By Mohit Bajaj

The Ultimate Guide to Managed Services

Management of information systems, CRM, managed services, IT project management, workforce planning

Managed services is the unsung hero of IT.

If you are a small team with big ideas, then you can call in the expert team of specialists to help you with the busy work of troubleshooting, so that you can work on the more strategic projects to transform your business.

Here is everything you need to know about managed services to help you get more done with an extended team of specialists. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about managed services from the start, or jump to a section that interests you below:

Managed services in a nutshell

Managed services 101

Implementing Salesforce isn’t a one-and-done process. Salesforce is a highly customisable and ever-expanding ecosystem that evolves alongside your business. Relying on a single internal employee, let alone a small team, to satisfy all your CRM and Salesforce needs is like asking a lone soccer player to take on Barcelona in the World Cup final. If put in that position, you should never be expected to come out on top. 

Which is where Simplus Managed Services come in. Contrary to common assumption, managed services isn’t merely a hotline to Salesforce tech support. Simplus Managed Services is a dedicated team that operates as an extension of your organisation – as partners, guides, troubleshooters, strategists and innovators. 

When you partner with managed services, you are granted unfettered access to a flexible superteam that evolves along with your business needs, freeing up time, resources and people power better suited to higher-value concerns. This is a team with the deepest level of specialist Salesforce expertise that functions to ensure you are getting the most out of Salesforce ecosystem customisations and innovations. 

In other words, Simplus Managed Services exists to make the digital arm of your business as strong as it can be.

How can managed services help my business?

While what Simplus Managed Services offers your business is extensive, understanding how it can help is best introduced by the three pillars that make us different:

Backlog assessment

As you’re no doubt well aware, operational backlogs are a very real hurdle to progress. We specialise in clearing backlogs by assessing and prioritising the right work at the right time, so that you and your teams can function with increased efficiency and refined focus. 

Looking forward

It’s not all about clearing the clutter and freeing up time and resources. We partner with you to sit down, analyse all strategic priorities from A-Z, and work together to create a roadmap for all future outcomes. Plus, we specialise in upskilling your team and facilitating increased organisational Salesforce expertise – internally.

Evolving alongside you

But of course any roadmap can veer off in a variety of directions as time goes on, no matter how trained up your team. What works today might need a rethink tomorrow, utilising new innovations. Access to our technical expertise and application management best practices means that as your Salesforce needs and capabilities evolve, so too does our partnership. And we know exactly when to guide you from basic to intermediate to advanced CRM management. 

Basic to intermediate to advanced in a nutshell

The complexity and expansiveness of the Salesforce ecosystem allows for deeper customisation as your business evolves. Basic level managed services means we oversee all IT ticketing and platform troubleshooting. Intermediate level means we can facilitate small-scale IT project management. Advanced level means we custom-build or help implement major integration projects. 

And within and beyond those three generalised levels of capability, there are a slew of specific services we are delighted to offer. 

And we offer it all with maximum flexibility

Every business is unique and therefore has unique demands – needs that are always shifting and reshaping according to where you are in your digital transformation journey. Simplus’ flex-utilisation model means that costing is scaled according to your ever-changing business activity. 

Similarly, sometimes a sudden influx of growth requires additional people power. Our bottomless pool of skilled professionals is always on hand to meet spikes in service demand. And thanks to our service threshold, unless contact hours are exceeded for more than three consecutive months, you accrue no additional costs. 

You’ve got the gist, now it’s time for the nitty gritty

Now that you have an overview of what Simplus Managed Services can do for you, it’s time to break it all down into specifics, so that you can know exactly how we can bolster your business and elevate your digital presence in such a vast cross-section of ways.

3 questions to ask your Managed Services provider

Let’s explore how managed services can add value to your business – from filling skills gaps to helping with bandwidth. To maximise your Salesforce investment you need a team who understands all the complexities that come with a multi-cloud platform.

These are the questions you should be asking to determine whether a CRM managed services team is right for your business.

How will your Simplus Managed Services team work with my internal team?

There are many concerns when a new team starts using a new service, and Salesforce is no exception to the rule. Thankfully, you can tap into years of experience and avoid steep infrastructure costs by using managed services.

When outsourcing specialised skills and experience you want to know they will work efficiently with your internal team. What you don’t want is a partnership that feels like you’re logging a ticket that goes into a queue and whoever is available will deal with your request. Not only do you possibly get a different technical consultant every time, but they have limited context of your organisation and your business goals.

What you want to look for is a managed services provider who assigns named individuals to your contract that stay the same the entire length of service. Your managed services team should feel like an extension of your internal staff, building camaraderie and understanding of your business needs and initiatives over time.

What kind of operational guidance do your Simplus Managed Services provide?

While teamwork is a key component to a successful partnership, organisations should also find a provider who can offer guidance beyond technical support.

One of the first things you want managed services teams to do is establish operational best practices. This involves helping organisations understand how they should document governance, who is authorised to make technical changes and decisions, how to internally communicate feature releases and many other operational practices.

A Salesforce managed services provider who is focused on making your organisation better at operating can add more value to your business than a provider whose model is based on supplying ‘X’ amount of hours. And being able to recognise a well-oiled machine is also important. Your chosen provider should be able to merge into any existing processes.

