The future of managed services lies in self-service and automation, both for internal processes and customer engagements, according to Brennan IT. Simon Wheeler, CIO, Brennan IT, said, “As a managed services provider, Brennan IT wants customers to be able to provision, change, order, and perform simple functions themselves, without our intervention. This means we can focus on delivering greater value for our customers, like offering strategic transformation advice and guidance, delivering an improved customer service experience, and anticipating and responding to their needs faster.” Offering self-service capabilities helps managed service providers reduce the number of systems they have. It also simplifies the integration complexity within the provider’s own IT infrastructure to deliver faster, more accurate support. Brennan IT has identified four key areas for self-service and automation to help free up customers’ time: 1. Self-service maintenance and admin tasks: Providers can give customers greater control of their account and their IT capacity by giving them access to a simple portal from which they can manage everyday IT processes, such as resetting a password or creating users. 2. Report generation: A self-service portal lets customers generate their own reports and choose to view the information they need, when they need it. The time freed up by not generating reports lets the managed service provider spend more time adding greater value to the customer’s account in other ways. 3. Provisioning: By letting customers provision additional services as required, the provider can save them a lot of time and effort, particularly when the need for additional capacity is pressing. 4. Dashboards: Letting customers view all their services via a single dashboard makes it easier to monitor and manage their services together, offering even more efficiency. It removes the tendency to treat each service as a separate entity, which requires customers to go through a different process for each service when changes are required. Simon Wheeler said, “With greater automation, managed service providers can collect more customer insights across IT offerings and identify bottlenecks in processes. Using automated alerts, providers can provision additional customer requirements immediately, such as system capacity or disk space, within the parameters agreed by the customer in their initial contract. “An automation and self-service strategy will help providers to become more proactive, which benefits customers. It also lets staff work across more complex, value added technical challenges. Consequently, providers will be able to help customers achieve greater IT efficiency and business transformation.”