When you’re in the managed services business, a big part of what you do is managing large IT services projects -- or at least “large” on a relative basis. To be an effective project manager, it’s critical to break down the seemingly impossible into a series of much more digestible interim milestones.
For MSP (managed service provider) owners in Denver, they’re often helping their clients provision various types of infrastructure in areas such as cloud services, telecommunications, web hosting, or colocation.
Since this provisioning is often a relatively early step in a much larger project, it’s critical to properly plan and estimate how much time will be required.
So the question is: are MSPs allowing enough lead time in their project timelines for provisioning? And how might a shorter amount of lead time impact a project’s success?
To get answers to these questions, we turned to Pete Carstensen, Facilities and Provisioning Manager for Handy Networks.
Facilities Lead Time - Working with 2 Weeks vs. 2 Days
In your role as facilities and provisioning manager, what are some of the biggest challenges or problems that you run into when you’re ramping up new facilities on behalf of clients such as managed service providers? What are some of the big problems that you see a lot of web hosting companies and data centers like Handy Networks encounter that potential clients should be thinking about?
The biggest sticking point is the timeframe. By the time I’m aware that a decision has been made and that a client is going to come on board, the time to get a larger rack available or a larger subnetwork implemented is usually thin. We can usually operate within that. But two weeks of lead-up certainly beats two days of lead-up every time.
What’s the ideal lead time that you’d want to have?
Two weeks is usually enough lead time to get things in order even for bigger clients without scrambling.
Preparing for What’s Actually Needed
Do the problems tend to be any different you’re looking at the provisioning side of the equation as opposed to facilities?
Not insurmountable. Getting the details across during the initial sales process certainly helps us deliver something closer to what the client needs, rather than playing clean up after the fact.
The client who says, “I need a server to support my website,” and then a couple of weeks after the deal is signed, the server gets turned up and turned over to the customer -- and we find out that that now “a website” actually involves a sales portal and an off-network database utility -- things of that sort.
Again we’re happy to scramble but usually if we know beforehand, we can prepare the groundwork.
Do you own or manage an MSP-related business in the metro Denver area? How much lead time does your Denver managed services firm typically allow for provisioning?