Technology has become a key driver in business today, so it is imperative to have an IT team that backs your organisation and its people.

Finding and selecting the right MSP for your organization can be a daunting and time-consuming process. With no shortage of MSP providers offering a range of IT services and solutions today, it is important to choose the right MSP to meet your needs, and the ability to take your company to new levels with technology.

Here is a guide to help boost your confidence and ensure you find the right MSP to fit your company’s technology needs.

Transparency
When soliciting proposals from prospective providers, there will most likely be a considerable amount of discrepancies in the level of detail that is included in their proposals. Many providers send over a glossy marketing brochure that does not clearly explain what you are getting, or how they will handle certain elements of your IT.

Look for a provider that sends you a proposal that is well presented and contains a significant amount of detail surrounding ‘how their services work in your IT environment’. An MSP who does not put in the time and effort in developing a high-level proposal will reflect on their efforts in managing your IT environment. Here are some points a Managed Service Proposal should cover,

  • How your users access support;
  • What levels of experience your users can expect
  • What toolsets are going to be used to deliver the services;
  • How they are going to be proactive;
  • Is there a Service Level Guarantee?

It is essential for the provider to carry a high level of transparency throughout your shopping and buying experience. If they are finding it difficult to provide you with this information, it is likely they are not going to be transparent in the work they do for you.

Not just support
Working with an MSP is not just about having access to an external IT team who can provide you with advice on the infrastructure you should buy, or if your IT systems and platforms are performing and online; it is about a long-term partnership.

The right MSP looks beyond support, look for a provider that has articulated a well-rounded approach to being your IT partner, this includes the provision of advice, the user experience, the support experience and the continuous improvement of your IT environment.

Ownership and responsibility
Find an MSP you can trust. No business is perfect however, partnering with an MSP who is not afraid of taking ownership and responsibility of your IT environment will build the foundations of a trustworthy partnership.

Also, look for an MSP that can challenge your thinking. You want them to be invested and provide you with opportunities that can help improve and grow your technology with your business.

Fixed-price
Look for an MSP that offers a fixed priced model with as much remote and onsite support you need. Partnering with an MSP who charges extra for remote support for every technical issue that arises onsite is frustrating and costly. Instead, work with a partner that shares mutual benefits with your organisation.

Growth
An MSP who has been consistently growing in revenue and headcount for the past 5 years or more, will demonstrate its ability to balancing growth with service delivery. Adding additional resources to their teams will ensure customers are provided with maximum coverage to current and new technologies in the future.

Meet their people and tour their office

Request for an office tour, this will help you understand how the support structure and operations work behind closed doors. This will also give you the opportunity to meet the teams and people behind the phones and, allow you to see if they are well looked after by their own company. Working with an MSP who looks after their people will provide you with a sense of comfort as this will most likely be reflected towards your people.

Practice what they preach
Ask about the organizations own security and business systems. Do they utilise multi-factor authentication in all their systems? Are their devices within warranty? Who looks after their own internal IT systems? These are some important questions you need to ask your prospective provider to ensure they take IT security seriously. If they do not take security seriously in their own IT environment, it’s most likely they will not for yours.

Retention Rate
Ask the prospective providers to provide you with their retention (or inversely their churn rate) of customers in an annual report. Seek a provider with a low churn rate as this demonstrates their ability to keep their customers happy with their services and, maintain their customers by renewing their contracts as they expire.

Continuous improvement
The technology landscape is constantly changing and developing, work with an MSP who constantly seeks to improve. An MSP that have a continuous improvement framework in place, will drive for better improvements and innovative change. Also, make sure you request for examples of some of the initiatives they have implemented in the past 12 months, look for benefits in client experience rather than organisational gain, as this will reflect on the provider’s focus and values.

Compliance
Ensure the MSP you choose has the right checks and balances in place, and the processes the organisation follows have been audited and follow global best practices. An organisation that takes compliance seriously will help keep your organisations off the front page of tomorrow’s newspapers. Make sure they also are ISO accredited in at least ISO 9001 for quality, and ISO 27001 for data security practices.

Training and certifications

Vendors are continuously updating their products and offerings and, it is important that your MSP can keep up with these changes. Most vendors offer certification programs that are available to IT professionals, offering product training, recommendations and best practices, and tips and tricks to using their products. Make sure your MSP takes certifications seriously and are up to date, this will ensure their teams are properly trained to understand how to install and maintain vendor products and solutions, to minimise downtime and risks to your IT environment.

Employee and Customer Reviews
Jump onto online employment agencies such as Seek and Glassdoor and read the reviews from current and former employees of the organisation. An organization with less than 4 out of 5 stars may indicate high employee turnover due to poor culture and lead to knowledge leakage.

Also, look for any reviews from existing and past customers by doing a quick Google search. Read the comments, see if you can find reviews that touch on elements that are important to you. Ask them to provide you with two reference customers that you can contact via telephone and find out their opinions, experiences and, confirm whether they would recommend them to you. Speaking to existing clients will help you get some of the answers to the questions and concerns you may have.

The coffee test
Meet a member of their leadership team and gauge whether you could see yourself having coffee with them on an occasional basis. Whilst this may not eventuate, you want to make sure that they share similar values with you and your organization and, are committed to having you onboard as a customer.

If they are willing to meet and make a member of their leadership team available to you, this is a good sign! You want a member of the leadership team to invest in you to build a long-lasting relationship and be available when something goes wrong.

A company you could learn from
Growth is important to any business, whether it is growth in the people or growth in improving business practices using innovation and efficiencies. Look for an organisation that runs their business like a business and has implemented processes, systems, and practices that your organisation could learn from.

This does not specifically need to be IT related, instead can include areas in Human Resources and Team Culture, Data Analytics and/or Process Automation. As you are looking for new ways of working to better and grow your business, work with an MSP who is forward-thinking and not afraid to put plans into action in their own business.

Conclusion

Looking for the right MSP for your organisation can be difficult without prior experience. With a customer-centric approach and over 13 years of experience, CT has been able to develop this comprehensive guide to ensure your company finds the right MSP to fit your businesses IT needs and goals.

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