Outsourced managed IT services can reduce in-house IT costs by 36 percent, according to the IDC white paper, “Predictive Insight, Automation and Expertise Drive Added Value for Managed Services.” We know it can be tough for IT managers to land on the right managed services provider (MSP) to hire, though. Aside from the basics of reputation, location, and technical expertise, IT managers would do well to focus on other areas when selecting the right MSP to work with for their technical needs. These areas are what sets high-quality MSPs apart as true partners in your business.
5 Evaluation Points for Finding High-Quality MSPs
After you put together your initial list of MSPs, your next step is to dig deeper to uncover the right fit for your organization. These five evaluation points will help you find an MSP that will be a long-term partner and dedicated to your organization’s success.
An average MSP will know the ins and outs of IT. A high-quality MSP will know the ins and outs of IT as it relates to your industry. For example, if you use proprietary software that’s specific to your industry, ask potential MSPs about their experience with that software. Ask what other clients they’ve worked within your industry and for testimonials and references that reflect that experience.
If your organization is part of a highly-regulated industry, such as healthcare or financial services, ask them about their approach and their experience with compliance. Highly-regulated industries have specific requirements around data protection and security, and it would be a steep learning curve for an inexperienced MSP.
Many organizations turn to managed IT services so they can take a more proactive approach to technology. They want to move away from waiting until things break to fix them. A high-quality MSP will share this philosophy, taking a proactive approach to every step of your relationship, including:
- Assessment—Consider asking your prospective MSP how they approach your current technology. Do they do a thorough assessment? Do they make recommendations for improvement? How do they ensure their recommendations are in line with your budget?
- Deployment—Every technology deployment comes with its own unique set of challenges. How does your MSP ensure a smooth deployment? When issues arise, what measures do they take to ensure installation and deployment will be completed on schedule?
- Adoption—What support does the MSP provide after deployment? How do they help end-users adopt new technology successfully?
A high-quality MSP will do more than just address your technology; they will ensure that your technology is truly working for you and meeting your business needs.
Clear Communication Around Total Cost of Ownership
One of the advantages of working with an MSP is that they offer predictable IT costs. Typically, MSPs offer inclusive pricing that’s spelled out in their service level agreement (SLA). Along the way, though, your equipment will need to be upgraded and replaced. A high-quality MSP will be upfront about those costs and about the total cost of ownership for the technology solutions they recommend, including the cost of installing the technology, and the costs of any required software or licenses, the impact on your electricity costs, and the cost of backing up in recovering the technology implement.
An Understanding of Your Existing Technology
A high-quality MSP will have an in-depth understanding of your existing tech stack. Technology budgets are tight in many organizations, so the first step to establishing a lasting partnership is a thorough understanding of your current technology and how it’s serving your organization. They will have a clear plan for upgrading the components that need to be upgraded and for maintaining the components that are meeting your needs. The right MSP won’t recommend new technology simply because it’s new; they’ll recommend tested solutions backed by reputable companies who stand behind their technology offerings, and they’ll only recommend those solutions when they are necessary or when implementing the technology will help you meet your business goals.
Partner vs. Provider
Even though your MSP will be an outside company, a high-quality MSP will see themselves as a partner in the success of your business. To assess how they view and build your relationship, consider asking questions such as:
- What does your discovery process look like?
- What does your onboarding process look like?
- How often do you meet with the companies you partner with?
- Is there a primary point of contact?
- How often do you assess how the partnership is going?
- How do you communicate about ongoing technology needs?
Their answers should align with your preferences for communication and show an interest in and commitment to your organization. They should take the time to learn about your overall business goals, not just the ones directly related to technology. By knowing the ins and outs of your organization and your goals for growth, they can implement scalable solutions that will grow with your business.
IP Consulting: A High-Quality Partner
At IP Consulting, we pride ourselves on being partners in your business. We take the time to listen to what you need and ensure our solutions meet those needs. We’re experienced across several industries and have knowledgeable engineers who are willing to go the extra mile. Contact us today to find out more about our managed IT service offerings and how they can help you deliver stellar results to your customers.