What are Managed Cloud Services and how to choose your provider?
If you run or finance IT operations in your organization and would like to explore the intricacies of acquiring manage...
A.P. Moller – Maersk is a multinational enterprise with multiple business lines and nearly 100,000 employees scattered around the globe. Why would they choose Predica—a much smaller organization to run and operate their critical employee identity lifecycle? Why not stick with proven, global corporations that have been doing this for years?
In this series, I have already published two articles explaining the benefits of Managed Services outsourcing model and sharing some tips on choosing the right provider:
This time, I will share my point of view based on the experience coming from a longtime collaboration with huge, multinational organization like A.P. Moller – Maersk.
I will try to point out a few of deciding factors that made them choose Predica as their managed services provider.
When we were in the RFP process with Maersk, we knew that we were up against the giants of managed service world. The problem with the giants is that they don’t always consider their customers with a high level of priority. On the other hand, organizations our size are nimble, flexible, responsive and attentive to customer needs. As it turns out, that’s the type of partner that Maersk was looking for. Not to mention, we had already proven ourselves when the NonPetya virus hit them, just two months after we signed our initial contract. The virus began to impact our service delivery, so we mobilized a team of 12 engineers working day and night to recover their services and get them up and running. None of this was within the scope of our initial engagement.
On a side note, flexibility doesn’t always amount to responsiveness. At Predica, we are also technologically flexible. The big guys tend to pitch their profit models on a specific set of technologies for years at a time. They roll out a global training plan, retool their staff, and expect to get ROI by imposing the same solution on many clients. That’s not us. In this data-driven cloud world, we pivot quickly, react instantly, train daily and tailor our approach and tools to suit the client’s emerging needs.
We’ve been working with the Maersk group for nearly a decade. I recently took a peek at Maersk’s core values and was surprised to see how much we have in common. The three biggest common values are about respecting those around you, caring for them, being accountable for our actions and having a willingness to learn. Many organizations have their values listed on their websites, but don’t always live them. Maersk does. We experienced it in our daily interactions. In hindsight, I can attest to the fact that culture fit is important not just for hiring employees but also for signing managed service providers.
Maersk decided to carve out a specialized piece of its IT infrastructure for this contract: the Identity and Access Management process. Because of the unique nature of the work, we were able to put our core competencies right to work. We are one of the top IAM Microsoft partners in Europe, with over 100 projects under our belt. There was no denying that we could compete in this specific area with any global provider.
For this engagement, we decided to assemble a dedicated core team with several Subject Matter Experts drawn on an as-needed basis. Why? Maersk is a big organization with many business units, legal entities, their specific ‘lingo’, and numerous decision makers. To get things done requires a team to be completely immersed in their environment. Doing it part-time with a rotating team would not yield the necessary results. In fact, there are so many challenges, new projects and initiatives that the core team is still not bored, even after 2.5 years of providing the service.
Since Identity and Access Management is our core competency, we were able to bring a few reusable IP components to the table. We had previously built connectors with SAP, Cisco Call Manager and Office365 license management. These, along with our know-how, directly contributed to our managed service value by quickly enabling automation and process improvements.
We did not include exit fees in our contract outside of a 3-month notice period to allow us to re-assign our team. This gives the customer the flexibility to change vendors, in-source the work, or change strategic direction without thinking about associated penalties. Our relationship is built on trust. We only deliver work that provides the value that Maersk expects. We document, automate and cross-train, and are prepared to hand over the service at any given time. This is also a useful change management approach. Employees may quit, be hired, or retire, but the quality of service should not be impacted.
As I mentioned before, Maersk is complex. Like others their size, they have a degree of uniqueness. Things like technologies, ITIL/ITSM processes (e.g. Major Incident Management), decision-making process and specific people’s workstyles require a higher degree of engagement. We even had to tailor our managed services model to their needs. Thankfully, since we had previously completed other projects with them, we already had a good feel for their expectations. As a result, we were able to start delivering value within the first 3 months of signing the contract.
Last, but not least, transparency is one of our core tenets. We always share our service KPI metrics, along with any challenges we encounter. Even during the RFP process we were honest about the need to build 70% of the team from scratch—back then we only employed 100 people. Being open about it from the start enabled us to set the right expectations. We enjoy similar transparency from the customer, which in turn enables us to improve the service instead of always guessing where the issues are.
To sum up, there were many factors in making our engagement successful. The top ones are all about trust and keeping our respective promises. I too hope that you can enjoy a similar type of business relationship with your clients.
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