What’s It Like To Be an Accent All-Inclusive Managed IT Services Client?
Making the move to a different managed IT services provider can take a leap of faith. While you’re sure that you want and need everything that the new provider offers, getting started with a new vendor is unknown territory.
As you go from one managed services provider (MSP) to another, how the new provider delivers services may differ from what you’re used to. So how can you really know what you’re going to get?
The answer is to understand the MSP’s approach to IT and cyber security management. One way you can do that is to picture what service delivery will look like for your users and for the person who will be the primary point of contact with the MSP. That’s what we’re going to do in this article.
- Proactive and Reactive Services Woven Together
- Managed IT Services from Two Perspectives
- Living Out Our Vision and Purpose
Let's dive in.
Proactive and Reactive Services Woven Together
As you learn about what it’s like to be on the receiving end of Accent’s all-inclusive managed IT services, be on the lookout for how proactive and reactive services come together to create an outstanding client experience. You’ll get a glimpse into how this experience results from the work of many individuals in specialized teams who are all working towards the same goal -- client success.
Before we go any further, remember that each managed IT services company is different.
This article goes through Accent’s unique approach to IT service delivery. Our approach has been developed through decades of experience and a philosophy to “Do IT Right” that has stood the test of time and evolved as technology has changed.
Managed IT Services from Two Perspectives
Take a Seat as a Client Computer User
Let’s start by imagining that you’re an employee at a client company.
You’re going about your day when an error message stops you in the program you’re working in. You try a few things to solve the problem yourself – restart the program and restart your computer. No change. So you click the Accent icon on your computer to request help from the service desk.
(We're using the Accent support icon for this example, but the user also could have called and reached a tech in less than one minute, or emailed in their issue.)
Alpha Team Responds to Immediate User Issues
Alpha Team: The front line of support that works with clients to quickly fix basic issues
Your request is automatically turned into a “ticket” and placed in a queue, where it's picked up in turn by the next available IT support technician on the Alpha Team.
Within a few minutes, you get a phone call, and the friendly voice on the other end asks you questions about what you’re experiencing. The Alpha support specialist may talk you through resolving your issue, or they may remotely maneuver around in the guts of your computer with your permission to find a solution.
If there’s a simple fix, you can expect to be up and running within minutes. And as the technician closes the ticket, you'll have the opportunity to provide feedback about your experience through a short survey.
Escalation and Proactive IT Management from the Elite Team
Elite Team: Elite teams work with clients on critical issues, escalated tickets, ongoing proactive IT management, and when onsite help is needed
If it becomes evident that your issue is more complex than a quick fix, the Alpha Team will escalate the ticket to your company’s designated Elite Team.
Elite Teams at Accent work with a designated set of clients. They acquire deep knowledge about the IT environments they’re responsible for and religiously document that knowledge so everyone on the team is up to speed on your systems.
Within each team are individuals who bring different skillsets. Elite Team Managers understand where each team member’s strengths lie, which determines how they assign the escalated tickets from the Alpha Team.
Elite Teams may interact with clients in the same way that the Alpha Team does, by phone and remote access to the user’s computer. Each Elite Team also has Field Technicians who regularly visit clients at their locations and can work with specific individuals if necessary.
Field Technicians also play a role in proactive IT management and have a checklist of maintenance tasks that they do onsite regularly.
Elite Teams monitor the health of client IT systems and take action when recurring issues point to the need for modifications or upgrades. In addition, they’re in regular communication with the Technology Advisors and Client Success Managers for each company, providing them with information to share about concerns or other behind-the-scenes work they do on the client’s behalf.
As an employee of a client company, unless you need help with a particularly tricky computer issue, you may never be aware of all of the work that the Elite Teams do to support the overall function of your IT systems. Still, they’re always there in the background, making things work.
Centralized Services and Cyber Security for Smooth, Secure Operations
Centralized Services and Cyber Security Team: The Centralized Services and Cyber Security Team manages network and security operations our entire client base
You won’t see what the Centralized Services and Cyber Security Team does, even though you’ll benefit from their expertise and effort every time you turn on your computer.
The Centralized Services and Cyber Security Team manages network and security operations for Accent and our entire client base. The engineers on these teams deploy software tools that monitor the performance and security of IT systems.
They receive reports and alerts generated from the various monitoring tools and analyze them to determine if a response or permanent change is needed. Their deep expertise is also called on for cyber forensics, analysis, and high-level security strategy as your virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO).
These are the people who are responsible for:
- Keeping spam out of your inbox.
- Keeping your software updated.
- Keeping intruders out of your network and off your computer.
- Making sure you don’t lose your data.
The Centralized Services and Cyber Security Team stays updated on evolving technology and cyber threats. They communicate regularly with client Technology Advisors when they see indications that improvements are needed. That’s where the Professional Services Team comes in.
Technology Improvements from the Professional Services Team
Professional Services Team: The Professional Services Team takes care of every aspect of your company’s technology projects, from design and procurement to the build and launch of projects
Return to your seat as a computer user at a client company. Let’s say you get an email from your management team that your company's phone system will be switching to Microsoft Business Voice on Teams. By the time you hear about this, the Professional Services Team has been at work for weeks, planning out every detail about how this new phone system will be set up and rolled out.
