We’re experiencing a prolonged period of change. The market is seeing a shift in the demands on business leaders, both in terms of delivery and customer expectation. Harnessing innovative technologies is therefore paramount to the success of leaders and their companies. However, to successfully innovate you need a partner you can trust, and there are significant implications to the way companies work with strategic partners, their people and core processes.  

To avoid being left behind in the digital dust, leaders need to address priority challenges such as:  

  • Optimising costs is key to enabling businesses to be more effective with the budgets at their disposal. According to Deloitte’s Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey, over 83% of those surveyed put cost optimisation as the NUMBER 1 priority. Successfully optimising costs is imperative for businesses, as releasing budget enables you to drive the benefits from true innovation and enhance your bottom line 
  • According to Forbes, many companies have the desire to innovate but don’t have the foundations to build upon nor the budgets to do so (hence cost optimisation being a number 1 priority). Many companies are caught in the crossfire of trying to innovate without the right foundations, budget or capability to be successful 
  • Even when budgets have been freed up and processes are put in place, there are more obstacles to overcome – talent. The great resignation may be over but a company’s ability to attract and retain the best talent with expertise in the latest innovative technologies is very much a problem identified by over 80% of businesses, as reported by People Management 

Managed services as a key enabler 

Many leaders have targeted managed services as a key enabler and a springboard to overcoming the challenges outlined above. However, some are reporting roadblocks on their journey due to building from unstable foundations. Without a solid base, businesses will struggle to accelerate innovation and control costs.  

The voice of the market is clearly calling this out:  

  1. Deloitte’s 2023 whitepaper shows how next generation managed service providers deliver efficiencies and become trusted partners, helping to solve the problems faced with implementing cutting-edge technologies 
  2. Gartner’s community poll shows one of the biggest benefits to managed services is cost savings. If cost optimisation is a key objective, then managed services has a vital role to play in achieving that goal 

Managed services are the foundations of a successful digital journey. But what does an optimal managed service look like and what elements are imperative to ensure cost reduction, talent attraction and innovation? 

Important elements to consider within your managed service framework 

To meet the demands of an ever-changing environment, it’s important to concentrate on those areas that will really have an impact on your business. Managed services are complex in terms of service offerings, and depth and breadth of technologies – it is easy to lose focus on what will accelerate your business. 

Having a framework that concentrates on delivering value through people, process and technology will help you stay focused on your business success.    

When working with a managed service provider within a flexible service model, there are certain elements to consider when building a solid foundation, accelerating innovation and controlling costs, such as: 


Time and again we have encountered customers that are engaged with managed service providers that are failing to realise success.  It is vital that innovation is baked into the service with clear processes and agreed ways to measure and fund its acceleration. Innovation should not be restricted to the boundaries of managed services. It is important to focus on value led innovation and not technology alone, to streamline your operations, increase productivity and unlock new levels of efficiency. 


AI has exploded with the advent of ChatGPT and Generative AI, but the reality is managed service providers have been using AI for some time now; streamlining managed services to save time and cost, as well as improve user experience.  Taking advantage of automations, data and AI will reduce costs and deliver real-time information on service performance. 


Security is not an add on, it is intrinsic in everything a managed service provider does, from design through to daily delivery. Where specialist security requirements need to be met, experts should be used to bolster your security for robust compliance. Settling on a provider with simple bolt on SOC services has the potential to be very costly in the long run, and certainly increases risk unnecessarily.  


Partnering with a managed services provider with strong environmental and sustainability credentials (ISO14001) and clear net zero emissions targets is vital. However more can be done; have you considered the emissions from the services you’re consuming? Having a pro-active partner that dynamically reduces your environmental impact while boosting your stakeholder appeal, efficiency and profit is vital. 

Performance indicators that matter 

Focusing on service level agreement (SLA) achievement alone, will create the ‘watermelon’ effect where everything is green on the outside according to the SLA dashboard, but red on the inside in terms of user experiences and real business value.  Embracing change that will impact your specific business outcomes is absolutely vital; settling on SLAs as the only performance indicator will likely lead to a dissatisfied business. 


Standing still is not an option. Service delivery to your customers (internal and external) will become progressively less valuable and ineffective unless you continually evolve and adapt to shifting landscapes. Embracing evolution to underpin service delivery is critical to maintaining your market position and staying ahead of your competitors. All aspects of a managed service need to continually evolve, from day-to-day services, the cost base, the provider’s framework, partnership and cultural alignment, to digital experiences.  


As alluded to above, managed services truly are the foundation of any successful digital journey. Organisations must choose wisely based on their unique needs, balancing cost, talent attraction, and innovation. Whether you build an in-house team or partner with an MSP (or create a hybrid solution), the goal remains the same: drive business growth through efficient and strategic IT management, break free from any technical debt and outrun your competition with a modern infrastructure. Invest in your future, not the past. 

Version 1 has re-imagined managed services to resolve the problems our customers face. We expect our customers to aspire for more when it comes to managed services.  Our relentless drive for exceeding expectations and unrelenting focus on your business success helps alleviate key problems and excite your end users with better experiences. 

Learn more about our ASPIRE Managed Services or contact us to realise operational excellence.  

About the Author – Marcus Cox

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Marcus Cox is the Head of ASPIRE Managed Service offerings, and with a laser focus on business outcomes, he ensures our ASPIRE Managed Services align with industry best practices and meet the unique needs of each customer. Marcus has extensive experience in managing complex technology environments, optimising architectures, and driving operational efficiency. His expertise spans a diverse range of technologies and service delivery models. He is committed to fostering strong client relationships and continuously improving our ASPIRE service offerings.