How to start working with a Managed Services provider

two men collaborating over technology

Platforms like Salesforce come with hundreds of leading-edge features and products—but can also require ongoing updates, customizations, configurations, maintenance, and so much more. 

That's where Horizontal’s Salesforce Managed Services come in. We focus on co-innovation and strategic road-mapping to ensure optimal alignment with business objectives while smoothly running your technology and operations. With comprehensive management and optimization of your technology, your IT team’s time is freed up to focus on other critical initiatives. 

But where do you even start when it comes to working with a Managed Services partner? How can you get the most value from your contract? 

Here’s what we recommend. 


Find the right partner 

Of course, you want to work with a Managed Services team that’s responsive, reliable, and experienced. But what makes a team superior is when they act as your partner; not just a provider. A partner not only supports your technology but ensures that your technology is furthering your business goals.  

As you sift through your top options, we recommend considering these factors: 

  • Costs and packages: What kinds of costs and packages do they offer? 
  • Collaborative approach: Is their approach collaborative, focusing on co-innovation to strategize and refine systems for greater efficiency? 
  • Initial interaction: Did they take the time to discuss your challenges, or did they just send you a price quote? 
  • Understanding your business: Does their team seem to understand your unique business, tech stack, and industry? 
  • Contract coverage: What is and isn’t covered in their initial contract? 

Another important factor to consider is their engagement model. A well-structured engagement model can make a significant difference in the quality and consistency of service you receive. 

Horizontal’s engagement model offers a dedicated Success Manager who will be your primary day-to-day point of contact and also includes functional and technical leadership. With tiered levels of support to choose from, this model ensures predictable economic spending, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to select the right amount of service that helps you achieve your business objectives. 


Define your objectives and KPIs 

While a strategic Managed Services partner will help you identify measurable goals, it’s always a good idea to have specific objectives in mind before going into any conversations. What exactly do you want to get out of the engagement? Is it backlog reduction? Increased bandwidth? Ongoing refinements?  

Start by conducting a thorough audit of your existing technology or Salesforce environment. To speed up this process, utilize assessment tools like Org Analysis or Org Check. These tools will help pinpoint areas needing improvement and provide benchmark numbers to tie to your goals. 

However, when you are so closely tied to the work, it helps to seek an external perspective. If you need extra support in assessing your situation, Horizontal provides digital assessments free of charge. Our Managed Services experts jointly contribute to your roadmap and ensure your tech stack neatly aligns with your business goals, no matter how often or rapidly they may change. 


Enable a smooth hand-off transition 

When transferring information to a new Managed Services provider – whether from another provider or your internal IT team – there are many details to hand off.  

Key information to gather before a Managed Services engagement 

  • System documentation: Detailed records of current configurations, customizations, and integrations. 
  • Operational procedures: Standard operating procedures for daily tasks and maintenance routines. 
  • Historical issues and planned enhancements: Backlog of outstanding issues and planned enhancements. 
  • Strategic Roadmap: Your roadmap of planned projects and upgrades, driven by your overarching business goals 
  • Development processes: Current development and release workflows. 
  • Access credentials: Comprehensive list of necessary access permissions and credentials. 
  • Key contacts: List of primary contacts within the organization and previous service providers. 

So why is a streamlined onboarding process important? Having all the necessary information ready to go determines how quickly a Managed Services team can get up to speed and implement your solutions.  

For example, Horizontal recently partnered with a 24/7 news site that needed technological support. However, our client’s contract with their original Managed Services partner ended abruptly, leaving them unsupported just before a major system upgrade. Attempting to secure a proper handover from the previous vendor, our team discovered inadequate documentation, development, and release processes that required immediate attention. While our team was able to successfully remedy the situation, it created an additional barrier to getting their upgrade done on time and on budget.  

To ensure an efficient Managed Services transition, Horizontal will... 

  1. Conduct collaborative discovery session: We work alongside you to identify key team members and gather essential information through structured sessions. 
  2. Develop a comprehensive roadmap: Integrate key learnings into a living document that will be continuously updated throughout the engagement. 
  3. Assign dedicated transition managers: Appoint experienced managers to oversee the transition and address any emerging issues promptly. 
  4. Establish clear communication channels: Set up regular meetings and updates to ensure alignment and address any concerns in real time. 
  5. Implement robust onboarding plans: Develop and execute detailed onboarding plans to ensure a seamless handoff and minimal disruption to ongoing operations. 


Setting you up for Managed Services success 

With so many provider options, finding the a Managed Services partner can feel overwhelming. The right partner will offer more than just support—they will drive innovation, enhance efficiency, and help you navigate the complexities of your technology. 

Here at Horizontal, our Managed Services go a step further by making co-innovation the heart of our collaborative approach. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of Marketing Cloud, Data Cloud, and Experience Cloud as well as core Salesforce Clouds, such as Sales and Service. Learn more about our Managed Services solutions.