While companies are starting to invest more in technology, there is still a strong push to do more with less. So, what do you do? If you’re not an IT expert or a cloud specialist you’re probably uncertain of how to provide annual budgetary numbers or implement the best solutions. If you are a seasoned IT manager, you’re probably looking to turn routine, daily operations into a predictable cost structure. In both cases, a knowledgeable IT partner can provide needed insight and assistance.
So, how does a managed technology partnership work? Your business would outsource day-to-day management responsibilities as a strategic method to improve operations and cut expenses. Outsourcing is available in various forms ranging from taking control of specific technology services to complete outsourcing of IT support.
If you’re considering partnering with a managed services provider (MSP), there are several considerations to explore.
Does the provider utilize documented processes for supporting your environment? Making sure your partner is process driven helps to minimize issues that can cause downtime.
It seems like common sense, but you need to make sure that the provider has the technical expertise necessary to handle all your technology support. Ask about their engineering and technical staff, technology certifications, competencies and how many engineers they have available to support your business.
Ensure that the provider will implement best practices within your technology environment. Utilizing best practices can help your technology last longer, perform better, and be more secure.
Ask about the provider’s service levels, and determine how that fits with your business’s needs. Not all providers offer the same service level agreements, and not all companies require the same levels of service - make sure that the partner you pick can meet your organization’s needs.
Often overlooked, but very important - ensure that your provider is willing to manage your other technology vendors. Most company executives don't realize how much time employees spend communicating with various technology vendors. Having your IT partner handle this will save your company time and money.
Does the provider have a dedicated customer service representative? Do you have access to the provider's management should you need to discuss issues?
Security and Compliance
In today’s world of Ransomware and Phishing attacks, make sure you understand how the provider plans to protect your company from security threats. If you are a business that has regulatory or compliance requirements, check that the solutions the provider is using meet those requirements.
While most MSPs have some form of technology advisor, a true partner should be able to provide more than just advice on what technologies are available. Look for a partner that can discuss your business with you and help plan your technology initiatives to meet your businesses goals. Make certain that they will work with you to develop and maintain an ongoing IT roadmap and budget to help keep your business technology up to date.
To minimize downtime and costs, you need a partner who is proactively monitoring and maintaining your technology. Find out how a provider does this and what activities they perform to help extend the life of your investments and maximize the productivity of your users.
Communication is one of the most critical components of a successful partnership. You should be comfortable talking with your provider and sharing information, while your partner should provide regular updates that are easy to understand.
Like any long-term relationship, you should take the time to get to know the provider you are going to partner with. Ensuring that they meet your technology, cultural and communication needs will lead to an experience that will be mutually beneficial to both parties.
Over the next few months we’ll be exploring each of these in-depth, so visit this page regularly to explore each aspect in greater detail.