The Professional Services Team takes care of every aspect of your company’s technology projects, from design and procurement to build and launch for projects such as:
- Network infrastructure upgrades
- Cloud migrations and support
- Email migrations
- Phone systems
- Office relocation and setup
- Structured voice and data cabling
- Application migrations
- Wireless systems and connectivity services
- Compliance and security network assessments
As an employee at a client company, your interaction with the Professional Services Team will most likely be on the deployment side of a new technology project. Part of their documentation of the new system will include employee training and making your switch to the new technology as hassle-free as possible.
If you're the main point of contact between your company and Accent, you were well aware that the new technology was coming down the pipe since you were the person who initiated the investment upon advice from your Accent Technology Advisor.
Now, let’s change position and imagine now that you’re the business leader that oversees IT at your company.
Meet at the Conference Table with Your Technology Advisor
Technology Advisor: Technology Advisors present you with ideas for how to mature your IT systems, stay in compliance, and leverage technology so that IT supports your business goals and effectively manages cyber risks
As the main point of contact between your company and Accent, you’re still going to have interactions similar to the computer user we’ve been talking about because you’re a computer user too. Because of your role, however, you’ll meet with your Technology Advisor to create the strategy that will allow your organization to gain increasing benefits from your technology.
Your Technology Advisor (TA) acts as your virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) to provide guidance on IT utilization and investments. They manage the lifecycle of your technology, help you with regulatory compliance, bring you ideas for how to mature your IT systems, and and help you leverage technology so that IT supports your overall business goals and effectively manages cyber risks.
When you have ideas about new technology to adopt, your TA will help you vet those ideas with the insights you need to get the results you expect. Your TA is not only experienced with technology, but they’re also savvy about business. If you’ve never had this kind of guidance before, you’ll be blown away to discover how creating an IT roadmap can impact your bottom line with tangible results.
You may choose to have other people involved in the ongoing meetings with your Technology Advisor. Input from department leaders or your internal IT manager (if you have one) can help when you need more internal perspectives involved in technology conversations.
The Technology Advisor will often be accompanied by the Client Success Manager assigned to your account.
Client Success Manager is Your Conduit of Information
Client Success Manager: The role of the Client Success Manager is to act as a communication hub so that you always have a go-to resource for questions and concerns.
Your Client Success Manager (CSM) will be one of the first people you meet when onboarding with Accent. The main role of your CSM is to act as a communication hub so that you always have a go-to resource for questions and concerns.
They may also be one of the first people new employees interact with when they join your company. Your CSM works with them to make sure their technology setup is just right and that they know where to turn for help. This starts them off with a great impression of your organization and enables them to hit the ground running.
Not all MSPs have Client Success Managers, so this may be new for you if you already have experience working with a managed IT service company.
They know a lot about IT, but they’re not technical, so they’ll find you the right person to talk to when you have questions that dig into the weeds.
A big part of the CSM's job is to be a great listener and respond to needs that they hear about from you or recognize during your conversations. In addition, they’ll bring you resources for training and facilitate cyber security awareness training for your company.
Internally, CSMs are involved in meetings with other teams to have a big picture view of everything that’s going on with your company. Each month your CSM will send you a dashboard to give you a snapshot of your IT picture to keep you in the loop. Included in that dashboard will be helpful articles and resources created by Accent’s Sales and Marketing Team.
Sales and Marketing Matchmaker for Your Problem and the Solution
Sales and Marketing: Sales and Marketing work together to educate and provide the information you need to make well-informed technology decisions
Maybe you were the person who first found Accent, or perhaps you weren’t. Either way, there was a point in time when you first learned about Accent, and that moment was thanks to the Sales and Marketing Team. In fact, your first interaction with Accent was most likely through a blog or social media post that you found or was shared with you by a colleague.
Sales and Marketing at Accent is about giving you the information you need to make a well-informed decision. So whether that concerns the criteria you need to consider when choosing an MSP or building an effective cyber security strategy, the Accent resource library covers it.
The team is also called on to communicate announcements, news, or security alerts to clients when necessary.
When a new client is onboarded, the Sales and Marketing team transfers what they’ve learned about the company to the Client Success Manager, Technology Advisor, and Elite Team Service Manager.
Administrative Team Takes Care of Business
Administrative Team: The leadership team guides Accent down a path of continuous organizational improvement
Like you, we’re operating and growing our company, which requires basic business functions. As a client point of contact, you may interact with our folks in accounting and administration. They’re the people who want all the paperwork completed and, yes, want to be paid on time.
It’s important to our leadership team that we run a fiscally sound organization. Our clients benefit because we are a stable company with the resilience needed to handle the ups and downs of changing circumstances – like a global pandemic.
Being resilient is a priority goal for our leadership team as they guide us down a path of continuous organizational improvement. So is being a good employer for our people. HR has a place at our leadership table as well. Whether you’re a computer user or the point of contact at a client company, you won’t be aware of everything involved in developing our people, yet, you’ll experience the results with every interaction.
Living Out Our Vision and Purpose
Our vision for our clients is that they can grow without technology getting in the way. That applies as much to the ordinary computer user as it does to the executive who wants to advance technology in their organization to use it as a competitive advantage.
Now you can picture how delivering that vision involves a whole team of professionals and their individual contributions.
Our employees don’t just participate with us in living out our vision, they embrace it. And they’re our inspiration for the energy and passion that we put into achieving our purpose.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.