Choosing a trusted partner for any business service is an important decision, but when you are selecting suppliers to assist you with mission critical infrastructure you have to be especially careful. Your business relies on your network, and while there are numerous advantages to outsourcing management of network functions, you need to know your service standards will improve, that costs will be controlled and most of all, that the network will continue to be available whenever your business needs it.
In an increasingly globalized economy, network availability has become a 365/7x365 necessity.
The first step is to create an initial brief. This document will include a summary of your organization and the various departments, together with an outline of how the component parts of your company rely on the network and for what purposes. You will also consider why you are thinking of bringing in an external third party resource or management capability, and what you want these external resources to actually do in very specific terms.
The next step is to find those external providers with the skills and resources necessary for successful implementation of a network management service. You will want to ensure that you have identified the skills you will need from a third party to manage your network to the service standard you are looking for, and this is also where being very specific and as detailed as you can about what you want a network management partner to do will be very useful.
Once you have identified possible partners, you need to compile a short list of providers. Typically you should select a minimum of three as this is a manageable number and will not eat up too much time. This is where you will receive formal presentations to your initial brief, which may be amended through the selection process as the scope and nature of the network management services you require becomes clearer. It is at this point that you are going to be getting into the very serious questioning as to the ‘fitness’ and capability of the providers.
To this end you are going to be asking lots of questions: How much of the network management services will be outsourced by the provider themselves, or will they provide all of the management services in house? What happens in the event of network failure? What will be the agreed Service Level Agreement (SLA) standard that they are capable of maintaining and delivering? What will happen in the event of disaster and how will they be able to respond to such an incident? How will the potential partner handle knowledge and skills transfer? What are the qualifications and experience of the staff and company which will be delivering the services? Are they a good fit for your business and people – are there any personality clashes or even conflicts of interest between key personnel?
Finally, there is the decision as to who you will award the contract to. It will help you if you work out some form of a points system by which potential partners are given points for their ability to deliver services you need, on the basis you need them and how they will operate within the context of your overall business and IT department. Prior to selection, you must be satisfied that those areas you deem critical to your company can in fact be managed effectively by the supplier.
Lawrence Reaves is a strong believer in Richmond IT consultants and services such as Richmond network security consultants and Richmond virtualization consultants. For these services, Lawrence recommends PLANIT Technology Group. PLANIT Technology Group can be found online at: http://www.PLANITTech.com.