managed services
5) Your service plan is outdated. By now we all know the one constant in IT is change. Even the most well-meaning of IT managed services providers can be inadvertently overcharging their clients if, after a few years of implementation – sometimes, even sooner – the service plan is out of sync with the firm’s needs. A good professional services firm is, like IT itself, constantly evolving. So too, will the firm’s IT needs inevitably change. It’s always a good idea for the partner in charge of the IT managed services relationship to review the service plan periodically to see what’s no longer needed and what gaps are being left unattended.