Addova blogHow To Choose The Best Managed Service Provider (MSP) For Your Business
If you have ever been asked to consider an MSP as part of your IT development plan, a simple Google search will provide you with nearly thousands of results, so where would you start? You may even be asking yourself: what exactly is an MSP, and how they can benefit my organization?
An MSP, or Managed Service Provider, provides server monitoring and IT maintenance services for a business. This solution can be deployed in lieu of having in-house IT department or a stand-alone solution for companies who have a small – or no IT department. An MSP can be an extension for in-house IT departments who need to extend their responsibilities and resources, or they can manage the entire IT infrastructure for companies with no IT team.
There are many benefits to using an MSP partner, but choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help speed up the MSP selection process, so you can quickly find the best managed service provider suited for your IT needs.
Step 1: Focus on the quality, not the quantity.
Agreeably, while searching for an MSP partner, well-known enterprises are a safe bet in terms of credibility. While that may be the cause, it would be in the customer’s best interest to exercise due diligence to research and use reliable sources to find alternatives that may better meet their needs while driving value.
Think about it, if you had the exact same car, with the exact same features, and about the exact same price, you would probably choose the cheaper model.
Now, if you have the same car, but one has automatic windows versus the other has manual windows, but similar in price, you’d most likely choose the car with the automatic windows.
So, while large manage service providers, or well-known companies may be credible, finding an MSP who is just as reputable, but may have lower cost, or better features would be worth the investment.
The best managed service provider would be the one with the customer’s best interest to meet IT needs with cost control, and proactively and reactively support the growing requirements of the company. Most MSP partners provide similar services. It will take a little more deep-diving to find unique qualities that makes a managed service provider a better option than the next.
So, if a majority of MSP share the same business solutions, what are some things that could make one stand out amongst the rest of the competition?
- On-site and remote support
- True 24/7 monitoring
- Enterprise grade services without enterprise cost
- An on-demand CIO who can help you strategize your business’s tech needs and IT spends, so you can achieve maximum ROI
This is just a small sampling of MSP services out there. Each MSP is going to offer a different package.
The key to finding the best managed service provider for your needs is to identify the provider with the right services as well as a tailored package that meets your exact demands and budget.
You’re looking for an IT partner.
Step 2: Talk to a technician, not just a sales person.
Make sure the person you are discussing solutions for your business understand how it all works and/or pulling resources in to ensure you have accurate information, and not just selling you the highest cost service. This company will be responsible for vital operation of your business, as well as, accessing and securing your data. This requires a deep trust with your MSP partner to provide the best solutions tailor-made for your company while keeping you protected and running.
Along with that, far too frequently, businesses struggle with the significant challenges of creativity, passion and innovation from their vendors. Following status quo and collecting a monogamous invoice is easy. Find a partner who is passionate and drives your business with ideas and solutions.
Step 3: Find out what is included.
Each MSP will offer a slightly different mix of included features and benefits. The awesome thing about MSPs is that it is extremely easy to find out what is included with your services; just read the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
An SLA, spells out in detail, what your MSP is responsible for, what your company is responsible for, and what the penalties are if either party (especially the MSP) does not meet their end of the bargain.
The best managed service providers will be happy to explain every part of their SLA because they will be proud to have such a rock-solid document. (It takes a lot of experience to come up with a comprehensive SLA!)
Finally, Step 4: Check the Pricing. Make sure no secret formula is hidden.
There are various managed IT service pricing models available from managed IT service providers. These pricing models are designed to meet the business objectives of organizations both small and large.
If you feel like the MSP you want has prices that are just slightly higher than your allocated budget, see what kind of services and options you can negotiate to get those numbers in range.
If the numbers are still too high after negotiations, ask your MSP about your expected ROI. Many businesses begin their MSP contract paying a bit more than they expect to pay, but in less than a year they see their investment pay itself back big-time and they realize what a deal those IT services were.
When considering the best approach to handling your company’s IT infrastructure, managed service providers are typically the best option. While the accumulation of managed service providers have proven an abundant trade, that makes it more difficult for individuals to find the right partner.
Our hopes are that this article helps reduce the initial intimidation that comes with facing an important sector of your business with so many options on the market.
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