The last year saw the unprecedented rise of managed IT services that promise to give businesses a more affordable and dependable way to address their technology woes. Small companies, in particular, are turning to cloud technologies and managed services to cut capital expenses and enjoy proactive support. Unfortunately, the highly competitive managed services market has left business decision makers overwhelmed by choice. What’s worse is that there’s no shortage of inadequate vendors who are more concerned with short-term profitability than lasting partnerships.
So, what defining characteristics should you look for in an MSP?
#1. Excellent response and resolution times
In today’s technology-driven business world, it doesn’t take long for unscheduled downtime to lead to unacceptable business losses. Whether your website’s down, your email server has gone offline, or you’ve just suffered a data breach, you’ll need to get things back up and running as soon as possible.
MSPs are bound by the terms of their service level agreements (SLAs) to respond to support tickets within a given timeframe. You’ll want to look for an excellent track record when it comes to customer support and resolution times.
#2. Industry-specializing staff
Be wary of any MSP that claims to be everything to everyone. Unless they’re very large, chances are they can’t possibly serve every type of business across every industry to the level their customers demand. If you’re in healthcare, for example, it’s imperative to choose an MSP that has experience working with businesses in that sector.
Specialization is necessary for addressing industry-specific technology challenges, such as compliance. You should also look for local expertise, since face-to-face meetings are still essential.
#3. Consistently satisfied clients
A quick search on Google should be enough to tell you whether it’s worth working with a particular MSP. However, relying on ratings and reviews isn’t enough, especially when you’ll be putting confidential data in someone else’s hands.
Even if a provider has a great reputation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the most suitable choice for you. Don’t be afraid to ask any potential MSP for references, and make sure to ask their other clients about their experiences. A dependable MSP should be more than happy to provide references.
#4. Flexible technology integration
Businesses often choose to outsource IT to overcome challenges of scale. With technological obsolescence and constantly changing operating environments comes the need to regularly change direction and adapt with demand. That’s why you need an MSP that can accommodate your evolving business needs in the short and long term.
Moreover, watch out for MSPs that try to convince you to do away with your existing technology infrastructure. A decent MSP should be able to augment your IT department, not replace it entirely. Remember, you should be looking for tailor-made technology solutions and strategies that suit your business needs first, not those of your service provider.
#5. Valuable partner relationships
If an MSP is interested only in upselling, cross-selling, and short-term gain, then you’ll want to steer clear. Partnering with a dependable MSP is about building a long-term relationship and an exchange of value that drives real business success.
MSPs should have a vested interest in the success of their clients, so they should be asking questions to get to know your business and the challenges it faces. More importantly, they should align technology with your business goals, but that won’t happen if every interaction pans out more like a sales pitch rather than a meaningful, two-way interaction.
ZENOPS is a strategic technology partner that works with businesses seeking to enhance their processes and boost employee productivity. Let’s have a chat today to talk about your goals.