NERC Compliance Managed Services Worth a Close Look

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James Holler, Founder, Abidance Consulting

There is a new concept emerging within the NERC Compliance arena called NERC Compliance Managed Services. The managed services concept is nothing new to the business community, but it has not yet taken hold in the NERC arena. One of the main reasons is that there are only one or two companies that competently perform this service.

If you do decide to pursue a managed service provider, keep in mind that there are five things you must make sure the managed service provider you choose adheres to.

Customer Service: Your managed service provider must commit to giving you better customer service than the next guy. Everyone provides customer service. Make sure your managed service providers’ customer service is exceptional. Your managed service provider must let you know that they are truly committed to doing whatever it takes to make your NERC compliance program successful. Be sure that your managed service provider doesn’t make customer service an afterthought, but a part of their business strategy.

Understand Your Business Culture: Your managed service provider must get to know your way of doing business so that they can deliver you services in a manner that best meets your needs. A good managed service provider doesn’t deliver cookie cutter services. The managed service provider must know how to tailor and execute their services in a way that is compatible with your unique way of doing business.

By having a laser focus on your needs, the managed service provider can offer higher premium services that add the most value to your business.

Education: A good managed service provider will educate your staff on everything NERC related…not just one or two particular areas. Your managed service provider must show a value every step of the way. Your managed service provider is providing a valued-added service and they should be able to give you a ROI that will show you why they are the best choice for your business. If the managed service provider can’t show you the metrics, they don’t deserve your business.

Ongoing Communication: In order to retain your business over time, your managed service provider needs to maintain constant communications with you and your staff. Whether it’s phone calls, social media, or on-site visits, your managed service provider needs to build a rapport with you and your staff so that you will eventually see your managed service provider as a trusted business advisor rather than just a vendor.

Commitment: Commitment from your managed service provider is the key to growing your trust and adding value to your business. If developed properly, an managed service provider relationship is a sophisticated business model that needs to be given adequate dedication and resources from both sides.

Bottom-line: Make the investment in the right managed service provider, staff and the right technology in order to deliver the best value to your business. Don’t do it halfway; you will only end up with poorly constructed NERC compliance program…and possibly some heavy monetary fines.

James Holler is founder of Abidance Consulting.

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