How flexible is your CRM managed services team?

Every business has peaks and troughs in demands that you can’t predict. Employee turnover can mean a sudden loss of experience from your team or there may be a critical incident where you need talent to help fix something. By having a flexible managed services provider who can respond to changes in business demands, means you can rest easy and not worry about how your technology will keep running or how it’s going to affect your bottom line.

At Simplus, the structure of our team allows us to be flexible with hours month by month and focus on the average number of hours consumed over the contract lifecycle. Our flexible utilisation model allows for unused hours to be banked or rolled over, along with the ability to decrease the next month so there’s no penalisation for a spike in need.

No matter at what point you’re at in your digital transformation journey, you want a managed services provider to offer a flexible model that also solves enough problems to add value to your business.

To take your Salesforce efforts to the next level, you need a managed services provider with a clear plan for success. One that is focused on end-user productivity, personalised and flexible service and a laser focus on operational excellence. And all of this is provided with predictable, fixed monthly fees. If you have a managed services provider that does all this, then you have found the right managed services provider for you.

Need a boost to your team? Skills gap? No bandwidth?

Now more than ever, businesses need to stay ahead of technology trends. But being a leader can come at a cost. New technology can be expensive to maintain, sometimes requiring talent that’s limited, in-demand and comes with a high price tag.

And because businesses don’t have unlimited funds, more companies are adopting Simplus Salesforce managed services as a critical mechanism to remain competitive in their industry.

Salesforce solutions are expanding

By 2025, the global managed services market value is expected to reach USD 356.24 billion – a 55% increase over the next five years. Asia-Pacific is leading the charge with many organisations moving from traditional business models to cloud-based infrastructure. 

Companies of all sizes are now engaging Salesforce managed services. SMBs caught up in the daily grind are turning to managed services to help them evolve. Major enterprises needing the equivalent of 10 or more full-time employees to get through everything are being supported by managed services. 

For Simplus customer SA Health, it was clear a robust support arrangement was necessary when their internal IT department was unable to manage their Salesforce CRMs. So in came CRM managed services. 

No matter the reason, CRM managed services can add value to your business and here is why. 

Lacking Salesforce knowledge, Simplus managed services fills that gap too

If you don’t have a solid understanding of how your CRM works when you implement it, that’s a good indication you need CRM managed services.

Think of it as a stopgap measure until you have built up your centre of excellence and are self-sufficient. At Simplus, we like to set our customers up for long-term success, so our strategy might be for you to engage our managed services for one year until you get your legs under your Salesforce operations. 

Even further, Salesforce is more than just a CRM, with a range of products and industry-specific solutions across multiple cloud solutions, it is important to ensure your implementation partner can seamlessly weave the products together to create a customised solution for your business.

Salesforce managed services help streamline workflow

No matter the activity, you can always get more value out of a system with the right people working on the right tasks. Managed services can take pressure off internal resources by overseeing simpler tasks to free teams and individuals up to concentrate on high-value activities. 

For example, one business had their CEO as their Salesforce administrator – obviously not a great use of his time. By using our managed services, the CEO’s time was freed up to focus on strategic ideas, and we were there to help him and his company build on those once ready.  

The opposite also runs true – if you have an infrequent need for highly specific skills, you might have your internal team focus on general tasks and your managed services resources take care of strategic activities.  

How to find the right Salesforce managed service for your business 

CRM managed services should be designed to add value to your business and be an extension of your company. With only 51% of managed service providers describing their primary role as a mix between technical and business responsibilities, it’s essential to look for a provider who helps you establish operational best practices and not just tech support.  

You can’t predict what’s going to happen in your business – there may be some months you need more support than others, and you don’t want to be penalised for hours that aren’t used or racking up additional charges. 

For Evlynn Hayes from SA Health, Simplus’ flex utilisation model gives her the flexibility she needs to keep operations rolling. 

“Having a regular team that understands our business needs means I’m completely supported in the management and system administration of the various Salesforce systems under my portfolio. With the hours rolling over each month, I have increased flexibility and the option for additional skills if and when required,” says Evlynn.  

No matter what point you’re at on your Salesforce journey, CRM managed services can add value.

How can businesses find flexible solutions that bridge skill and labour gaps?

With a growing labour shortage in Australia, a managed services solution can help businesses bridge the gap and eliminate the risk of being left without the skills they need to keep the business moving.

In addition to reducing this key person dependency, there are strong strategic reasons for businesses to evaluate the possibility of engaging a managed service as part of their IT team.

Simplus Salesforce managed services can fill a skills gap 

Skill gaps are one of the modern realities of being part of today’s work environment. In fact, 79% of IT leaders say acquiring new tech talent has never been harder, particularly in Australia, where the talent pool is limited. Here the most experienced Salesforce developers, administrators and architects are so high in-demand they can pick and choose the most exciting projects and name their price. And if you do manage to nab a great Salesforce expert, they may only be experienced in one particular area, still leaving you with a knowledge gap. 

