The demand for Managed IT Service Providers is on the rise, especially for SMBs. The right MSP can help a business achieve enhanced uptime and leverage efficient tech solutions that drive productivity. Making the most of MSP services can, however, pose challenges for many business owners. Here are some key ways that can prove worthwhile.
What is the best way to get the most of an MSP?
Organizations looking to leverage the services of an MSP provider need to embrace transparency through all their interactions. When escalated issues come up, it is prudent to discuss and resolve such issues conclusively. Businesses should also work out the yearly reports transparently and agree on items scheduled for upgrades or replacement in good time.
Raymond Mobayed of 4IT believes that transparency should extend to system recommendations. “Business should partner with their MSPs to focus on improving critical IT areas including, cybersecurity, infrastructure, business alignment, and automation over time,” he says.
Checks and balances on agreement counter reviews will also ensure that businesses only pay for what they use. Finding an MSP with an inclusive, unlimited service offering can also help your business make significant cost savings.
With transparency, businesses can ensure that they communicate their needs clearly to MSPs. They’ll also understand your technology’s current and future states along with your budget requirements.
According to Lisa Weingust of Sysoft, maintaining open communication with your MSP can save your business from the pitfalls of poor technology planning and decisions.
“Keeping lines of communication open helps you learn about how technology relates to your business goals. Open communication lines also encourage the free exchange of constructive feedback, ensuring that the MSP serves your needs efficiently,” she says.
What is the most important attribute to look for in an MSP?
MSPs with transparency are the best bet for today’s businesses. Before outsourcing your IT needs to a service provider, meet their management team to understand how they dedicate their resources to various service areas. Find out their helpdesk’s efficiency and the tools they use to monitor infrastructure health. Explore if the MSP has a robust security support system and how their technical account management.
Businesses also need to hold MSPs accountable for different key performance indicators. Maintaining system uptime, for example, should be at 99.9%, according to Carl Fransen of CTECH Consulting Group. “An MSP should track their support within a Service Level Agreement to maintain acceptable response and resolution times,” he adds.
Sysoft’s Lisa Weingust insists that an excellent MSP often looks for ways to improve existing client systems. “An efficient MSP constantly assesses your systems and helps you determine when it’s time to retire the old tech in favor of more reliable systems. Assessing potential MSP’s technology approach and focus areas will help you decide whether or not they’ll serve your interests,” she says.
John Gambill of GO Concepts Inc suggests that businesses should scout for MSPs with broad experience in your industry. Such MSPs understand the industry’s unique needs and keep up with current trends. An MSP that focuses on a specific industry develops tailored systems, methods, and policies to match your business needs.
Why should you focus on these attributes?
IT management involves people, processes and tools dedicated to areas that MSPs handle. Understaffed MSPs can fail to focus on these areas and may not meet your business’ pressing needs. Businesses also need a proactive IT approach that can help you maintain seamless business processes.
Working with an MSP who understands your business goals and industry requirements can help implement tailored solutions. Your business will also benefit from professional tech support to identify and resolve issues before they get out of hand.
What’s the best way to negotiate a contract?
While negotiating a contract can be uncomfortable, it is one of the most important technology management processes. As a business owner, you’ll need to take stock of how technology helps you achieve your business goals.
“Once you are clear on a technology strategy that’ll meet your specific business needs, the contract can reflect the required service levels against the associated costs,” Lisa Weingust advises, “During contract negotiation, pay close attention to time, cost, and quality. These factors influence each other once service delivery begins.”
When drafting contracts, ensure that you include an objective way out if the MSP fails to match the service level agreements. Include reasonable resolution periods and penalties/ a canceling clause if they fail to resolve issues on time. Raymond Mobayed encourages businesses and MSPs to have Cyber Liability Insurance. “Work on preventing security incidents but have fall-back plans in case a security incident occurs,” he says.
The right MSP can steer your company to immense business growth with efficient services, enhanced productivity, and reduced downtime. Finding that perfect MSP ensures that you can utilize your IT resources to the fullest. MSPs who take a proactive approach to technology can help keep your IT systems up and running round the clock.
Before you settle on an MSP, ensure that they are truly a partner. Once they are aligned to your business goals, you can leverage technology and drive business productivity. Ensure that they also have open communication channels that’ll allow you to reach out whenever you need support. Perform enough background checks on potential service providers before settling for a suitable option.