Technology has grown so much over time. At its current pace of evolution, it becomes even more valuable and sophisticated at the same time. Yet, despite its ever-growing complexity, businesses still need to leverage technology to thrive and progress; thus, professionals with the skills and knowledge are still needed to help them do it effectively.
Traditionally, the help will come in the form of an in-house IT team. However, there’s also another option that most businesses choose: hire an IT managed services provider. A managed services provider (MSP) is a third-party contractor you can hire to manage your business’ IT infrastructure.
Hiring a third party to be responsible for your IT operations is a significant step to take. Hence, you need to be diligent and study how it works to know if it will benefit your organization. So here are the things you need to consider when choosing an IT managed services provider.
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Experience with working for a business like yours
While enthusiasm is a good thing to see, it’s best to choose a managed services provider with working experience in your industry. That’s because industry experience ensures that the provider you’ll hire will have foresight.
Having foresight is extremely important for any industry, especially when managing IT operations. When an MSP has foresight, they can see potential problems coming, as well as anticipate operational needs.
Don’t hesitate to ask them if they have experience in working in your industry. You can also look at their personnel’s expertise to gauge their strengths and weaknesses.
An MSP must understand that every business has its own unique needs. They should be able to provide you with choices of business applications and hardware to be installed in your office. In addition, they should also be capable of scaling down or up when your requirements change as your business grows.
You should also be able to choose the level of service you want from them. Whether it’s fully hosted solutions to supplement or replace existing assets or exclusive consultation for planning, you should be free to choose the extent of your working relationship with them.
Besides those, you should also ask if they can operate in flexible working hours. For example, if your business operates 24/7, they should too, so they can monitor your IT operations.
Proactive management stance
Aside from foresight, an MSP should also act proactively when running your IT operations. This is to address all possible issues before it becomes a legit problem. It’s a smart approach to IT management that will save your business costs rather than fixing full-blown problems.
Being proactive is more effective with automation, so your MSP must employ automation to respond and resolve possible issues. With automation, it’s easier to sustain a proactive approach that can help reduce repairs and optimize regular maintenance of both software and hardware assets.
Business-class service level agreements
A service-level agreement (SLA) describes an MSP’s role and responsibilities as your IT partner. It also tells you how successful they are at maintaining the system and network availability. The SLA is basically a way to assess if they’re doing their job correctly.
Look for an MSP with an easy to comprehend and measurable SLA. Their contract should also include penalties so that you can get rewards should they miss an SLA.
MSPs have different pricing models for their services. You should look at them to determine whether they’re charging you right for the services you intend to hire them for. If you see that they charge flat fees, then look for another one.
That’s because the biggest benefits of working with an MSP are the controlled and predictable spending for IT. Providers who charge flat fees for defined services only benefit themselves because you can’t pay them by the quality of service they provide throughout your contract.
Your IT assets are crucial for your business to succeed, so if you’re planning to hire a managed services provider, you should think about it carefully. Hire a partner that can perform well and you can trust with handling your IT because your business’ life depends on it.