Whilst working with a Managed Service Provider can clearly be advantageous, they are not all on a level playing field or the right fit for your business. You will need to take several factors into account when selecting a partner to ensure they are best-placed to help you achieve your objectives.
Here are some key points for consideration:
Any competent managed services provider should offer skills beyond basic hardware and software maintenance. They must keep themselves updated with the latest technology and skillsets to deliver customised business models suiting different organisational requirements. Many MSPs are now moving beyond the traditional ‘keeping the lights on’ function and providing more complex, transformational services that help organisations gain advantage.
Identify which services you need and your objectives, and make sure the MSP has experience in that area, both in terms of skillsets and previous projects.
You will also want to identify relevant certifications, training sessions and best practices that the MSP adheres to. Finally, after detailed analysis, businesses can decide which service providers can offer them the best solutions to manage their enterprise effectively and efficiently.
Support for multi-vendor and multi-cloud environments
Today, IT ecosystems are getting more complex with the amalgamation of hardware, software, networks, servers, databases, public & private clouds, and more. This makes management of such an environment increasingly challenging.
Hence, the business must ensure that the managed service provider has extensive experience working in the latest IT landscape and can implement sophisticated technologies to improve quality and productivity. You will also want to ensure that the MSP has multivendor experience and partnerships so they can objectively advise on the best suited platforms and have the knowledge to effectively implement and manage them.
Need for Agile teams
Businesses are presently operating in digitally connected times where it’s imperative to collaborate and connect with multiple parties and vendors to execute operations. Therefore, agility is crucial in order to drive revenue and deliver exceptional customer service.
Whether a business wants to outsource technical teams with specific technical capabilities or broader expertise does not matter. MSPs can help companies stay agile and scale beyond measure with consistent service delivery.
Support industry best practices
The services that MSPs offer must align with the best industry practices and, most importantly, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) standards. ITIL is a framework that standardises the end-to-end lifecycle of IT services within a business. In addition, it constitutes a crisis, incident, event, shift, configuration, inventory, capacity, and performance management.
Therefore, when selecting an MSP, you will want to ensure they adhere to ITIL standards to gain from predictable service delivery and continuous improvements.
Keep the in-house IT team focused
Businesses have finite IT teams with a heavy workload, which can lead to burnout. An MSP can relieve this pressure from the in-house team and let them prioritise critical initiatives focused on business growth and performance. To do this, not only does the MSP need to have the required skillset, but also the same values and culture fit so they seamlessly work alongside your team.
Factors to bear in mind before outsourcing to a partner, to ensure a positive relationship.
Undoubtedly, MSPs offer businesses an edge over their competition through access to the latest technology and ability to fast-track adoption. However, they essentially take control out of the hands of the in-house team and will often have access to confidential data.
Therefore, it is important to thoroughly check the service provider’s background and alignment to privacy and regulatory standards, such as ISO-27001, to ensure your organisation’s assets are in safe hands.
When taking over services for your organisation, an MSP will deploy numerous technologies and tools and may provide your team with hands-on experience working with these technologies. However, many MSPs do not provide the required documentation or might not include all relevant parties in the planning and strategy, which can affect the internal team's capabilities in the long run.
Therefore, when selecting an MSP, businesses should find out their process for knowledge transfer and training for existing teams to expand the capabilities of the workforce and ensure they can run the tools internally should they wish to suspend the relationship.
Businesses commonly use remote services – especially with the increase in hybrid working, however you will want to consider this carefully before hiring a remote MSP. Although it may be cheaper, you may want to work with a partner who will provide on-site support or presence, particularly for management of on-premises IT.
Organisations are commonly squeezed for budget and are under pressure to do more with less. However, it’s important to consider the ROI when selecting an MSP to work with, as the cheapest partner may not produce the best returns. You need to make sure the partner you select have a proven track record, customer references, and SLAs that they stick to.
When working with an MSP, it is also critical for businesses to determine which functions to outsource and which ones to retain internally to manage the costs better and achieve the desired goals within the budget.
Over the last several years, organisations have become more familiar with MSPs and are turning to them for managing a variety of technical functionalities. Businesses are focused on partnering with the best to deliver the best. They want to avoid spending time detecting and fixing IT issues. Instead, companies want to utilise their resources and efforts in more value-driving activities. Such an approach enables businesses to accelerate their digital transformation goals.
Ultimately, the capabilities of MSPs are gauged based on the human and economic value they provide, and a partnership with the right MSP can catalyse their success. From managing infrastructure to undertaking a full digital transformation project, MSPs, such as Advanced, help companies drive innovation and make the digital shift needed to propel your businesses into the future.
Download our free eBook ‘How to drive value from a Managed Service Provider’ to discover more. Plus, watch our on-demand webinars from the IT Pioneer Summit for content including how MSPs can help you in the economic downturn, their role in ESG and overcoming the tech skills shortage.