When the difference is small trust your instinct

Trust is important in a managed service relationship.

You are aware your IT environment is not all it should be and it’s holding back your business. So you call in the consultants or invite a number of managed IT service providers to pitch solutions that will resolve your problems.

You and your management team sit through all the presentations, hear what can be done and understand how doing something, changing this or switching that, will make all the difference to your business.

But then when you take time to consider everything, the solutions are all slightly different and the costs are similar, what do you do? How do you decide what is right for your business?

Doing nothing is not a viable option. When the choice is complicated and the solutions presented to overcome a challenge are similar, it’s easy to suffer decision inertia, regardless of the likelihood that the outcome will be less than optimal.

Making the decision

It’s a big decision and not just in terms of cost. You will have to work with this managed service provider as your partner for three to five years. So how do you decide when there is little to choose between the solutions and you need to resolve the challenge facing your business?

There is a chance you could delay the decision of course, but the problem with IT is that if you wait another year, the problem in your business will have compounded and you’ve lost a year’s benefits delivered by the new solution.

The steering committee or management team will influence your choice, but ultimately the decision rests with you. Now your instinct becomes more important and trust is a significant factor – out of all the people who can support your business into the next phase, who do you trust the most?

Still not sure? Fortunately, there is an equation that helps define trust:

       Trust =   Credibility + reliability + intimacy

                               Self-orientation

  • Credibility – Do they know their stuff? Do they understand the challenges you face? Are their references appropriate and high quality? Are they experienced working in the legal sector?
  • Reliability – Do they deliver on their promises? Have they been around long enough? Are they stable as a business? Is their team settled?
  • Intimacy – Do I like them as a business? Do I find their people approachable and engaging?
  • Self-orientation – Possibly the most important consideration. Is the suggested solution addressing my interests or theirs? Is the solution right for my business or easiest for them to deliver? Is the offering truly client-centric?

Finally

You can see from the equation that the less the service provider is self-orientated the higher the score for trust. Which is what you’d expect. If they care more about delivering the right solution than what is easiest for them, the chances are you should trust them, and as mentioned trust is a key element in a managed service relationship.

Trusting a managed service provider you can get along with for the duration of the contract is one way to differentiate when the solutions are all close, but whatever happens, do something. Doing the same as you always have and expecting different results is not an option.