Deciding on the most appropriate Managed Service Provider (MSP) for your organisation can be tricky. A few considerations can ensure you find an MSP that's the right fit and, offers a level of support to meet the specific needs of your organisation.

Choosing the right MSP should provide your organisation with a relatively seamless IT environment for employees and, deliver a good Return on Investment (ROI). Onboarding an MSP with a skilled, experienced team that understands the latest technology and follows best industry practices is crucial.

Tip#1 Ensure all services are scalable

While the scope of services you require from your MSP may begin as quite minimal, choosing an MSP with an extensive portfolio of services is important to ensure your organisation will be supported with future growth. For example, a scalable MSP would support physical and virtual infrastructure, with public, private and hybrid clouds. If your organisation decides to scale out its cloud environment it is key that your IT provider can meet your growing needs. Choosing an MSP with a full depth of services and a scalable team should remain a primary factor when deciding to outsource IT.

Tip#2 Understand experience and identify reputation in the industry

When choosing the right MSP for your organisation, a good track record should remain a priority. An MSP with a diverse customer base will be a key indicator of its experience working across varied industries. This could include customers in education, enterprise and government sectors.

While building trust with an MSP can take time, looking for a provider that holds a positive rapport with its current customers is important. It is important for all prospects to provide customer references, case studies and testimonials during the selection phase.

Tip#3 – Create an extensive Service Level Agreement

Setting expectations via a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a key priority when deciding to onboard an MSP. To define, an SLA is a contract between an MSP and the customer which outlines the responsibilities of both parties. An SLA outlines a number of components that include the IT spend, the minimum response time, the varying levels of support an MSP can provide, the payment structure and performance standards of the provider.

It is a key priority that the SLA includes clear and measurable guidelines which ensure you are on the same page in terms of standards and, the services being offered.  By keeping your MSP responsible for SLAs, it creates accountability to deliver on what is promised. Having your MSP deliver monthly reports that outline call logging and resolution, its system uptime, backups and security checks will continue to assess whether services are being delivered effectively.

Tip#4 – Be transparent with your current IT environment 

Be open and transparent with the MSP you choose. To successfully deliver ongoing support, an MSP needs to have a comprehensive understanding of both the strengths and weaknesses of your organisation’s IT environment and, its long-term strategy. By providing this, an MSP can better understand what changes are needed to improve processes and ultimately deliver a greater ROI.

Tip#5 – Flexibility is key

An MSP that is agile and quick to respond to change will prove to be beneficial to your organisation. If your business hours change or your business direction alters, having an MSP that is able to adapt is critical. When looking at prospective providers, identifying a proven track record of tailoring to specific customer needs is key. Ask the MSP for testimonials, case studies and relevant examples that demonstrate its previous works.

Tip#6 – A proactive MSP is critical to success

Over time, your organisation will grow, teaming with an MSP that remains completely aligned with the goals and expectations of your organisation is pivotal to ensuring a successful partnership. A proactive MSP will be able to roadmap future IT initiatives and grow the IT environment with your organisation growth.

Perhaps your organisation is small or maybe it has reached a point where it could use some outside IT help. If this is the case, understanding what to consider when choosing an MSP is important.