New To Kelser Managed IT Support? Here's What To Expect
Editor's note: This article was originally published in February 2022, but has been updated to reflect improvements to our onboarding process.
Welcome to Kelser! You are likely breathing a huge sigh of relief and are anxious for things to get moving.
As a service delivery manager (SDM), I work with new customers just like you every week. Based on that experience, I know that as we move forward together, you will likely have questions. I'm here to answer them.
I’ve put together this article to answer some of the most common questions about the way we work with new customers and walk you through the timeline, so you know what to expect.
After reading this article, you’ll also know some of the variables that can affect that timeline.
At Kelser, we keep customers in the loop, providing the information you need to understand the process and schedule, so there are no surprises for you or for us.
What Is Onboarding?
You'll likely hear the term "onboarding" as we discuss working together.
The term means simply the gathering of information and installation of software that makes it possible for us to provide the monitoring, patching, updating, and service that will keep your technology infrastructure safe, available, and efficient moving forward.
What Happens During Kelser’s Onboarding Process?
Here’s a step-by-step outline of our onboarding process:
1. Email Introduction
Within 24-48 hours of contract signing, you will receive an email introduction from your Kelser SDM. This email will start the process of our working together.
In the email will be a request to set up a 30-minute virtual kickoff meeting with your entire team.
Related article: What Are The Benefits Of A Dedicated Service Delivery Manager?
2. Confirmation Email
After providing your team's availability for the kickoff meeting, you will receive a confirmation email from your SDM with a link for the meeting.
3. Kickoff Meeting
The purpose of the kickoff meeting is to introduce everyone on your support team and for us to meet members of your team.
At this kickoff meeting, we will:
- review services included in your contract
- provide your onboarding timeline
- identify any necessary knowledge transfer from your current provider
- outline roles and responsibilities as we move forward together
- answer any remaining questions you have
4. Follow-Up Email
After the team kickoff meeting, you will receive an email from your SDM to recap.
This email will include:
- a video introducing your new Kelser team members
- a copy of the slide deck that was presented at the kickoff meeting
- an electronic copy of our service desk contact card
- a reminder of when, why, why, and which Kelser team members will visit your site and what they need to access
- a document called “What To Expect When Kelser Begins Managing Your IT”
Next, your SDM will send an email with the date and time of the on-site visit from your technical alignment manager (TAM).
Related article: What Is A Technical Alignment Manager (TAM) In It?
6. Confirmation Of TAM Visit
One day before your site visit, your TAM will email you to confirm the appointment, explain what they will be doing and why, and let you know what they will need to access during the visit.
7. TAM Visit
Your TAM will visit your site to collect first-hand information about your technology infrastructure.
This information helps us gain a deep understanding of your environment and how it operates, so we can provide optimal service from the very beginning of our relationship.
The information the TAM collects is entered into our centralized system, so that every member of our technical staff has access during service calls. When issues come up, this ensures that they have the background information they need to resolve issues quickly and efficiently the first time.
During this visit, the TAM also will provide printed copies of our service desk contact cards for each member of your staff.
Your contract includes unlimited calls to our service desk and we encourage all of your users to reach out any time!
8. Software Deployment
We work closely with you to accomplish the majority of the pre-work behind the scenes and after hours to minimize the impact on your users and business.
While most of this work is achieved with minimal or no user involvement, the phase that typically has the most impact on users is software deployment.
A list of the software we'll be deploying (and why each one matters) is included in "What To Expect When Kelser Begins Managing Your IT" referenced above.
That's it! Once the software is deployed, onboarding is complete and you and your staff can begin contacting us with any questions or requests for service.
How Long Does Onboarding Usually Take?
Every infrastructure is different and has its own idiosyncrasies that can affect the onboarding timeline, but generally, the entire onboarding process takes 30-45 days from the date of receiving your signed contract.
In addition to the steps outlined above, we simultaneously work with your current IT provider (if applicable) to transfer their knowledge, set up new administration credentials, begin setting up networks and servers, configure platforms, and remediate any critical issues that need immediate attention.
What Factors Can Affect The Onboarding Timeline?
If you own your own home and have done any renovations, you likely understand that a well-planned project can often uncover other issues that have to be resolved before you can proceed. At Kelser, we believe in process, schedule and accountability, but we understand that flexibility can be equally important.
For example, a client may want to wait until their business has its annual slow period to upgrade its server. Or, there may be a pandemic that gets in the way of business as usual.
Your business and priority are key considerations in our onboarding process.
We get it! Life can be messy!
Here are some of the things that our experience has shown can affect the onboarding timeline:
1. Number of Users
Some of our customers have a small number of users at one site. Larger workforces can take more time to coordinate, depending on what is included in the scope of work.
2. Complexity of Environment
Another variable is the number and geographic location(s) of your brick-and-mortar and remote sites.
Some of the things we’ll need to understand are:
- Do people at all of your sites need to share files?
- Does everyone need to share all files or do you need to limit access to certain things?
- Are there documents (like your engineering design specs) that need special protections?
- Do you have international sites?
- Is your work subject to government or industry regulations?
- Do you use specialized or legacy software that is no longer supported which may integrate with specific business processes?
Oftentimes, coordinating calendars to schedule on-site visits can be one of the biggest holdups.
For example, in most cases, our team members can’t just show up at a client site and start walking around unescorted.
Most clients require that visitors be escorted within their building(s). Even if this isn’t the case, we’ll need someone to show us where the data closet is or where the servers are located.
4. Client Timeline
Are you in a hurry to get things up and running? Would it be better for you if we wait until summer when things usually slow down for your business?
Your sense of urgency is a key component that takes priority when planning the onboarding timeline.
5. Age of IT Architecture
If your devices, network, servers, firewall are all up-to-date, the transition will be easier.
If you are operating with older devices (desktops, laptops, etc.), that will impact the timeline. If you are still using Windows XP operating systems on devices, for example, we will likely recommend upgrading all operating systems to minimize security risks.
Are your servers and devices up-to-date? Have things been patched?
Is your server capacity maxed out? Can it support the current and projected number of users?
All of these factors (and more) play a role in how quickly (and safely) we can begin managing your network.
What Happens Next?
We’ve explained what onboarding is and each step in the process. You now know how long onboarding typically takes and the factors that can affect the onboarding timeline.
If questions come up as we begin working together, reach out! We are here to help. This may be the first time you are using managed IT support, we do this every day and have answers to your questions.
Kelser is ready to help make your organization’s IT infrastructure more efficient, secure, and available.
We look forward to working as your strategic IT partner providing the services and guidance you need to optimize your network and guarantee your organization’s future success.