Five tips for a seamless transition to a new third-party IT services supplier
This article was written by Mark Walker, Business Development Director at Ubertas.
Making the move to a new IT services supplier can be a bind – but with the right processes in place, it needn’t be.
And . . . relax.
The pitching process is over.
The IT services supplier has been chosen.
The contract has been signed.
Your company’s IT infrastructure is now in the hands of bona fide experts.
Life is going to be easier from now on.
But hold on . . .
It’s now that the palpitations begin as your attention turns to the transition period itself.
Will the catastrophes commence?
Images of downtime, slip-ups and systems going offline leaving your company in the lurch are common nightmare scenarios that can plague anyone considering actually making that transition.
‘But with the right IT services supplier, the transition period needn’t be the disaster-zone you fear. . .’
There are five key areas that will ensure the transition is smooth and pain-free – strategy, communication, knowledge transfer, audit and benchmarking. That might all sound terribly ‘techie’ but, in reality, each phase helps guarantee that the move will be a successful one.
‘While the following steps can vary from supplier to supplier, the basic process should remain the same. If your IT services supplier doesn’t have such a comprehensive roadmap in place for the transition, you need to ask yourself: “Why haven’t they?”’
First, the client and services supplier sit down at a ‘kick-off’ meeting and draw up an attack plan for the transition. This project plan is the core document for the move, and should be updated as the client and the supplier progress through each transition phase. At this stage, the supplier should also create a client-specific support team, plus activate a unique customer service telephone number.
‘The support team should feature personnel whose skills and experience match your requirements – so you have a bespoke support staff tailored to your company’s exact needs.’
Talking – it’s the essential ingredient for any successful transition. After formulating the strategy for the project plan, the supplier should hold a meeting with core users, to communicate the key points of the service and make adjustments and changes to the plan based on their feedback. Once the core users are satisfied with the project plan, a communication should be sent out to all employees to give them a heads-up on the incoming change to their IT services supplier.
‘While communication is particularly important at this step, a reputable supplier should communicate throughout the entire process to ensure that you are kept in the loop every step of the way.’
3. Knowledge transfer
Now it’s time for the IT services supplier to show its mettle and know-how. It should set about capturing all relevant IT information about your company. This information should then be collated and added to the supplier’s service desk system, before a bespoke business support plan is created.
In plain English, this means that all your company’s IT information is brought together in one plan, featuring standardised guides and processes specific to your business. The supplier’s support personnel can use this to deliver the best IT support service for you and your company.
‘With this knowledge now in place, the supplier will now move on to training its support team and undertaking a quality assurance phase before the service goes live for all your employees.’
But the process isn’t over. It is essential for the supplier to keep monitoring the service in the early stages via auditing, to ensure the new procedures are working at their optimum level. The audit also offers the supplier the opportunity to sit down and examine your company’s IT structure, spotting any areas or processes that are substandard or missing before resolving said issues.
‘Once the audit has been signed offby you, the service can be updated and the process can move forward.’
The first month of the service going live is key – this is when the supplier can monitor how effective the service is and, when combined with the audit information, present the ultimate overview of your IT infrastructure and how well it is working. Any lingering issues or problems can be resolved before the finalised service is signed off.
‘While the main IT issues have now been dealt with, a reputable IT services supplier will continue monitoring how well its service is being delivered. If any new issues should arise, they will be able to offer practical solutions and advice on how to deal with them quickly and efficiently.’
Not such a nightmare after all . . .
Far from being a headache, try seeing the transition as an opportunity for your company to get its IT infrastructure in order. It’s a chance to take your company’s IT to the next level, where technical issues experienced by employees can be resolved by trained professionals. It also means your workers can focus on what’s important – doing their jobs.