Posts Tagged it service delivery

Secrets to Improving an I.T. Services Practice Part 6

Last time we discussed pricing and positioning of each of the four service delivery models:Businessman_08

1. Resellers/System Builders
2. Break-Fix Services Providers
3. Professional Services Providers
4. Managed Services Providers

Let’s continue the discussion and cover staffing requirements for these 4 service delivery models.

Staffing requirements
Depending upon the provider’s service delivery model, size of their and their target client’s organizations and target vertical markets and deliverables, a minimum number of staff are required that fulfill specific roles, and these may include:

  • Owners
  • Managers
  • Administrative staff
  • Technical staff
  • Marketing/sales staff
  • Other staff

Owners
As in any organization; and based upon a number of factors, service provider owners may wear many hats, or merely a few. Their basic responsibility to the organization, its stakeholders, staff and clients is to manage and maintain a profitable business concern.

Managers
The size of the organization’s management staff will be based upon the number of the organization’s staff, among other factors, and may include:

  • Operations management
  • Office management
  • HR management
  • Marketing/sales management
  • Service delivery management
  • Vendor management
  • Customer service management

Administration
Every organization, no matter how large or small requires some form of administrative support. These roles include:

  • Front office staff
  • HR staff
  • Accounting staff
  • Customer service staff

Technical staff
We wouldn’t have an I.T. organization without technical staff now, would we? For a hardware warranty services delivery practice these roles may include:

  • Service desk staff
  • Field engineers/technicians
  • Bench engineers/technicians
  • Service dispatchers

Marketing/sales staff
Although the marketing and sales roles are distinct, and in larger organizations segmented by business unit and resources, we’ll group them together for purposes of our service delivery-focused discussion.
No matter what size the service provider’s organization is, at one point or another, someone is going to have to market and sell the provider’s services.

Other staff
Additional staff that may make up the service provider’s organization may include:

  • Purchasing manager
  • Inventory manager

Technical roles and responsibilities
Each of the 4 service delivery models in this discussion will require specific technical roles, and again these will depend upon the factors mentioned previously: the provider’s service delivery model, size of their and their target client’s organizations and target vertical markets and deliverables. With this understanding, we can explore the required roles in each of the 4 models.

Resellers/System Builders and Break-Fix Services Providers
Depending upon factors previously mentioned, the reseller/system builder’s and break-fix services provider’s technical staff will fall into specific roles which may include:

  • Purchasing managers
  • Inventory managers
  • Service dispatchers
  • Service managers
  • Service desk staff
  • Bench engineers/technicians
  • Field engineers/technicians

Professional Services Providers
Depending upon factors previously mentioned, the professional services provider’s technical staff will fall into specific roles which may include:

  • Sales engineers
  • Purchasing managers
  • Project managers
  • Inventory managers
  • Bench engineers/technicians
  • Field engineers/technicians

Managed Services Providers
Depending upon factors previously mentioned, the managed services provider’s technical staff will fall into specific roles which may include:

  • Purchasing managers
  • Inventory managers
  • Service dispatchers
  • Service managers
  • Service desk staff
  • NOC staff
  • Bench engineers/technicians
  • Field engineers/technicians

Hybrid Services Providers
A hybrid services provider sells, implements and manages a variety of solutions, and these may include deliverables from multiple service delivery models. Depending upon factors previously mentioned, the hybrid services provider’s technical staff will fall into specific roles which may include:

  • Sales engineers
  • Purchasing managers
  • Inventory managers
  • Service dispatchers
  • Service managers
  • Service desk staff
  • NOC staff
  • Project managers
  • Bench engineers/technicians
  • Field engineers/technicians

Technical Role Descriptors
The following describe each of the technical roles discussed.

Sales engineer
In this context, the sales engineer is perhaps the most versatile and important role in the provider’s practice. The sales engineer participates in both the provider’s pre- and post-sales and project planning processes, and can be assigned to assist in the business needs analysis, technology assessment and solution design and specification phases of professional services delivery. All of these functions are critical to insuring smooth project delivery.

Purchasing manager
In this context, the purchasing manager participates in the provider’s service delivery process by insuring pricing and availability of hardware, software licensing and services from vendors, distributors and fulfillment partners to meet the provider’s service delivery requirements.

Inventory manager
In this context, the inventory manager participates in the provider’s service delivery process by insuring adequate inventory availability of hardware, software licensing and services from vendors, distributors and fulfillment partners to meet the provider’s service delivery requirements, and handles all returns, RMAs and credits when necessary.

Service dispatcher
In this context, the service dispatcher participates in the provider’s problem management and resolution process, and will assign resources to and schedule all onsite or bench warranty services. The service dispatcher may also be included in the provider’s escalation process and be alerted by their PSA solution should service requests become in danger of falling out of SLA.

Service dispatchers will utilize the provider’s chosen software management tools, processes and procedures to manage dispatch functions during service delivery.

Service manager
In this context, the service manager is ultimately responsible for maintaining the provider’s technical staffing levels, training and certification requirements, problem management and resolution processes and customer satisfaction by strict SLA management, among other responsibilities.

Service managers will utilize the provider’s chosen software management tools, processes and procedures to manage service delivery.

Service desk staff
In this context, the service desk staff participates in the provider’s problem management and resolution process, and can be assigned to deliver remote technical support services to end users. The service desk staff identifies, prioritizes and documents all service requests, and initiates problem management and resolution activity.
Service desk staff will execute the provider’s problem management and resolution processes as well as utilize the provider’s chosen software and hardware management and remediation tools, processes and procedures during remote service delivery.

NOC staff
In this context, the NOC (network operations center) staff participates in the provider’s problem management and resolution process, and can be assigned to deliver proactive remote patching, updating and monitoring services for devices, software applications and operating systems and services in customer environments. Whereas the provider’s service desk staff works primarily with end-user issues, the NOC staff’s main focus is on managing and delivering scheduled maintenance activities to critical devices and services and responding to alerts generated by the provider’s remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution.

The NOC staff identifies, prioritizes and documents all service activity and will execute the provider’s problem management and resolution processes as well as utilize the provider’s chosen software and hardware management and remediation tools, processes and procedures during remote service delivery.

Project manager
In this context, the project manager participates in the provider’s project planning and management process by working with the sales engineer to develop a project scope, then specify methods to be utilized during project implementation, identify all tasks to be completed during project implementation, create a timeline and expected duration for each task’s completion and estimate and allocate resources for each task’s completion.

In addition, the project manager is normally responsible for creating the risk management plan, change control process and communication and status reporting process utilized during project implementation.

Bench engineer/technician
In this context, the bench engineer/technician participates in the provider’s problem management and resolution process, and can be assigned to deliver technical support services for customer equipment brought into the provider’s facilities when necessary.

Bench engineers/technicians will utilize the provider’s hardware and software problem management and resolution processes as well as the provider’s chosen software and hardware management and remediation tools, processes and procedures during service delivery.

Field engineers/technicians
In this context, the field engineer/technician participates in the provider’s problem management and resolution process, and can be assigned to deliver services at the customer’s facilities when necessary.

Field engineers/technicians will utilize the provider’s hardware and software problem management and resolution processes as well as the provider’s chosen software and hardware management and remediation tools, processes and procedures during service delivery.

Next time: processes and procedures of the 4 service delivery models

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Erick Simpson
MSP University
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