When you’re ready to sit down with an IT service provider to discuss the future functionality of your IT department, chances are you have a lot of questions to discuss, such as:
As technology itself broadens and improves, chances are no one organization can hire enough people or maintain enough expertise in-house to keep up with the dynamic landscape of options that can support most of the business drivers they may have.
On the other hand, it may not make sense for smaller organizations to incur the cost of outsourcing at a particular point in their growth, due to economy of scale. When pricing is based on a per device model, those numbers can become variable. For instance, it may take the same amount of labor to provide an asset management solution for 30,000 devices as it does for 10,000; however, but when you do that math, the 30,000 device estimate is going to be more attractive on a per device basis because there's a certain threshold of labor effort utilization as required.
Best Practices for Pricing
The approach to pricing an effective IT service solution really doesn’t change with the size of an organization, provided the scope of a project is similar in nature. At Bell Techlogix, we work with our practice leaders to understand the cost structure of providing a service, then make pricing recommendations accordingly.
When it comes to best practices for developing IT solutions, a good starting point is looking at the scope of the service request and the type of business the customer is involved in.
Oftentimes, a customer is not just going to throw keys over the wall and say, "Here you go. You have our entire IT shop." They’re most likely looking to engage certain parts of an IT service provider’s profile. For example, a customer may just want to have their service desk or network engineering outsourced. In other cases, they may want to take advantage of a comprehensive lifecycle solution, from procurement through support through end of lifecycle disposal and asset management.
For as many as 70% of customers, Cloud computing and virtualization are top of mind; however, there is a subset of customers that have a large infrastructure already in place and are not interested in reinventing that wheel. Also, customers such as financial institutions, healthcare, defense contracting and associated companies will not want to take their data outside of their brick and mortar due to security reasons. They need to have that control mechanism over their infrastructure, so they're not really looking utilize the Cloud, even the private Cloud. From an industry perspective, customers often choose to outsource the service desk operations within their IT shop first, to improve the infrastructure as well as expand the expertise required to run a compliant, best practices-type of service desk. Then, proceed from there.
An IT service solution based on goal-driven service level objectives (SLAs) that must be met or exceeded is one that’s designed for customer satisfaction in terms of getting a return on investment.
If we take a look at a service desk solution, one key service level objective is ASA or average speed answer. How long does it take for an analyst to pick up the phone once a call enters the queue? It can be 30 seconds, 60 seconds, two minutes. It can be five minutes. All of these metrics would carry a different weight when it comes to the number of people on staff.
Another SLA is abandonment rate. How many times does a caller in a queue get tired of being on hold and simply hangs up? This is a key component of how we staff the service desk –and in turn, price the service- to maintain a certain level of abandonment.
When customers start to take a look at IT service providers like Bell Techlogix, they take note of the number of certified people who are trained experts in a variety of technologies, such as Bell’s Virtual Bench. This is the group of system engineers who are certified in everything from Cisco security down to Microsoft Exchange. Engaging this kind of expertise allows the customer to take advantage of a broad range of skill sets within the same number of project hours as they would spend hiring one expert in any given field of technology for one aspect of the project.
That’s what we call a great return on investment.