Making managed services work for you – supporting your IT plans and projects

Article posted on 4th May 2017

Health and social care Corporate services Other regulated markets

Across CCGs and their member practices, it’s essential that IT systems and services run smoothly.

Underpinning much of how care is delivered, is infrastructure that runs effectively and is properly supported can help organisations provide the best patient care possible, while reducing the likelihood of potentially disastrous disruptions.

Going beyond traditional hardware break-fix and engineers on the ground, managed services have evolved to provide wide-ranging and bespoke support that helps to ensure that everything’s working the way it should. Whether organisations are looking for help with everyday tasks, need extra assistance during intensive projects or want to use the cloud to move systems off-site, managed services can act as an important addition to in-house resources.

Enough of this support used in the right way can really help CCGs and practices achieve their targets and goals, while reducing the pressures they face. Since there are so many options available, we’ve looked at some of the ways that managed services can effectively support you.

Supporting your existing teams

Managed services, by design, should support existing in-house teams and free up valuable resources so that they can focus on more pressing work, or on big digital transformation projects.

It can be hard for busy internal staff to work on both maintaining systems and implementing new schemes. That’s why it can help to take this pressure away through services such as
Managed Print Services (MPS) and Digitisation, which take a necessary function or potential project and bring in external experience to take up the day-to-day management. The increase in cloud and hosted services has also allowed for traditional services, such as telephony, to be managed by off-site experts. This allows you to fully benefit from a system without having to use your own resources to ensure upkeep, while also maintaining feature and functionality parity across a number of sites.

Managed services can additionally help you to fill potential skills gaps that may be missing in-house, and provide a route to dealing with issues that might not be in staff members’ areas of expertise. This can be as simple offering a 24/7 support service desk to provide your teams with advice, so that they can talk through the steps to get a resolution.

Through this kind of support, you can start to tackle the problems that you face in order to work towards achieving your larger targets and goals.

Effectively manage a large workforce

CCGs have to deal with vast workforces that they use for constantly changing needs. Managed services can help support organisations with this, since they provide reliable support as and when it’s required – which means that organisations can work more efficiently.

Managed services engineers are particularly useful for this, as they have the expertise to simply slot into your organisation and work on systems as soon as they’re on-site. This way of working provides you with flexibility, compared to having to hire someone full time and move them around sites and areas depending on what tasks need completing.

A large workforce can not only be difficult to organise, but can also prove problematic when it comes to rules and legislation too, as seen with the recently updated IR35 ‘off-payroll’ rules.

These changes mean that contractors who spend the majority of their time working for an organisation can be classed as their employee – which then means that the organisation will have to pay employment contributions for that contractor. Managed service engineers can again be a good way to combat this issue. As they’re employed by the company providing the managed service, their costs don’t need to be covered by the organisation using them. It’s a good option for those looking to simplify processes as much as possible, and gain extra help without too much complication.

Meeting your specific requirements

While there are lots of managed services options you can choose from and lots of providers who can deliver these services, it’s important that you find the right balance to suit your needs.

That’s why it can help to consider different things about the service you require before making a decision, such as understanding what level of system knowledge you’ll receive. While digital skills can be transferrable, there are times when only specialists can get the job done. Whether this means knowledge of a specific piece of software that needs support, or needing expertise around a particular infrastructure’s set up so it can be maintained, it’s important to know exactly what skills you’ll have to hand.

Since managed services providers who work with you are very likely to be working with sensitive information, you should look in to accreditations too. There’s a level of responsibility that comes from any agreement, so making sure that the right the accreditations are in place – like ISO standards – can give you the peace of mind that your systems are being supported while the right security standards are being adhered to.

It also helps to probe into the agreements around what will be delivered to really understand a service offering. Setting the right service level agreements (SLAs) and promised deliverables will ensure that, from the outset, you’re setting effective expectations for everyone. Whether it’s break-fix requirements, guaranteed up-time or call response times, be as clear as possible around these areas early on.

Making it work for you

Every organisation will have goals that they want to achieve, but it can be difficult to reach them. There’s always going to be tasks that have to be completed that can eat away at the time you have, and can take up in-house teams’ hours – which can then easily delay your projects.

Managed services can really help to reduce this strain and provide the additional support that you need. From cloud services to knowledgeable engineers and maintained systems, they give you the expertise to help with these major or everyday tasks. And since they come with the flexibility to scale and tailor a solution to meet your exact needs, you can get the right fit for you so that you can focus on other priorities and reach the targets that you’re aiming for, like better patient care.

By having clarity around the points listed above and making the right considerations, you can ensure that you can really make managed services work for you.

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