Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a strategic move that could streamline and safeguard your business. Working with an MSP cuts costs and reduces complexity, while also freeing your IT staff for more strategic projects.
However, to get the most out of your MSP, you need to build a relationship with them and make a few institutional changes. Here are seven tips to enable you get the best possible return on investment:
Set clear expectations
You must set clear expectations with your MSP right from the beginning. Using a statement of work, clearly define what you expect from the MSP including what to expect from the onboarding process, what is the MSP's responsibility, and who is responsible for setting up new hardware or new upgrades when they are required.
Being upfront with your MSP about what you expect from them will build a strong foundation for a successful relationship.
Use your MSP to complement existing IT staff
Your managed IT service provider should complement your IT team. Instead of having your MSP take over the roles of your internal IT staff, you should use their services to ensure that your IT staff has more time to focus on more strategic projects. Your MSP should only be an extension of your current IT staff, not a replacement.
Focus on building a relationship
One of the best ways to ensure you are getting the best from your MSP is to have a sustainable and proactive relationship with them. Ensure that you use their expertise to evaluate your existing systems, workstations, and servers.
If your managed service provider offers free consultations, ensure you take full advantage of such meetings as you can easily gather strategic advice that will help you plan your future projects more efficiently.
Work out a clear data backup and recovery
Even if you already have the most secure file storage system, encrypted data, and the most advanced and secure systems, you need a backup.
Even with the best security in place, your data might still get compromised in the future due to human error, virus attacks, hackers, natural disasters, or machine errors. Considering how valuable your data is to your business, you should put in measures to protect it. Work together with your MSP to create a comprehensive data backup and recovery plan. Go through the plan step by step and test the recovery beforehand to ensure it is reliable.
Don’t be afraid to move on to another MSP
As your business grows, you might find that you have outgrown your current MSP.
You can tell when you have outgrown your MSP because you keep getting the same problems and issues from your managed service provider. If you notice such a pattern, don’t be afraid to move on to another who is better suited to handle your business.
Remember that the point of having an MSP is so they can help you improve your business by providing real value. If you are not getting any value from your current provider, it’s time to move on.
Before the contract between you and your MSP starts, create a plan that you will use to evaluate the effectiveness of your managed services. Let the managed service provider know that you will be using this specific set of metrics to evaluate them. This way, your MSP can put their best efforts into the issues that matter most to you.
Using your set guidelines, conduct periodic assessments and let your MSP know where they are not measuring up. This way, you give them a chance to offer you better services and give you positive results.
Trust your MSP
You have already done your due diligence and hired what you believe to be the best team of IT experts to help you with your needs. Trust that you have made the right decision and allow the MSP to do their job. Don’t be too controlling over how you want them to do their job.
Keep in mind that a managed service provider works with several businesses at once, they have already developed methods of working that work for them and their clients. As long the MSP is meeting the goals you set together, and they are not doing anything unethical, illegal or disruptive, allow them to use their methodologies.
Working with a managed service provider should help alleviate your IT-related stress by providing continued support. It’s not just a quick fix for when you have a problem. We hope that the tips we have discussed above will help you get more out of your managed IT service provider.
At Fizen Technology, we are dedicated to providing top-notch managed services to our clients and IT service Partners. Contact us today to see how our team can help you solve your IT challenges.