As a managed IT service provider, it’s our job to oversee the day-to-day workings of our clients’ IT systems and respond when issues pop up but that’s not all we do. We also assist companies when they want to change or improve their technology and that’s where the Professional Services department comes in.
The Professional Services department is sometimes referred to as the project team, because that’s how work flows in and out of their department – through individual projects. The types of projects that the team works with can be anything from a cloud migration or firewall update, to building automation or improving an organization’s utilization of Microsoft products.
People in the professional services department spend much of their time working independently on whatever piece of the project lies within their individual responsibility. However, that doesn’t mean that they work alone. The team comes together for scheduled meetings through all the stages of the project to make sure that everything fits together and to give the client the outcome that they’re expecting.
The responsibility for onboarding new clients also falls within professional services. There are many technical steps that need to be followed to get a new client set up with all the management and monitoring tools we use, and employees need to know how to contact support. Change management is built into the project plan to create a good experience as new clients transition to XPERTECHS from their previous provider.
Roles in the Professional Services Department
While much of a professional services engineer’s work is on their own, there’s a lot of communication and collaboration that goes on internally and externally to make sure everyone is running down the same track. The team also works with people in other departments such as the Service Department, Technology Strategy, and Administration.
The project manager is responsible for maintaining the big picture view of each project and takes the lead in communicating with the client. They gather information to take to the project team, and keep the client updated on progress. The project manager plays a major role in planning out the timeline for each project and assists with the quoting process.
The engineers in the professional services department have deep expertise in different types of technology. Within the team, you’ll find individuals who specialize in Microsoft, Automation, Azure and Cybersecurity. They are involved with scoping out projects for proposals and creating project plans. They build out the new technology and oversee implementation as the project is rolled out.
Field engineers take care of installation activities that need to take place at client locations. Even with many companies using the cloud for infrastructure and file storage, there are still onsite tasks such as setting up new equipment and backup devices. From time to time, field engineers assist the service department when they need eyes or hands onsite to troubleshoot an issue.
Collaboration with vCIO and Procurement
While not considered a part of the professional services department, vCIOs play an integral role in identifying opportunities for IT improvement and presenting proposals for technology projects to clients. Before a proposal becomes a project, the team assists the vCIO by scoping out everything that will be involved with a project and calculating costs.
Likewise, procurement technicians source, price, and purchase equipment for projects. Procurement is also involved with purchasing licensing and software associated with projects.
The Biggest Challenges of Professional Services
Any time a change is made to an IT system, there’s the possibility of a ripple effect going out to other parts of the network. Predicting all those impacts is one of the biggest challenges that professional services engineers face. Intensive planning is part of the solution and is also the method for providing a great client experience.
While our professional services engineers have extensive IT knowledge, they understand that technology doesn’t stop changing. So another challenge they face is to keep up with the evolution of technology so that clients are guided to the solutions that will provide long-term benefits.
Professional Services People Love Both Head-Down Work and Collaboration
People on the professional services team are both great collaborators and autonomous workers. They spend most of their time head down, getting their stuff done and the rest of their time in discussion with colleagues, and sometimes with clients.
Project engineers have creative minds that love to think up technology solutions and build them. They have a few years of experience under their belts and certifications that validate their expertise with the technologies that they’re building. These are certifications like Microsoft Power Apps, SonicWall, Cisco and Meraki to name a few.
People on the project team are insatiable learners. They’re not only eager to get their hands on the latest technology, they’re always looking for ways to improve internal processes to benefit clients.
Is the XPERTECHS Professional Services Department Your Next Career Move?
Many people move into the professional services department started on the service desk and advanced as they built their knowledge and skills. If you’ve already worked on a project team or you have the foundational skills and need a new challenge, please check out our careers page for current opportunities and join our Talent Network to keep in touch.