With how quickly the market’s requirements are changing, working with a managed service provider isn’t just a benefit for your business — it’s quickly becoming a requirement.
From keeping track of cyberthreats to monitoring your IT infrastructure for signs of wear and tear, your business can’t handle its technical requirements alone forever; fortunately, this is precisely what a managed service provider does — and more. It’s the reason why the managed services industry is skyrocketing in profitability and why more businesses than ever are outsourcing their IT services to an MSP who has the experience and credibility necessary to keep operations running smoothly.
But before your business rushes to bring on a provider, there are a few questions to ask beforehand. After all, they’ll be in charge of one of the most crucial aspects of your business; it’s wise to ensure they’re the right fit.
1. Understand What Services They Provide
Just like any other business, MSPs can vary in what they offer, as well as in their overall capabilities. To keep from hiring an MSP who can’t meet your demands, you’ll have to research exactly what they can provide to your business: Are they a full-service provider who can handle various parts of your infrastructure? Or, are they a specialist who only focuses on one piece, such as cloud services?
Once you have a broad idea of their scope, dig a little deeper. Does their IT helpdesk run 24/7, or does it take a break on holidays? How large is their company?
Finally, compare these details to your requirements — how well do they match? Just as you wouldn’t want an MSP whose abilities fall flat of your needs, you may not want a more expensive provider with services you won’t even use.
2. Determine Their Proactivity
It’s unlikely that your business will look the same five years from now. Thanks to ever-changing market requirements and — hopefully — further growth of your operations, your MSP will have to adapt to your shifting needs.
Fortunately, there is a fair share of excellent MSPs who understand this reality and plan for it accordingly. You’ll want to find one of these MSPs, usually by examining how proactive they promise to be during the span of your contract. Look for providers who prioritise innovation, strategy and long-term objectives into their plans, along with a track record of being flexible.
3. Look for Signs of Stability
Competitors are always looking for a way to get ahead. Your business can’t afford any detrimental slipups that set you back a few places — especially when it comes to your IT infrastructure.
To avoid losing momentum, you need an MSP who plans for the long-term and has the evidence to prove it. This might require a bit of investigation on your end, but it’s the knowledge that can keep you from choosing an MSP who might not be around anymore in the next four years: a headache you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
You’ll ultimately want to know the answers to these following points to determine how stable an MSP is:
- The amount/type of clients they work with
- How long they’ve been in business
- Evidence of past success with previous clients
4. Don’t Settle for Stingy
Managed service providers are keen on acquiring the latest innovations to support their own operations. Still, your business can further benefit by finding an MSP who’s willing to share their tools. From automation to AI, there’s a diverse array of new creations that both parties can utilise to improve upon each other; having an MSP who refuses to pass along their knowledge does nothing for your business’s efficiency.
5. Understand the Transition Process
Handing your IT infrastructure over to a managed service provider isn’t guaranteed to be a complete breeze, but any good MSP will make it their mission to make the transfer as smooth as possible.
You’ll be able to tell if an MSP has a worthwhile transition process depending on their transparency. Are they willing to provide you with insight into what it’ll look like? Is their timeline organised and responsive to your needs? Or, do they seem too disorganised to give you a definite answer?
Know your worth, and ensure you keep your business far away from an MSP with a convoluted transition program by collecting as much information as you can.
6. Search for Unity
The agreement between you and your MSP is more than a partnership: it’s a relationship, and your provider should be willing to treat it as such. Finding an MSP who is just as invested and passionate about your success as you are is one of the greatest tools you can have on your side.
Search for MSPs with a record of fostering long-term relationships with their clients — relationships that spur success. Ultimately, this unity will make for improved engagement across all aspects of your business, from customer relations to employee satisfaction. In many factors, the provider you choose becomes the foundation for your entire workforce, so find one who’s eager to invest their time and resources into making it the best it can be.
The considerations listed above are, of course, more of a starting point. By examining your business from the inside out, you should quickly develop a list of additional questions better related to your needs and requirements. As you do so, you’ll be more likely to find an MSP worth your while — and thrive because of it.