A world class managed service really does mean every minute, every hour, every day.
Paul Tomblin, Chief Information Officer, CJC
“Every minute every hour every day." It's a lyric from "I believe in a thing called love" by The Darkness. I was indulging my passion for rock music on my morning commute and this song graced my ears. Justin Hawkins is of course talking about love, but it got me thinking about providing a managed service at CJC. After all, it is “every minute every hour every day,”or in business speak, 24x7x365.
I'm not doubting Justin’s devotion to the love of his life, but he must sleep and likely needs some recess time at the weekends. However, for managed services there is no downtime, be it Wednesday morning in Singapore, Saturday afternoon in New York, Christmas Day, or Chinese New Year. While many people will spend a holiday season with families and friends, our critical IT systems are still live and need monitoring and support. Anyone who says it's a small world has probably not tried to support it 24x7x365. It's actually a very big world. A managed service provider needs to ensure that they have the right coverage and expertise available across all time zones, every minute, every hour, every day.
Ingredients of a world class service
Aside from the logistical challenges of providing perpetual coverage, there are many other ingredients required to build a team capable of providing a world class managed service. Justin wasn’t far off the mark; love, passion and commitment to strive for exceptional service are all essential.
Excellent process to create a framework for delivering that service is needed. Good process underpins the whole proposition to ensure consistency of delivery and a team capable of working to strict Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
We diligently follow these processes and work together as a team, using our handover procedure from shift to shift to ensure continuity of service across the time zones. It allows us to meet stringent SLAs for example, or to detect and notifycustomers of problems within 15 minutes of the incident, or to escalate a severity one incident within 30 minutes, or to resolve it within 4 hours. At CJC we are proud to say we have a 100% record of meeting all our SLA targets for the last 18 consecutive months.
Meeting SLAs is incredibly important and ultimately how a Managed Service Provider (MSP) demonstrates accountability and is judged. But it should be considered the baseline. To achieve a world class service, much more is needed.
Going the extra mile
The accepted way of doing things has to be challenged, to encourage a culture of innovation and operational improvement. Technology must be used to solve problems; automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are very much at the forefront of current thinking to improve both efficiency and the accuracy of a team. An automated workflow breeds consistency in both process and results. It removes the mundane and allows a team to focus more on the customer and the technology. This allows your organisation to scale better and to grow as your customers and technology base grows. It's a vital ingredient fora modern MSP.
I've already mentioned our 15-minute KPI to detect and notify customers of issues. CJC have developed tooling that allows us to automate this workflow, using targeted alerting to issues that affect you well within that timeframe. As part of our problem management process, we are looking at ways to correlate events to understand patterns and use this knowledge to anticipate and prevent future incidents.
Clients' pain points have to be understood; what are you trying to achieve? If you have an issue, empathy is vital. To go the extra mile, the key question is “What more can be done to help?”
Expertise the differentiator
Expertise is essential to deal with the technology being supporting. This expertise cannot be rationed, and access to it is required continuously, every minute, every hour, every day. You need a team that works together to provide the best possible result, one that is capable of sharing experiences to build an excellent knowledge management platform. Expertise is a major differentiator, the X factor that sets aside the average from the outstanding.
A world class MSP has to be looking to the future, understanding where technology is heading, where clients are heading and working with them to implement and adapt to these new technologies and new challenges.
Lastly and perhaps the number one component needed is talented people who are proficient, motivated and committed to the mantra of world class service.
All these ingredients together can deliver the recipe for success. At CJC we have over 50 engineers across teams in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and New York who share this philosophy as we follow the sun and continually strive to innovate. I believe in a thing called commitment, 24x7x365.
I am not sure this would be a hit record, but it should be a hit with clients.