Outsourcing IT services to a managed IT service provider is one popular way to augment your in-house talent and help provide you with the technology and support you need to move strategic initiatives forward. But whether or not you reach your IT goals depends largely on the success of the provider-customer relationship.
When it comes to IT, it’s not just about having a managed service provider (MSP) by your side to keep an eye on your technology. It’s just as much about developing a good relationship with that provider so they can bring the most value.
Here are seven things you should look for and expect from an excellent MSP:
Improved efficiency & cost savings
Whether you are a small- or medium-sized business, getting all the experts you need for every job function can be extremely cumbersome and costly. An MSP can bring the right expertise to your business without the time and expense of hiring and training in-house. It also allows you to leverage a larger, more robust IT infrastructure and strong vendor network than you may be able to build or afford on your own.
Greater flexibility & scalability
As your business grows and changes, your technology needs will change, as well. When you work with an MSP, you’re able to access exactly what you need when you need it, rather than investing in something that you’ll either outgrow quickly or that will be overly large for your needs.
Better security & compliance
You can’t underestimate the importance of having a world-class MSP or MSSP (managed security service provider), such as AccountabilIT, who is able to stay ahead of evolving cybersecurity threats. This matters for any business, and especially for those who must maintain strict compliance.
For many SMBs, it’s tricky to stay on top of all the maintenance required, and unfortunately, this means that often potential problems get missed until they reveal themselves in disastrous ways, such as a loss of data. An excellent MSP will proactively monitor and maintain your systems to protect your IT environment and make sure it’s running as optimally as it should.
Cost control & predictability
When your systems are optimized and maintained on a routine basis, not only do you avoid costly mistakes, you can be much more strategic about your IT spend.
Access to the latest technology
Adopting the latest and greatest technology may be a worthwhile investment, but if you don’t have the capital or the internal expertise to use that technology, you’re at a disadvantage. An MSP can help you bridge that gap.
Greater oversight of IT operations
Being able to see the big picture of your IT can be difficult, particularly when you need to focus on core business operations and just need your IT to work smoothly. An MSP will be dialed in to all the day-to-day operations and requirements for your systems, and can even help you see your IT in the context of long-term plans for your business.
Now that you know what to expect from a managed services partner, here are the keys to making that relationship a success.
Your MSP or MSSP should be a trusted partner, not just a service provider. Trust is developed when you as the customer have confidence in your MSP’s abilities, and when they show you through excellent customer service, responsiveness, and delivering on their promises that your business matters to them.
It shouldn’t be up to you to predict what your systems need when. Providing rapid resolution of issues when they arise — whether it’s a network failure or security becomes compromised — is something that you should anticipate and expect from your provider.
DEFINED SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS
SLAs should be specific to your account and to your business. This means that what works for another business in terms of service offerings won’t necessarily work for you. An MSP that understands your business and its requirements and doesn’t put you in the same box as every other customer is one you want to do business with. SLAs also matter because when everyone is on the same page, it sets the foundation for a strong provider-customer relationship.
PROACTIVE MONITORING & ALERTS
Keeping you in-the-know about your IT is critical to your business success, and to the success of the provider-customer relationship. You must be able to trust that your provider is ensuring uptime and is constantly keeping your IT optimized and operational.
ESTABLISHED ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
A major relationship drain can be caused by a disconnect between the provider and customer in terms of who is responsible for doing what. Set the stage for a strong relationship by outlining specifically what your internal IT staff will be tasked with, and where you expect your MSP to bring value and expertise.
EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE
The bottom line is that managed IT services isn’t just about the technology. It’s about service. We believe a customer-first culture matters above all else, and creating and delivering that sort of experience is what differentiates AccountabilIT from the rest.
Contact us at AccountabilIT to find out how we approach the customer-provider relationship. Our customer-first culture means we emphasize getting to know you and your business, so we can develop and deliver the right technology approach for that will help you grow.