There’s a lot for IT managers to like about partnering with a service provider for configuration and other IT services. But what are the risks? Industry experts say the best way to ensure long-term success is to find a provider with the right mix of resources for current and future needs.
“One of the reasons third-party service providers exist is economies of scale and the efficiencies they bring,” says Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company. “A solution provider only gets paid if they successfully deliver a service. As a result, they are very focused on each customer’s needs.”
For IT managers, the process of selecting a service provider begins by first understanding that not all providers offer a full complement of services. To help ensure long-term success as needs evolve, organizations should look for candidates that can offer a wide range of capabilities. The expertise to perform hardware and software configurations is essential, as are professional onsite implementation and design services, managed services for computing and networking resources, warranty services and telecommunications management.
“IT buyers should be looking for a solution provider that can do everything,” says Beau Perna, senior manager for configuration services at CDW. “Enterprises shouldn’t have to go to one vendor for telecom and another vendor for onsite implementation and design and another vendor for configuration. Instead, they should look for somebody that can provide a turnkey, all-inclusive solution.”
Organizations should also assess each provider’s ability to deliver on its promises. A provider should have an infrastructure in place that enables it to process several thousand units for its customers on a daily basis. For example, the best providers can average nearly 4,000 configurations per day. Resources such as this can reduce the amount of time an internal IT staff spends on computer configurations from weeks down to a few days. To maximize flexibility and minimize response times, leading service providers maintain multiple configuration centers in various geographic areas, each spanning hundreds of thousands of square feet.