Getting the right managed service provider can change your business efficiency overnight. Expect improved productivity, efficiency, and elimination of any and all technology-related stress. But, picking a provider can be a bit of a challenge. At first glance, most managed service providers seem similar. Yet, there are huge differences between them. Let’s look at a few tips that will guarantee you’ll make the right choice.
Pay attention to the questions they ask you
If you’re talking to a high-quality managed service provider, they will ask you the right questions. They will want to know if you require any specific resources, specifications, and characteristics. Also, they will make sure to ask questions about your data and how you want it to be backed up, moved or migrated. The more questions they have for you – the better.
Look for clearly defined procedures
You shouldn’t just assume that a provider will alert you about important things on time. You should ask them about their alerting procedure and see if it works for you. Also, their escalation procedure should be clearly defined. They should know how to handle their issues and mistakes and offer you a way out.
You should request for the escalation procedure to be defined in the contract as well. The best escalation procedures are the ones that alert the president of the company.
Monitoring and support 24 hours a day
Monitoring is one of the most important things you need in a managed provider. You should choose the managed service provider that offers the best monitoring.
They should monitor switches, routers, firewalls, network devices, servers, and workstations. They should do that 24 hours a day. Regardless of the time of day, you should be able to call and get help from your MSP.
Ask about their certifications and experience
You can rely on the certificates and awards they have, as well as their years of experience. The good thing about managed services is that you can get the top professionals in the industry for less than it costs to hire such people on-staff. Don’t hesitate to look into their employees and inquire about their skills.
Look for an understanding of your industry
A good MSP will not only help you with how well your IT functions, but also with how your company operates in general. Their job is to provide insight into improved software systems, training, and workflow. That’s why they need to understand your industry.
If the managed service provider doesn’t have experience with your industry, you will be disappointed. They should at least be interested in learning more about it. Otherwise, you won’t get the service you expect. Especially if your industry has certain specific requirements, your MSP should be aware of that.
They should have in mind these industry requirements in every project, communication and upgrade they do for you. It’s best if they send you references of their customers in your industry. Or even better, ask for the CVs of any technicians they have with experience in your industry.
See if their payment method works for you
Each managed services provider has a different fee structure. However, most offer pay per user or pay per device. And there are plans that are based only on updates and alerts.
The first pricing model is the most popular one. It gives your company flexibility. The user’s devices are covered under the cost of each user. The second pricing structure charges you based on the number of devices that will be supported. This includes laptops, cell phones, home computers, network, servers and more.
With the third pricing structure, you can agree to get automatic software updates or only alerts. This structure doesn’t fix your issues and it’s only for companies that can handle their own IT problems.
You should see which payment method sounds best. However, it is something that needs to be carefully chosen. You should ask each potential MSP what is included in their monthly fee and what will be charged additionally. Ask about the difference in price for pay per user and pay per device. Also, ask how long you are locked in with them with the contract.
Flexibility and scalability
You need a managed service provider that will easily adapt to your business conditions as they change. Each business fluctuates as the market conditions change. That’s why you need to check the scalability and flexibility capabilities of your MSP.
They need to assure you that they are able to support the growing needs of your business and that they have the proper skills and resources to scale alongside you. You should choose your MVP according to the size of your company and the size you anticipate in the future.
Domain expertise and constant improvement
Your managed service provider shouldn’t just be an IT provider. You should look at them as a business partner that will help you succeed. Ideally, they should have a defined model of how they will help improve your business.
Don’t settle for a reactive group of technicians that “just fix stuff” so as to keep things “the same”. You want a team that’s constantly suggesting ideas that will make your business more efficient and productive, and ultimately help it grow in profits and size.
As a bare minimum, they should have ISO 20000, ISO 27001 and ITIL. Additionally, however, they need to constantly work on upgrading their skills and expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about this. What are they doing to get better over time? How are they improving? Have them explain how they are getting better themselves, as well as how they help their clients improve.
The main things your managed service provider should offer
At the cost of sounding repetitive, note again that there is a big difference between managed service providers. To keep it simple, the main things you want to look for are as follows:
- Focus on your industry – a unique solution provided for you
- End-to-end capabilities – an ability to help you throughout the whole business journey
- Relationships and ecosystem reach – relationship with the top providers: Google, Azure, and AWS
- Automation – different automated capabilities for your needs
- Innovation – previous examples of innovation and cloud solutions
- Continuous optimisation – long term benefit with accountability, governance and cost controls
- Trust – contract that satisfies both sides
Where can I find all these things?
Well, for one, we can say that we offer all of these things. We would like you to imagine us as electricity or power. That’s because you expect electricity to be up and running every time you go into your office.
We are always up and running whenever you go into your office as well. You will feel like you have your own managed IT team that is always there to help you 24/7. You can focus on running your business and let us deal with the technical IT stuff.