What to Look for in a Managed Services Provider
The answer to this blog title should be very simple, you should choose an MSP (Managed Service Provider) that can cater to your unique business needs and do so in a cost-effective manner. But sometimes knowing the simple answer and understanding how to achieve that aren’t quite that simple. Here are some questions you can ask yourself and an MSP when you are deciding if they are the best partner to work with.
- What is their Value Proposition? Every MSP should have a unique and compelling offering. It is important for you to understand what attributes they have and how these attributes can benefit your business. One thing to keep in mind is all MSPs use technology. If you focus on the technology and what it accomplishes, you may be selling your business short. You need to instead focus on the key points of service such as response time and reliability. Another suggestion is make sure your MSP can demonstrate what they can do for your organization. There is nothing worse than buying empty promises.
- What market(s) do they have experience in? Every vertical market has unique traits and characteristics, not to mention certain computer programs that help them stay competitive in their market. You need to ensure that the MSP you choose has expertise in your vertical, so that they are able to properly monitor all of your systems and software programs and do so with relative knowledge of each.
- How do you fit into their current scope of customers? Most MSPs have a target audience. They may focus on industry, size, or even location of end users they target with their services. You want to make sure that you don’t fall outside of this target audience, unless you and them have discussed in depth why you should be comfortable hiring their services anyway. If you are the small company, will you get the same attention as the large guys? If you are the large guy, do they have the resources and commitment level to dedicate to your size organization? If you are outside their niche market, do they have someone on staff that can work with your software programs without slowing down the response time to your problem. It is very important to understand the make-up of their current customers and to have discussions with them on how you fit into that group and what benefits that may offer your business, as well as what negatives that may mean for you.
- Do they have a help desk offering and workflow processes already in place? It is important to understand how you and the MSP will work together both during and outside of normal business hours. Do they have a ticket system that you can use anytime you have an issue that needs addressing? There is nothing worse than experiencing a technical issue and staying on hold for 15 minutes while you wait for someone to become available to field your call. You could be productive at something else in your job in those 15 minutes. If the MSP has a ticket system, you could submit your ticket and wait for them to follow-up with you. Not to mention, you now have a written record of all your technical issues that can be helpful to analyze when discussing system and IT upgrades.
- What is the ongoing plan after the contract is signed? Is there a plan in place once you sign with an MSP for regular check-ins to make sure everything at your business is running smooth and is on track to stay that way? If you sign up an MSP and then sit back and wait for problems to happen before you interact with them, you could be doing harm for your organization. Make sure you have a plan with your Solution Provider to discuss how improvements and efficiencies can be made. It should not be your goal to remain status quo. The reality is when you first start working with them, you most likely have things that are broken and will cause your company some downtime and hiccups. Once those items are resolved, you need to make sure you are partnering with someone who wants to keep pushing for improvement and not someone who is just sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring.
If you are in a position that you want to look at turning your IT support into a Managed Services Program, you want to make sure you are taking into consideration the above questions. If you currently already have an MSP partner, you want to ask the above questions in relation to them. Are they hitting all those key points? If the answer is no, it may be time to replace them with someone who is. If you are happy with your current MSP, then consider yourself lucky. If your are unhappy or do not have an MSP yet, contact us and see if 2W Tech may be a fit for your organization.