Managed Service Providers Can Increase Efficiency – But how do you know if it’s the right one?
Updated: Sep 19
Companies both large and small are realising the benefits of contracting with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to provide services that fall outside the scope of their expertise or augment their existing IT team’s capacity. Small to mid-size companies, in particular, are looking to MSPs to help manage all or part of their IT needs including on-site and remote IT support and management services. The resulting partnership enables clients to gain added productivity, efficiency and cost-savings over their IT operations while keeping the organization’s technological systems running at peak efficiency. When choosing an MSP, price isn’t the only thing you should consider. The right MSP isn’t just a technology provider but a strategic partner who can help optimize your operations and provide value that have a real and lasting impact on your business.
Some of the Performance Benefits of Having Your IT Managed Include:
· Focus on core business objectives - Companies that focus on their core expertise are able to pay greater attention to building their brand, increasing sales and cultivating profits. While their professional teams are dedicated to providing a superior customer experience for clients, the MSP is working hard to keep the client organization’s IT systems and services running. MSP will also ramp up services when business volumes, seasonal cycles and new projects demand.
· Deployment of Best Practice Processes and Systems - One of the most essential requirements for selecting a managed IT services partner is selecting a partner with the knowledge of industry-specific compliance requirements (e.g., HIPPA, PCI/DSS, SOX and other requirements), technology partner certifications, (ISO 9001, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, etc.) and personnel clearances (e.g., DOD) to ensure your operations and your data are kept confidential and safe.
· 24/7/365 Monitoring and Support - While IT staff members are off-premises after hours, corporate computing systems never sleep. They’re hard at work updating applications, processing data, performing backups, serving VPN users and processing online orders and requests. MSPs can provide third party maintenance support around the clock, monitoring systems to nip potential problems in the bud and take the burden off already overworked IT staffs.
· Economies of Scale - These world-class assets are made available to clients at a fraction of what they would have to spend to acquire them on their own. Client organizations benefit from the high-volume cost savings MSPs are able to pass on.
· Reduced Costs and Unplanned Expenditures - There is a direct correlation between and performance. A partnership with the right MSP can cost-effectively add incremental capabilities to your IT team and move your company from a reactive state to a proactive state. As a result the company’s IT infrastructure service needs are met by a measured and thoughtful approach. The relationship is a cohesive partnership in which the external team serves as an extension of the company’s internal team.
Choosing the Right IT Partner
An increasing number of organizations are partnering with MSPs. Ideally MSPs monitor a client’s IT environment and proactively handle many routine tasks. MSPs can help increase business efficiency by ensuring that the systems are performing optimally, and problems are being resolved promptly, all for a predictable monthly budget. They also relieve some of the burden on in-house IT staff enabling them to devote more time to strategic business initiatives.
However, not all MSPs are created equal. Many companies offer managed services owing to the popularity of the business model. One can find them across the spectrum differing in size, capabilities and technology investments. While all provide a gamut of services for a quoted price, choosing the right MSP isn’t as simple as comparing the checklists and going with the lowest-cost provider.
Best-in-class MSPs approach you with an understanding that they are not just supporting your technology, but your business. They begin by asking a lot of questions covering critical operations and strategic objectives. They ask questions like which processes are business-critical? What is your tolerance for risk? Are there any bottlenecks that could be eliminated through the application of technology?
These questions allow them to gain an understanding of your organization which will in turn will help them effectively evaluate your IT environment. The overall comprehensive assessment will include an analysis of your hardware, software applications, network and security tools. The MSP will note any systems that are outdated and identify potential gaps in your security posture. The goal here is not to sell you a bunch of equipment but to ensure your environment is robust enough to meet your needs. A good MSP will be in a position to explain, in business terms, why these upgrades are essential.
The MSP will also take into consideration the in-house resources and skill set that supports your organisation. This will help determine the nature of responsibilities including the ones that should be handed over to the MSPs and how your staff can escalate problems to and interact with the MSP. This will also provide an assurance to your IT team that the MSP is not there to replace them, but to enable the organization to function more effectively.
When it comes to delivering services, highly qualified MSPs make extensive use of advanced technology and have well-defined procedures in place. Their network operations centre (NOCs) are equipped with the latest monitoring and management tools, enabling them to handle most issues remotely and promptly. They are known to follow industry best practices, document everything, and have repeatable processes that ensure your environment is managed correctly and consistently. With the right MSP, you gain an entire team of well-qualified engineers so you are not dependent on one person who knows your IT environment.
Best-in-class MSPs establish trust. They welcome questions and requests for customer references. They understand that you need to have confidence in their expertise and the quality of their services.
When choosing an MSP, price is one of the last things you should consider. The right MSP isn’t just a technology provider but a strategic partner who can help optimize your operations and provide value that had a real and lasting impact on your business.