What I Would Do If I Were Hired as an IT Operations Manager

This article is a waste of time.

That is, unless fixing the Service Delivery Issues at your MSP feels like pushing a boulder up a hill – only to have it roll backwards, crushing you and your Customers along the way.

If that feels familiar, read on…

MSP Service Delivery Management Roles & Why Their Differences Matter

Operations management is an area of management concerned with designing and controlling the process of production and redesigning business operations.

-Source: Wikipedia

“What is the difference between Service Delivery Management positions and why does it matter?  Isn’t it less important what the title is, or what their responsibilities are than who they are and what they bring to the Team?”

With 33 years’ experience managing Techs and Engineers, these statements have caused more confusion and chaos than I can stand.

Just today I was looking at an MSP’s Service Manager dashboard and it was tracking Open Tickets like a Service Coordinator should be, and not one performance widget in sight. Many times, as we start our engagement process, we ask an MSP to walk us through their Intake or Service Delivery process, and they flounder to think like an Operations Manager.

We started this series a few weeks ago talking about the difference between Service Coordinator responsibilities and the Service Manager vs an Ops Manager. And don’t even get me started on the role of an Owner.

Bottom line: It is extremely important to know what roles you need in order to optimize Service Delivery Operations.

You need someone:

  • Shepherding all open tickets from New to Complete – Service Coordinator
  • Focused on performance and continuous improvement – both of the Company and the individual Team members – Service Manager
  • Bringing in the bacon – Sales Personnel
  • Keeping the projects on time and on budget – Project Manager

And according to Deming, you need someone who fully understands the operational processes, as 85% of the Service Delivery Issues are caused by PROCESS not PEOPLE – Operations Manager



At Some MSPs, One Person Takes on Many Roles

Now, I am the first to admit in this Industry, depending on the size of the organization, all of these roles may be the same person. But as I am learning from reading Clockwork by Mike M. and following the Visionary CEO Academy, we still need to carve out time for each of these roles and spend a proportion of time weekly performing each of these functions.

For some MSPs, the person in the middle spends their time thinking of either Processes or Performance, with very little balance. And at most MSPs, the person struggles with both, mostly due to the lack of training. Please remember, most Service Delivery Managers are great Techs that have been promoted into the Management position.

So, what is the solution?  As we know, according to Paul Dipple, there is no MSP Leadership Training available. We are here to change that, and as far as the Operations Manager is concerned, read on…

Operations Manager: Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations.

If I were hired as an Operations Manager, I would immediately do two things simultaneously:

#1- Journey Map the process the Customer experiences as their requests flow from New to Complete, and…

#2- Before completing the map, focus on fixing the intake processes.

How do you know you have an intake problem? Put on the Service Manager hat and set up the SLA Automation.  The SLA Performance report will very quickly show that the reason no one knows what to work on next is because the request has not been properly triaged – which means no one in the Company really knows what the Customer wants.

Or you could simply trust us that we know what we are talking about, having worked with over 40 MSPs and counting from around the world.

As part of fixing the Intake process and leveraging what Journey Mapping the Customers experience is revealing, I would recognize that not all Customer requests are created equal.

Look for ways to segment the requests into different workflows and then spend time creating an SOP for each workflow.

Next (#3), I would focus on your Customer Communication Protocols and what it is going to take to get the Techs to embrace Real-Time Time Entry.

Now at first glance, these seem to be two different things. But what we are finding as we coach MSPs on how to Resolve their Service Delivery Issues is that if the Techs are not doing Real-Time Time Entry, then the Customer Communication Protocol is not being followed.

The result? Service Delivery becomes chaos because no one knows what anyone is working on. That includes Management, Co-Workers, and Customers – this is not a good place to be and it’s definitely not delivering Superior Service to the Customer (just saying).

So, once all the Types of Requests are Journey Mapped into significant workflows each with their own SOP & SLA, the Intake process is fixed, and the Customer Communication is working properly, what is left?

Well, KCS will save an MSP 20% of the Cost of Supporting Managed Service Agreements. That seems to be a cause worthwhile and would probably justify your paycheck for the next two years as that is how long it takes to roll out a KCS program.

After that, don’t worry…we are here for you. We will dream up (or learn from our experience of working with MSPs from around the world) other Service Delivery Operational processes that need to be fixed.

How do we know? Because we have 22+ years of MSP Service Delivery Coordinator/Manager experience on staff, and 17+ years Autotask System Administration experience. Which is another way of saying we have been there and done that, and we know how to leverage the Autotask software to Resolve Service Delivery Issues. 

Steve Buyze | Better Times

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