As a nation we are becoming increasingly reliant on digital innovation to stay ahead of the competition and provide an enhanced customer experience. Demand on IT teams has increased along with this rise in technology and innovation. As IT teams begin to buckle under the pressure of expectations from senior management teams, many businesses consider turning to managed service providers to help with the workload.
What is a managed service provider?
Managed Service Providers or MSPs, are highly skilled technology partners that support and manage your business IT and can help elevate and streamline your business processes. Managed service providers support your internal IT function, leaving your key staff free to concentrate on your core business objectives and services.
MSPs move businesses forward by providing technological solutions and resources to help ease the burden of having to recruit internal resources. Typically MSPs will handle most aspects of your IT requirements, including network, application, security and infrastructure management on an ongoing basis (typically on 12-month contracts). MSPs can also provide value-added services such as cloud telephony, connectivity and cyber security solutions, which further help protect your organisation and maintain a competitive advantage.
5 things to consider when choosing a Managed Service Provider
1. Budget vs price
If you find an MSP who is competing solely on price, ask yourself why. Before you start doing some comparisons it is a good idea to work out what your requirements are and what your budget is and then look for a service provider that can deliver what you need within your budget.
2. Retain some control
Managed service providers should be knowledgeable and consultative, perceived more as partners than suppliers, seen as a complement to whatever existing capability your business has. This means that the terms of your partnership need to be agreed from the beginning so that you can maintain some of the control over your IT infrastructure. It will always be your business and your clients, so choosing an MSP who provides regular progress reporting and status updates is essential to maintaining a healthy partnership and recognising the value that your MSP is bringing to your business. Communication is key here.
3. Make sure they understand your business
Some research into your potential MSP’s client base can prove extremely useful. Having a partner on board who has clients in the same industry can dramatically improve their knowledge of your business operation, helping to reduce the amount of on-boarding time spent understanding your business, as well as helping fast track decisions about the types of tools, applications and best IT practices which work best in your specific industry segment.
4. Examine the SLAs (service level agreements)
Many MSPs offer the same range of services, which is why it is important to delve deeper into what their service agreements look like. An SLA will provide detailed information about support response times, problem resolution times and escalation paths. Make sure that your expectations on the level of service are correctly aligned with what the provider is offering. Your relationship with an MSP could be a long one so make sure that your expectations align with what they can offer.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
You are discussing providing access to business-critical data to someone you barely know. Asking LOTS of questions in the beginning will save time and reduce headaches further down the line. Lots of managed service providers have a list of frequently asked questions which they can share with you, and if you have any more, make sure to write them down and take them to your first meeting!
To learn more about the types of services that we provide as a managed service provider, contact us here