When it comes to your IT services, there are so many choices and options that choosing the right partner can be a challenge. To help you navigate the road ahead, Managed Services Providers (MSP) aim to provide your business with access with high skilled multi-disciplinary IT support. Whether you are looking to completely outsource your IT needs or complement your existing team, an MSP could be a valuable and flexible addition to your organization. But before you make your choice, there are a few important questions to ask and other aspects to consider to ensure you get the best IT partner possible.
Here are the top five traits to expect from your MSP:
- Partner vs Provider: Although your MSP is an outsourced company, the top MSPs view themselves as a partner in helping your business succeed and grow. They should take the time to learn about your business’s 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. To best assess how they view and build your relationship, consider asking questions such as: How often will they assess how the partnership is going? How will they help build your business strategy?
- Innovation: The IT landscape is continually evolving and you should expect a partner who evolves with it. Staying ahead of the curve to mitigate advancing threats, while also helping you stay nimble and competitive. For example, a question to ask would be, how recently have they upgraded their security capabilities and offerings? Or, will they offer recommendations on hardware and software upgrades?
- Consistent Customer Service: A top tier MSP goes beyond the day to day maintenance, repair, and ongoing consultation of your IT systems. Seamless integration and communication with all employees is essential to the long term success of the partnership and what sets the top tier MSP apart. Ideally, an MSP will always let you know what is going on with your network and spend time with every member of the staff to provide end user training and instructions on industry best practices. Their focus should be on giving you the peace of mind that comes with security and ongoing support. A good way to determine the level of customer service within an MSP would be to ask for references and to meet the team of engineers who will be working with you and your team regularly.
- Well Connected Experts: A high-quality MSP will not only know the ins and outs of IT, but specifically as it relates to your industry. For example, if you use an industry specific, proprietary software, ask potential MSPs about their experience with that software. Ask what other clients they’ve worked with within your industry and for testimonials and references that reflect that experience. Additionally, the top tier MSP offers a wide variety of different services and products to choose from with corresponding certifications of expertise within those services and products; allowing you to apply the right solution at the right price. You should ask how they plan to integrate future technology into your business, as well as a list of the partnerships and corresponding certifications they have with manufacturers and distributors.
- Flexibility and Scalability: You want an MSP that will make it easy and affordable to add new workstations, employee accounts, or locations. Depending on your industry, you may want to investigate scalable solutions as that can accommodate increased data. Above all, you need a flexible partner who is willing to meet not only your budget, but also a world class MSP should have the flexibility to collaborate with multi-vendor environments or integrate your old systems with new ones according to new updates in pertinent technology. You may want to have a hybrid environment on premises with servers and others in the cloud. Your line of business application may be critical to your business operations. A top tier MSP will offer flexible and scalable options to meet your needs.
When it comes to finding a managed service provider to oversee your network, it pays to find a good fit. While each company needs different things, MSPs who possess these five traits will typically perform well and help your business grow. Choosing the right MSP will give your organization peace of mind regarding technical operations and will alleviate valuable time for your personnel to focus on more critical tasks.