MSI, as defined by Gartner, "enables a sound basis to seamlessly integrate the end-to-end management of multiple service providers." MSI provides a single point of control and orchestration for service delivery in multi-supplier environments. Thus, the MSI service integrator is required to make sure services are aligned with the overall expectations of the customer and that all the contracted providers work together effectively.
The journey to successful MSI demands a carefully managed transition to the agreed MSI model followed by transformation of the services in scope. Transition and transformation approaches may vary among MSI integrators. We use a methodology closely aligned with the Project Management Institute's (PMI) industry-leading framework, providing a robust project structure that is flexible enough to adapt to specific business needs.
The enterprise under a microscope
The first step in an overarching MSI transition and transformation methodology is a comprehensive due diligence process, designed to understand the full scope of the MSI model being adopted, identifying key risks and setting out a plan going forward in tune with an organization's business objectives.
Due diligence helps the MSI integrator find out what is required in setting up relationships with providers and the most efficient way of transitioning them to the MSI model.
Defining roles and touchpoints
A transitional approach clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of providers and those of the organization itself, making sure they are in line with the customer's business objectives. Strong operational governance is paramount at central and regional levels to ensure end-to-end accountability for service and project deliverables.
Having a full understanding of touch points between the organization, MSI system integrator and suppliers, and how roles and responsibilities interlock, are essential to making the MSI model work efficiently. Establishing touchpoints between the MSI integrator and the suppliers is also imperative to achieve the goal of a single voice to the customer through MSI on behalf of the providers. It is also critical for the MSI integrator to provide the customer with an ongoing status of their contracts via regular, accurate reporting.
A change in culture
If an organization is new to the MSI model, they will need to manage cultural change carefully to accommodate moving from an operational to a more strategic management focus. The organization must make it clear to employees that the providers report into the MSI integrator, except at a commercial level. At the same time, the organization must allow the MSI integrator to take control on their behalf. Organizations that don't manage this cultural change and relinquish control will not get the true value from the MSI integrator they have been expecting.
A very different management landscape
Transition and transformation is a road that every organization needs to travel down in adopting MSI. One that ensures MSI is a seamless experience to the organization, once all the mechanisms have been put in place. But these processes are also, by their very nature, fluid. When an organization decides to add a new provider, for example, the cycle repeats itself.
By approaching MSI in this way, as a business model as opposed to a product offering, organizations can successfully manage their complex ecosystems.
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David Fowler has extensive project management experience in the telecommunications industry. In his current role he is leading the PM Centre of Excellence in the Global Practice for Project and Program Management, with a focus on the evolution of PM skills.
When relaxing, David plays jazz guitar, keeps fit by running and enjoys cooking.