Today, CRM managed services are filling this gap. The flexibility of managed services means you can get access to the right skills at the times you need them. Whether that’s a BAU technical support contract or 40 hours of manpower to clear a backlog of work.

How CRM managed services can fill a skills gap 

Firstly, the range of talent and experience a business can access through a managed services partner naturally exceeds that which an additional full-time employee or two can deliver. Having a range of specialised skills and experience – a tech talent pool – at your fingertips can be critically important in not only dealing with the day-to-day but also contributing to strategic projects. 

Secondly, it ensures the internal team is spending time on the right things. A team that’s 100% internal will work across a whole range of tasks on a continual basis, and often you see $150,000-a-year employees engaged in those standard day-to-day tasks simply because they need doing. 

By bringing in a managed services partner to be part of that team, those tasks can be delegated, leaving the in-house team to work more holistically with the business on a strategic level. 

Thirdly, it ensures consistency. This feeds back into that reduction in key person dependency, and it’s a hugely important factor. As a CEO or business leader, you need your tech and IT function operating consistently well on a day-to-day basis. You need the team to be innovating and helping the business evolve; working with the rest of the senior team to drive change. 

Having a managed services team involved can not only inform that change but also ensure that, whatever happens personnel-wise internally, you have a safety net – a team that knows what’s going on and why; a team that can plug the gaps, if need be. 

One Simplus customer, Evlynn Hayes from SA Health, said in a recent webinar that she knows “managed services have got her back”. The true value of that only becomes apparent when you don’t have it.

The power of micro-projects powered by managed services

Keeping your business innovating during and after disruption is not always the easiest thing to do – especially if funds and resources are tight. In response to this, we created our CRM Managed Services micro-project offering to allow businesses to deliver smaller pieces of innovation that continue to add business value and growth.

We know continuing digital transformations will prepare businesses for a post-pandemic world, but what you might not know is what exactly is a micro-project. We know you’re short on time, so we’ve explained it in less than 500 words.

What is a CRM Managed Services micro-project?

In the simplest terms, it’s any enhancements within your Managed Services offering that isn’t classified as “support”. 

In the past, Managed Service providers were brought on board to offer technical support, such as break fixes and assisting in stabilising the org. But as a company’s Salesforce org matures, this “support” service becomes less of a need. And while this sounds like the moment a company would reduce their Managed Services contract hours, this is actually where the true value of Managed Services kicks in. 

Less time spent on support means more scope for enhancements and the flexibility to work towards a strategic goal that supports the business. 

CRM Managed Services micro-projects are more than support

Like all technologies, your Salesforce org can’t remain static and only serviced when something breaks – it needs to be continually enhanced. Companies working with our Managed Services team have become more strategic and considered in their utilisation of their Salesforce org because the Managed Services team understands their business inside out. 

For example, when Salesforce releases their seasonal updates, Managed Services can deep-dive into the release notes and advise how they specifically apply to your organisation. The last thing you want is your business to fall short on getting the most out of your Salesforce platform because you don’t have the technical expertise to understand the release notes. 

CRM Managed Services micro-projects help you create fast digital solutions

When a government department wanted to react faster with their messaging during COVID-19, they turned to our Managed Services team for a digital solution. 

With our micro-project offering and deep knowledge of the customer, we leveraged their content on their website and developed a go-live digital solution in a week. We were also able to keep approval processes in place by building it into the content management system, resulting in a nominated authority approving and publishing website content and comments in real-time.     

CRM Managed Service micro-projects help you utilise your contact hours 

Companies need support hours to keep their Salesforce instances running efficiently as possible, but when there are no tickets being created, those hours can potentially go to waste. 

Embarking on a micro-project allows you to utilise those hours and focus on enhancements that have been identified through a health check. And if you have already reached those hours you can easily request a change of contract or purchase additional hours.  

Other benefits of CRM Managed Services 

In addition to the above, Managed Services and micro-projects also offer:

  • Full visibility of cases through a dashboard that allows businesses to respond and update their system in real-time. 
  • A health check of your Salesforce org that looks at the code coverage to identify appropriate enhancements.
  • A road map for enhancements required for your organisation each month.

Riding the new wave of remote work

Pre-COVID, there was still a fundamental belief in many Australian businesses that employees needed to be working in the same country or the same city – if not the same building!

The global pandemic has changed things significantly in this regard. Very few people are working full-time from the office – we’ve all grown accustomed to meeting via Zoom or Teams, and working very collaboratively from a remote location.

Extension of your remote working team 

Now that remote work is commonplace, bringing in Simplus Managed Services as an extension of your team is now more seamless than ever. That’s especially true because our solution comes with named, dedicated team members – you won’t be dealing with a different person every time. Instead, you’ll be able to call on familiar faces who already know your business.

Ultimately, for many businesses, it makes economic sense – you’re not carrying excess salary in case you need it. From a talent perspective, you’ve got access to a much wider pool that you can bring in as and when the business needs it. 

You’ve got the consistency of people and knowledge. And you’ve got a partner who’s got your back. 

In a world that’s suffering from a short-term labour shortage and a long-term skills shortage, that’s an incredibly valuable asset to have.

Contact us to start your project journey!

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