What to look for when choosing a Managed Service Partner
With plenty options available, choosing an IT Partner can be a daunting prospect. We've put together a list of considerations to help you choose a partner that will work best for your requirements.
- Check to see if they offer a fully managed service or a simple repair operation
A long-term solution is better than a short-term fix
A Managed Service Partner (MSP) offers a fixed-price repair, no matter what goes wrong. Variable billing or Pay as You Go (PAYG), can be costly when issues arise. PAYG models may also mean the service provider gets paid when there are problems, so they could be less interested in developing a future-proof system for your company.
- What to look for in the small print
Terms and Conditions are key
It may sound obvious, but a cheaper price often means things are not included, which can lead to shock bills. Take time to familiarise yourself with the provider’s Terms and Conditions. Ask them for examples of what is not included, so you are clear.
- How adaptable are they?
Flexibility is crucial
As your business adapts to the challenges created by the pandemic, IT providers need to be able to suit the needs of the changing work patterns in your company. Providers are increasingly being asked to upgrade telephony and internal communications systems and offer on-going support in line with these environmental changes.
- Getting the right deal
Get the best for price for your business
As cashflow varies, an adaptable IT plan is one less thing to worry about. A pricing structure that can be flexed according to changes or expansion to your business will make sense both in the short-term and when building back.
- Take time to examine their case studies
'Experience is everything'
It is always an extra benefit if a partner can prove their experience with other clients; perhaps they have worked with some sizeable clients you might recognise in your sector? Request testimonials and see if it is possible to gain a first-hand recommendation.
- Look at the size of their workforce
Ask about their team
Waiting on an IT fix when you are about to go onto a virtual client meeting can be extremely stressful. Before you commit to an IT provider, it is a good idea to see how large their service desk is. Knowing how many lines of support you can access is reassuring. Similarly, the expertise that accompanies each line including their project engineers could be a factor that massively improves their service.
- How fast is their response time?
Turn detective and call their support line
A quick call is a simple way to assess their support line and the speed and professionalism of handling calls. You may like to ask if the provider operates a first call fix policy. It is important that calls are dealt with as quickly as possible rather than just logged. Often, first line engineers in smaller companies do not have the relevant experience and are unable to fix the issue immediately, so there is a tendency to log the call, lengthening your potential down-time.
- What are their capabilities?
Check to see if they have been externally rated
Of course, knowledge of technology is vital. This is even better if backed up with accreditations. Often, companies like Microsoft, will grade providers “Gold, Silver or Partner” to give you a quick insight into a providers ‘knowledge and experience.
- Make sure everything you need is under one roof
In-house is better than outsourced
It is important to establish if the IT provider has all the skills you need in house. Some providers may outsource difficult problems if they do not have the internal expertise This may result in in longer resolution times. Supporting your strategy with multiple providers can be time-consuming and often more expensive in the long run.
- How strict are their rules and regulations
Ensuring compliance standards
IT is a domain which is largely regulated, though there are occasions when it comes under attack for non-compliance. Ensure your MSP is meeting privacy and quality controls along with the minimum compliance standards (such as ISO). Knowing that all compliances are being met and that your data is protected and secure, will give you one less thing to worry about.