In a previous blog, I posed the question of whether Managed Services was right for you, and maybe you’ve since decided that your business would benefit from the luxury of not worrying about your IT environment and free yourself from the headache of costly downtime. Your next step becomes choosing the Managed Services Provider (MSP) that is right for you.
Depending on your industry and the size of your business, you may be looking for specific things from the array of offerings that fall under the Managed Services umbrella. After almost two decades in the IT solutions industry, I have compiled the following a short-list of qualities to look for when choosing to enlist the support of an MSP.
Depth of Skills: When you are in the market for a Managed Services Provider, it is anything but an impulse buy. You’ll want to make sure you have done your homework in terms of researching the company, seeking out client testimonials and deciding if there is a trail of success and competence behind your MSP. Does the MSP go beyond basic operating system maintenance and delve into managing change, virtualization, high availability, mobility, security and cloud? As your business grows, you’ll want to know that your MSP has the skills to keep up with your needs.
Broad and adaptable services portfolio: When your IT environment expands, condenses or changes in any way, make sure that your Managed Service Provider is willing to adapt with you. Ask how often and how much it costs to make adjustments to your current agreement as your business and IT environment evolves and changes.
Flexible Packages: Many business owners and IT departments are concerned that they will sign onto a monthly service contract and end up paying for services they won’t use. A reputable MSP that understands the needs of your unique IT environment will work with you to recommend packages that align well with your IT requirements, such as a “pay-for-what-you-use” model.
Prompt Response Time: When monitoring of your IT system is of high priority for you, you will want to know how quickly your MSP addresses deficiencies and alerts. Be sure that your Managed Services Provider offers the support hours that you require.
Integrative Collaboration: Your business may include in-house IT professionals, and you will want to know how prepared your MSP is to educate, collaborate and work with your in-house team to keep your business running efficiently and avoid a waste of time and money.
Evolution and Innovation: Technology is one of the fastest-changing industries in the world, and businesses must be consistently upgrading and adapting to change as technology is improved and utilized in different and exciting ways. Ask how the MSP remains on the cutting edge of industry trends and best practices so that you know your business has access to the newest services and solutions out there.
While choosing a Managed Services Provider is not a snap-decision, understanding what you need from your provider and asking the right questions of them and their services is a good place to start. How have you gone about choosing your MSP? What other factors helped you make your decision? I look forward to your thoughts below.