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Support Hours or Service Hours or Bucket of Hours in Service Contracts

Are these hours essential to be included in the services contracts to handle 'Out of Scope' support items as and when the clients need them ? It is non standard and hard to predict resource needs and hard to manage those hours etc.

What are some of the best practices on handling these support hours ? How are other MSPs doing this ?


  • Carlos Alves
    Carlos Alves TSIA Administrator, Moderator, Founding Member | admin

    Good point, @Suresh Kandeeban .

    "In scope" was everything we had listed as Incidents or Requests.

    "Out of scope" would include projects.

    When I created my Manages Services contracts, I documented Demand Categories the customer could order during the contract. I had 3 categories depending on the demand's complexity (low, mid, high), and each had a pre-defined number of hours to allocate. If the demand did not match the table, it had to be handled as a contract add.

  • @CarlosAlves Thank you, Carlos. How did you categorize them ? Did you see a pattern based on analyzing demands ? How big is that demand list ? How often do they vary based on the service offering types ?

  • Carlos Alves
    Carlos Alves TSIA Administrator, Moderator, Founding Member | admin

    Nice questions! Let me try to cover them:

    1- We categorized by effort/hours we understood we'd spend. To do so, we had some experience on most common demands, organized by Delivery.

    2- Yes. The pattern of low-effort demands was clear, allowing us to consume many of the "contract points" I mentioned pretty quickly (and then sell more). On the wrong side: some customers tried to pass a High effort project as a simple one. This led us to create an evaluation committee with the delivery and account teams.

    3- Not that big. When I left, the final stage of this was that the CSM was organizing these demands in the Member Success Plan and ensuring that we could deliver on time with adequate resources. Validating the prioritization with the internal teams to deliver on the promise.

    4- At that time, we did not have these demands formalized as a service offering. It was more like a services list allowed within the contract. Looking today at TSIA's Service Offer Management best practices, for instance, we could quickly make many of them as offers in the Managed Services portfolio and monetize them. This TSIA blog entry talks about this: https://www.tsia.com/blog/moving-to-a-professional-services-subscription-model