The importance of MSP and ITSM for your SME

Published on 28/05/2020 by Lucca Rossi and Sonia Navarrete

Today is difficult to find a company that does not depend on anything IT at all. From the family business through small and medium-sized organisations (SMEs), technology is present in all of them, even if it is only a point of sale (POS) system to allow customer payments. In this context managed service provider (MSP) software and an Information Technology Service Management  (ITSM) tools are required for successful business operations.

msp-itsm-for-your-sme

This article aims to clarify what is ITSM and its benefits for SMEs. We will also explain how to set up a successful IT service management plan and how to put it into practice, involving the different areas of the company.

What is ITSM?

ITSM comprises all the actions that must be performed by an organisation to plan, operate, control and deliver information technology services to its customers, whether internal or external.

An ITSM tool must be part of the strategic IT plan, which in turn follows the corporate strategic planning.

IT services vary from company to company, so the strategic IT plan also changes depending on the branch and size of the organisation.

However, the goal of IT service management is unique: to provide a quality information technology service in line with business strategy, anticipating company and customer needs wherever possible.

The anticipation of the company’s needs is a key point of an ITSM tool, because it allows relieving the department’s workload with unnecessary calls, thus allowing more focus and quality to the services provided.

The overload of calls is detrimental to the smooth running of IT services and should be avoided. IT management plays a key role in this task.

In other words, ITSM is a workflow of processes and actions that aim to meet the technological and information needs of a company proactively, resulting in more quality and value in the services delivered to customers.

MSP and CMDB: what they are and how they contribute to ITSM

There are some categories of programs that are essential when putting IT service management into practice, such as IT asset management software and MSP systems.

The former can, and should, be combined with the use of configuration management databases (CMDB) to make your company’s ITSM even more effective.

But what are IT asset management programs for? They take care of the inventory and lifecycle management of your company’s hardware and software assets, allowing you to control costs and track the business value of IT across the organisation.

In this way, the IT manager is able to adapt to the compliance program and manage software licenses and IT tools more easily.

To store information about these assets, it is essential to use a CMDB. This is an information repository that contains the details of all the configuration items in the IT infrastructure.

The CMDB lists all critical assets in the organisation, establishing the relationships between these components and tracking their configurations.
MSPs are usually associated with billing and customer charges, but they go far beyond that.

They remotely monitor and manage the IT infrastructure, making remote troubleshooting possible and reducing travel costs and unnecessary time expense. In addition to cost reduction, an MSP also provides more security for the company’s technology structure and improves the customer experience.

Benefits of ITSM for your company

The implementation of an ITSM tool in your company will result not only in improved quality of service delivery and customer and user experience, as previously mentioned, but also in reduced risks and operating costs. Below, we explain these advantages in more detail:

  • Improved quality of IT service delivery
    Since IT service management is based on a prior understanding of the company’s and customers’ needs, proposed solutions can directly address the most critical IT service bottlenecks. The result? More quality in the delivery of these services, which also contributes to the next item.
  • Improved customer and user satisfaction
    In addition to understanding the needs of customers, ITSM jointly establishes the criteria under which IT services must be provided between IT and users.By participating in the process of defining these criteria, customers are more satisfied with the management of the services and the results obtained.
  • Risk reduction
    ITSM provides more accurate and constant control of the most critical IT services, reducing the possibility of falls or unavailability of these services for users. By identifying priority services, IT service management avoids operational damages and work breaks that can even generate financial losses to the company.
  • Cost Reduction
    The most solid path to cost reduction is the organisation, which is the main basis for IT service management.

With ITSM, the best organisation of the IT department results in the optimisation of processes and a broader knowledge of the needs of the company and customers, enabling better decision making and, consequently, cost reduction.

Moreover, the implementation of ITSM aligns IT with corporate strategy. The IT department becomes part of the company’s planning, contributing satisfactorily to the achievement of goals and objectives defined for the entire organisation.

Steps to implement IT service management in your company

As stated at the outset, IT services vary by industry and size of organisation. Each company has different needs according to its business and strategic plan.

However, when it comes to implementing ITSM, the steps to be followed are the same in all cases, regardless of the type of organisation and the industry in which it operates:

1. Develop strategic planning

The first step before starting ITSM is to determine a strategic IT plan from the lines drawn in corporate strategic planning.

Only then can you begin to define the processes and make the decisions, together with the management, about the company’s IT services.

2. Create an IT Service List and SLAs

With the strategic IT plan in hand and, if possible, formally documented, it follows to create a catalogue of IT services.

The list should be as complete and detailed as possible, including information such as responsible persons, service levels, quality criteria and costs for each of the services described.

This catalogue serves to show services in an organised and efficient way, providing an overview of everything that is offered.

A key point in defining each of the services is the service level agreement (SLA), which must be agreed between the IT department and the corresponding client. SLAs determine the criteria a service needs to meet to be considered acceptable.

3. Incident and problem management

In technical jargon, problems are repetitions of incidents of the same nature, suggesting that the occurrence is not punctual and needs to be treated urgently.

In any case, the satisfactory solution and within the quality standards and timeframe previously defined must be contemplated in the ITSM.

A common example is the unavailability of the Internet, which, if not solved in a timely manner, can generate negative impacts on the company’s productivity and generate losses.

4. IT Project Management

IT projects are also part of the scope of IT service management. They can be requested by specific areas from specific or strategic company needs, or they can be based on a proactive action of the IT department, anticipating the occurrence of a problem or based on the objectives defined in the strategic IT plan.

Projects require effort, time and cost. Therefore, they need to be well managed in order to result in relevant improvements to the organisation and not bring more problems and unnecessary expenses.

The role of the project manager, aligned with the company and the IT area, is crucial at this stage.

5. Capacity and Availability Management

Capacity and availability management is a fundamental prerequisite for good IT service management.

Without knowing the capacity of the team, it is not possible to make a correct forecast of the fulfilment of demands or the maintenance of ongoing services, and the impact on the business can be disastrous.

The IT department must always be aware of these factors in order to provide proper ITSM.

6. Improving IT Services

The improvement of IT services is both a cause and a consequence of ITSM. The search for constant improvement of the services offered must be one of the objectives in the IT strategic plan and the good implementation of management will certainly result in improvements throughout the company.

Build your strategy

Now that you know the process of IT service management and know the benefits that its implementation can bring to your company, do not waste time.

Make sure you take the time to develop a strategic IT plan and follow up on service management.

Analyse and compare ITSM software, IT asset management and MSP systems to find those that best fit your company’s needs.

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.