How to Choose a Managed Services Provider
With Cloud technologies catching on at lightening speed, many organizations who have not yet abandoned their break-fix model are now rushing to find a Managed Services Provider (MSP) so they don’t miss out on this trend. Is there a right or wrong MSP for your business? One problem this quick cloud adoption is causing is traditional IT Consultants are looking to quickly transition to an MSP model to grab a piece of the action. So, we have IT Consultants and end-users that are rushing to adopt Managed Services and together they could be a marriage of disaster.
Like with most things in life, you need to partner with someone that has experience with what they are selling. If you talk with an MSP and they don’t have a list of clients that are already using their services, you need to ask yourself if you can really afford to be their guinea pig. Think about anytime your organization rolls out something new, does it go 100% smooth? NEVER. As your organization is rolling out Managed Services, you need to be able to lean on an expert that can guide you through the transition and can answer your questions and concerns based on actual experience, not logical guesses.
Ok, so now you have narrowed your search to experienced MSPs. Now what? Here are a few areas you can focus on that will help you weed through them to find the best fit:
- Look for experience in your niche market. Using an IT partner that has experience in your industry means they can tailor their services to your requirements fairly easy. When an IT partner has clients in the same industry, they are able to become familiar with the specialized software, supply and demand, customizations, and other areas of your business that will make keeping your systems up and running easier on both of you. Narrowing down your MSP search by only using someone that has clients in your same space can help significantly.
- Are they able to tell you what you need? This may seem like a no-brainer. But all to often, IT providers come into an organization and listen to the needs of the potential client, which is perfect. Except, many stop there. Make them tell you what they think you need. Make them tell you what others in the industry are doing. Make them prove to you that they are knowledgeable and are the best fit for your organization. Ensure they are asking you questions that are helping them understand your needs and your business. If they are asking questions that aren’t customized to your organization, then they don’t have your best interest in mind. You should feel ensured even in the getting to know each other phase, that they are personally taking your needs and demands into consideration and are excited about helping you achieve your needed outcome.
- Are they engaged with you regularly? The reality is that if you are currently using an MSP and you don’t regularly interact with them, they are doing their job. Managed Services is about your IT Provider managing your networks and systems and fixing issues remotely often before you know there is an issue. So it is true, that if you don’t have to contact them about fixing issues and don’t notice system failures and downtime, they are doing their job. However, do not just settle for doing their job. Technology is constantly evolving and if your organization is not evolving with it, you will soon find yourself behind your competition. You and your MSP should be having regular dialogue about how to move your technology to the next level. About what upgrades you will need and when? Having an IT Partner that is pro-active will ensure you don’t run into big issues down the road. Don’t settle for status quo. If you have not selected a partner, you should ask for client referrals. This will allow you to talk to their current clients and ask about how their relationship works and whether their partner is proactive and constantly pushing to better their technology.
There are many good and experiences MSPs out there. Your organization just needs to make sure they do their diligence and finds a partner that not only meets the criteria above, but also will get along with your staff. You guys will be working together closely so you need to make sure personalities don’t conflict. Don’t allow yourselves to settle for mediocre or just average. Hold out for a partner that will help move your business to the next level. If you are looking to move to an MSP model or are not happy with the IT Provider you are currently using, allow 2W Tech to help. We have years of experience with an MSP model and can help make the transition as smooth for you organization as we can.