Managed Services, Part 3: Roles and Responsibilities

In my last blog “Managed Services, Part 2: Don’t Take Backup and Recovery For Granted,” I defined the second of the five cores of support of managed services: backup and recovery. In this installment of the five-part series on managed services, I will cover roles and responsibilities.

Definition – and delineation is critical

Successful business leaders understand that it is most important to clearly define roles and responsibilities for people who have been assigned to a project or task. If boundaries are not clearly delineated, the project is probably doomed to failure.

You don’t have to think too long for an example of a project that was on the verge of failure simply because roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined and those responsible were not plainly identified. Earlier this year, problems with a well-known national healthcare website could have led to the death of the entire program. It took an emergency team of experts with well-defined responsibilities and a person who would take the ultimate responsibility for failure to save the program.

Well, the managed services of your WCM system may not have to survive the glare of a national press corps. Responsibilities and roles, however, need to be clearly defined so everyone involved knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

Keep in mind that the managed services of your system involve three authorities: your business, the managed services provider, and a customizer you select to adapt your WCM system to your business’s specific needs. Consider what could occur if all three authorities did not have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. Your managed services would fail and people would be pointing fingers at the cooperating entities as well as the people within them.

Resources to look for

I recently searched the Internet for information on creating a document or template that clearly defines responsibilities among groups with a vested interest and among people within those groups. Some universities, including Cornell and Northwestern, software-related groups such as the DSDM Consortium, and states like Maryland have templates on their websites. Check these sites for more details.

Your business, the managed services provider, and the customizer should have their own team of individuals with clearly defined responsibilities. You can refer to the links above for more.

The managed services provider should also offer a summary of the responsibilities of the business, the customizer, and the managed services provider. The document should indicate what stakeholder is responsible for what aspect of managed services.

Adobe offers a summary of responsibilities document that breaks down the responsibilities into an easy-to-read chart. The checklist identifies every service in every category involved in the managed services system, including provisioning, development and quality assurance (QA), staging, and production. The document should clearly detail what each stakeholder is responsible for. Here’s an example:

Summary of Managed Services Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and Responsibilities table
View here.

Avoid any chance of misunderstanding between your business, the managed services provider, and your customizer, and take precautions that all entities are working off the same page.