From a finance and accounting outsourcing perspective or IT applications perspective, when clients or prospects are thinking about outsourcing, two things should be considered.
First, we want our clients to focus on their products and their services–selling what they do best. When you're thinking about outsourcing, you need to see where you are in your business continuum. Mazars brings the quality and consistency you need to all your finance functions, from business processes to accounting, payroll and more. We also offer premium managed services for IT applications and managed security services.
Second, a key factor is ensuring that the right support system is in place. Understanding that the managed service is one of your support systems and supporting it in the right way internally will lead to a successful future outcome.
From an HR perspective, an organization needs to understand on which high-level priorities its resources need to focus. Organizations are constantly changing strategies and priorities and don't always have the required resources. Outsourcing some of your smaller, more repeatable tasks to a managed service provider will allow your full-time permanent resources to free up time to focus on what's important to the organization and drive the most value.
With outsourcing, clients are trying to achieve a specific business outcome. From a security perspective, we often hear from clients about their challenges delivering that business outcome, of protecting the organization on a consistent, continuous basis with a security operations staff.
However, this is just one component of the equation. Along with the desired business outcome is the need to protect the organization and its people, technology, and business processes. A managed security service partner can provide consistent delivery to help achieve that protection.
A company doesn’t want its IT staff necessarily focused on day-to-day tasks and ignoring the more strategic aspects needed to drive the business forward. Also, on the security side, there’s the possibility of knowledge flight.
Whether you're a relatively small shop or a big shop, Mazars recent2022managed services study shows that about 90% of companies have a cloud gap or some other technology gap in their skill set. When considering IT managed services, you must take all of your processes into account. There could be portions of your IT infrastructure you can't manage simply because it's not in your skill set, or you have trouble retaining the right people. You can handle components of IT but not necessarily all of it, mitigating risk of knowledge flight in that way.
We prefer an extensive and phased onboarding process–monthly or quarterly, say – documenting the current state of financial processes and not simply diving in, figuring out problems and mandating solutions.
Another element of outsourcing is whether your company has a needed test function. Consider whether you conduct a review or an audit for outside investors or a bank throughout this process of planning and documentation.
From our perspective, we don't want to just take on the most rote and simple processes that you either don't have the bandwidth for or don't want to do. We want to get increasingly involved from a business functionality perspective. Our people are managing and owning relationships with clients, becoming embedded into their businesses, and partnering with them to understand what's happening internally and provide valuable insights into a particular industry or sector, including intelligence about competitors.
Once you’re considering engaging a managed services provider, start documenting and scripting your standard operating procedures. We would be the front line of contact about a lot of the services we'd be providing for you. You’d need to make sure that that's documented. A lot of smaller organizations may not have this type of document. Awareness of a relationship with a managed services provider may exist only in concentrated pockets within the organization.
You’ll also need to create a structure that's going to support this kind of support model. We’re going to be providing your level one and level two responses. But when an issue needs an internal subject matter expert at level three or level four or higher, we're going to lean on your organization to provide those levels of resources to be able to assist.
One final consideration: Engaging a managed services provider will generate a large amount of data, data that you didn’t have access to before. It will be important to monitor that data and use it to continuously improve your processes and ensure that your clients and employees get their questions or inquiries answered quickly and effectively.
Interested in learning more? Check out Insights to Action: Managed Services Guide for a deeper look.