Choosing the right managed service provider MSP is the most crucial business decision you will ever make. The right partner will make a tremendous difference to your business and bottom line. The wrong partner, however, will quickly become a liability, draining your finances and your time.
Below we review eight questions to ask a managed IT provider. These questions will help you determine whether an MSP has the necessary expertise to address your ever-changing business needs.
1. Do your calls get answered by a live staff?
A competent MSP will provide multiple channels to get in touch, including a phone contact for their help desk that gets answered by live personnel. Beware of managed IT providers who place too much emphasis on live portals, chats, and emails or contact forms as their primary contact channels. While these are great channels to communicate low-priority issues, your business should be able to reach live personnel and receive on-demand assistance if needed.
2. What competitive advantages do you offer?
Every successful enterprise has a competitive edge that attracts its most valued customers. For instance, Zappos and Southwest Airlines pride themselves on superior customer service while Walmart banks on easy accessibility, variety, and low prices.
When selecting a managed service, it’s vital to determine which service offers the most benefits for the company’s clients or end-users. IT departments in an organization may decide to use different MSPs, while a small or medium-sized enterprise may be better off using a bundle of services from an MSP.
A company’s decision-makers must dig deeper than surface-level benefits to determine which provider will protect their competitive advantage. So, when choosing a managed service, ask how the service will help your enterprise maintain its competitive advantage in an ever-changing business landscape.
3. Do you offer after-hours or offsite support?
It’s wise to select a managed IT provider that offers remote and onsite support. While most technical issues can be resolved remotely, there’s often an under appreciated value to speaking to MSPs in person. In most cases, technicians will be asked questions by clients that they wouldn’t have thought of calling in. You also need a team that is ready to put the best foot forward in the event of an emergency. So, ask whether the MSP blends onsite and remote support in the event of an emergency.
4. How can you help businesses become cloud-based?
One of the goals of outsourcing IT to a managed service provider is to bring cloud-like characteristics to operations, achieve scalability, agility, and simplicity. The rising challenge for organizations is to maintain operations using their current networks, hardware, SAN applications – while trying out next-generation hyper-converged infrastructure. MSPs help businesses manage cloud migration, thus helping them optimize cloud capabilities and functionalities. So, ask how the MSP helps enterprises become more cloud-based.
5. Do you have written guidelines for response times?
One of the most common complaints by clients is the slow response times by their previous MSPs. There are multiple reasons for slow response times, including the inability to track open issues, staffing levels, lack of systems, software, or processes. Regardless, you shouldn’t be burdened by the provider’s inability to communicate well and promptly.
Some managed IT providers are willing to engage in a Service Level Agreement, where the response times are well-defined within the scope of the service agreement. This provision often comes with a premium that you may or may not be willing to pay for. Either way, ensure that the MSP has at least some internal guidelines for escalating and responding to technical issues.
6. Do you have errors or omissions E&O insurance?
If one of the MSP technicians makes a judgment error, causing loss of data and costly system failures, who is responsible? Any reputable service provider must be able to show proof of E&O insurance, which provides comprehensive coverage in the event of an omission or error (on the provider’s part) that has caused a financial loss.
7. Can you provide all network documentation: warranties, hardware devices, passwords, software licenses, and user information?
As a business, it’s crucial to access network documentation and access everything you own, even though access is limited to specific key personnel. Some managed IT providers are reluctant to provide even the most basic information to their clients, as it gives them job security and more control. Your MSP should provide you with a complete inventory on an ongoing basis.
Bastionpoint has Your Information Technology Needs Covered
I provide CIO and IT Support Services alongside a mid-sized technical support team of engineers for business. Bastionpoint Technology is a managed service provider for businesses ranging from 1-500 users! We specialize in Legal, Medical, and Professional services, but support so much more. Retail, Finance, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Non-Profits, and you’ve certainly heard of our clients. We offer unlimited on-demand services, with an on-demand price point to meet every client’s needs. Just call on us – we put your business first!