Using Managed Services To Unlock Value For Businesses: Part 3 – Validating, Sustaining, And Expanding Managed Services For The Future

Ankura Consulting Group LLC


Ankura Consulting Group, LLC is an independent global expert services and advisory firm that delivers end-to-end solutions to help clients at critical inflection points related to conflict, crisis, performance, risk, strategy, and transformation. Ankura consists of more than 1,800 professionals and has served 3,000+ clients across 55 countries. Collaborative lateral thinking, hard-earned experience, and multidisciplinary capabilities drive results and Ankura is unrivalled in its ability to assist clients to Protect, Create, and Recover Value. For more information, please visit,
In the first portions of this series, we dug into the success factors that need to be considered when deciding to embark on a journey into managed services...
United States Corporate/Commercial Law
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In the first portions of this series, we dug into the success factors that need to be considered when deciding to embark on a journey into managed services and then some of the key focus areas that need to be included in the program to help ensure success. In this final installment, we are diving into monitoring and ensuring that expected and actual results are aligned. Then, looking beyond initial success, we will also explore the steps an organization can take to help its managed services partnerships continue and thrive into the future.

There are several areas that the implementation program team will need to develop, and company leaders will need to closely monitor, as the managed services efforts are first utilized and then expanded over time. It is recommended that a "stabilization" period of many weeks (for simpler processes) or many months (for more complicated areas) be observed before the company truly considers a process to be transitioned to the new managed services model. But, during and after the stabilization period, leadership should focus on some critical areas.

Three Essential Points to Validating/Expanding Success in Your Managed Services Journey

1. Include "Customer Satisfaction" as a Critical SLA

No matter how it is measured (from after-ticket rating scales, periodic surveys of stakeholders, audits of call recordings, etc.) there should be an effort to measure if the managed services group is not simply hitting service level agreements (SLAs) but doing so in a way that satisfies stakeholders. Appropriate objectivity (and probably a grain of salt) will need to be applied – especially as the group first takes over processes formerly held by co-workers. However, capturing these types of qualitative information – alongside the quantitative metrics – and then dissecting them with the managed services leaders, will greatly enhance the chances of a solid, long-term partnership relationship.

2. Focus on Long-Term Employee Retention/Engagement

The retained subject matter experts in the company, who were not displaced by any kind of organizational changes during the transition, will likely be the single best sources of judgment of quality for the more complicated work tasks that are now being done by the managed services teams; and the best referees to help sort out any differences of opinion, etc. They are the field sergeants who command the respect of the staff and can provide leadership with true feedback. Their retention – not just in keeping them from leaving the firm, but also in keeping them actively/positively engaged in helping to make the managed services succeed – should be a key focus of leadership.

3. Institutionalize Managed Services into Organizational/Work Planning

This encompasses several distinct aspects and will require much monitoring and reinforcement to help keep organizations from slipping back into old ways of doing things. After successfully making the initial transition to managed services, there is still a broad continuum of possible long-term results - ranging from 'good enough' to 'truly amazing' - that a company may see from its efforts. Effectively institutionalizing a managed services model and integrating it into the overall operations of a firm can help tip the scales towards the latter. Frequently this can involve setting up what is often called a Service Integration Management Office (SIAM) as the long-term owner who is accountable for managed services success. To help institutionalize a managed services capability, leaders can focus on:

  • Hiring Processes: Safety checks should be built into the process for hiring new employees or adding independent contractors to question the focus of the new staff members. Are they being added to address work needs that should actually be handled by the managed services groups? HR should engage the SIAM (or similar group) to help them make that determination.
  • Relationship Management: Whether the managed services are provided by an external vendor or a separate, internal group, there needs to be a focus on maintaining working relationships between team members on both sides - beyond the normal contractual/SLA focus that is most often associated with vendor management. These relationships enable trust by staff and their accompanying back-channel communications can help carry early warnings of potential troubles before they might show up in SLAs.
  • Enablement/Encouragement of Innovation: As with a good consulting partner, the business must expend effort over time to make sure the managed services group "gets them" as they are today – both their strengths and flaws - and then also evolves with them over time. This tight coupling can enable innovation from both sides if it is encouraged. The business staff are relieved of their non-core activities by the managed services team, allowing them to narrow their focus and innovate on the pieces thatmake up their core functions. Likewise, the managed services team has a narrow focus, plus the benefits of their SLAs/metrics, allowing them to continuously tune their operations. As an example of mutual innovation, many managed services vendors are partnering with their clients to push hard into automation and machine learning technologies – splitting the realized benefits between both organizations.

Conclusion – It Really CAN Be Worth It!

The focus of this series has been on helping organizations accurately assess their ability to journey into managed services and avoid some of the numerous potential pitfalls, but it is not intended to paint managed services in a negative light. Absolutely, the transition to a managed services model is a difficult one for even the strongest companies – but the benefits of a thoughtfully planned, executed, and supported effort can create a much more agile and focused core company that can better innovate in their area of the marketplace!

Likewise, the managed services partner can create innovations of their own and bring continued efficiencies and insights to the business – extending far beyond the initial scope of work. If the arduous work to align cultures and build working relationships - beyond just SLAs - is done, the managed services teams will have perspective and business intelligence to bring much more value to the organization.

A good analogy for a truly successful managed services partnership might be the iPad. A device that many people were very dubious of when it first rolled out – wondering if it would wind up being the classic "half-duck, half-fish" (or in that case half-mobile device, half-computer) – something that could not swim or fly very well. Instead, they found it addressed needs they did not even know they had and demonstrated benefits that simply were not covered between their existing computers and smartphones. Apple had carefully analyzed how people used their current devices and, through focus and innovation, brought them a solution they did not even know they needed. A great managed services partner is similar - integrated and enabled to the point where they understand the business stakeholders and their needs so well that they can innovate and then bring iPad-like solutions (automation, changes in process, insights/analytics, etc.) that the business does not even know they needed... until they were given to them.

For a comprehensive look at our managed services series, Using Managed Services to Unlock Value for Businesses, check out Part 1 "Understanding if It Is the Right Time To Embark on a Managed Services Journey" and Part 2 "Key Focus Areas of Planning and Organization to Improve Managed Services Success."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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