When your organization invests in new technology or undertakes large projects, an embedded contract services provider can deliver external specialists who can help kick-start programs and promote utilization. For example, the introduction of collaboration technologies, virtual reality, or data visualization at enterprise scale may require user support and/or ongoing facilitation of equipment, facilities, or even meetings. Additionally, if your organization has faced staff reductions or has had other impacts, such as working remotely, outsource assistance with large ongoing projects may make sense. User experience doesn’t have to suffer when embedded services are a viable option. Whether the contract is a few months or spans into years, well-structured contract services can add value and help mitigate loss of time and money. This type of service helps avoid the following common pitfalls that organizations often experience.
1. No Dedicated Expert
An embedded contract services provider should have a dedicated and experienced person on site to manage, maintain, and navigate the systems for clients. That person should be capable of being a single point of contact for the majority of requirements. They should not have to call their head office for assistance with every task. Embedded support must have the knowledge and expertise to successfully deliver to expectations and provide a reliable user experience. Even if the person is assisting remotely, their lack of knowledge will become evident if they regularly have to ‘get back to you’ or ‘loop in another person’. It may be inevitable that your dedicated person needs to reach out, so find out what the escalation process and who is involved in these situations.
You want an expert because a generalist won’t bring the benefit you need. The right person with the right skills will free your team to focus on other tasks. This is especially critical if your team is small or already stretched thin.
2. Being Assigned a Person Who is not Service or Team Oriented
If you are contracting services and support, you need that person/people to be a working part of your team. They need the discipline and interpersonal skills appropriate to the task. A ‘warm body’ could cost you more time than you think. Ask the service provider questions about their recruitment process. What are their corporate values? What about their safety and security standards and policies? Make sure the person assigned to you has passed a rigorous assessment and onboarding program before they become part of your team. If the work is being done remotely, a disciplined work ethic will be essential. Who becomes part of your team has immediate impact on the next possible pitfall.
3. Not Maximizing ROI
Often, the embedded teammate will be working on a highly complex system with a steep learning curve. A massive benefit to embedded contract services is having a fully trained person coming into your organization ready to hit the ground running. If the required training is very specific to your organization and can only be done after starting, the assigned person should have demonstrated skills in learning quickly. The sooner the person is effective, the more benefit they will generate. You are also more effective because you aren’t hand-holding someone who doesn’t have the necessary capabilities.
Maybe your team’s work is negatively impacted because the service organization isn’t available when you need them. Make sure the service provider has the right skills available at all times services are required. Also, everyone needs holidays and time off. Find out what the service provider’s back up plan is for people assigned to your work.
4. A Service Level Agreement is Not Established
Discovering and tracking and improvement areas is important to ensure a performance remains at an acceptable level. Establishing an SLA sets mutually agreed upon key performance expectations. Without an SLA, response times can add up and keep your system offline. A good SLA will help keep your system up and running and help acclimate your service teammate to your business quicker. SLAs can be amended to alter or add tasks as needed. For example, if COVID has your office shutdown, your service teammate can shift responsibilities to a new set of tasks.
Equipped with the required technical expertise the knowledge of your organizations workflows, an embedded contract services provider should quickly become a valued member of your team. You should feel confident that work will get done even if they are remote. You should be at ease if they represent your organization to others, especially if internal or external dignitaries are involved. And you should be able to focus on other important tasks.