March 20, 2017
Choosing a managed service provider (MSP) requires a significant amount of thought and comes with a certain level of risk. Truly, a managed services agreement represents profound trust between a business and its provider. Technology is the nerve center of a company, and that nerve center is being entrusted to another company to safeguard. If your managed service provider is negligent or incompetent, it could have a serious impact on your company.
For these reasons, conducting proper research into a potential managed service provider is of the utmost importance. If you do manage to properly vet your MSP, you can create a long lasting and productive business relationship.
It’s Not About Red Flags
You might expect an article like this to move on to listing specific red flags on company websites or during business meetings, but that’s not what we are going to discuss here. The red flags are certainly there, but they are the same red flags you’ll find in any business-client relationship. If the company has a terrible online reputation, they probably earned that reputation. If the company does not list any certifications, they probably do not have any certifications. That aspect is fairly straightforward.
Rather, the most important thing to look for in your managed service provider is more of a philosophical outlook than part of the marketing message the company may provide. In a word, you want your MSP to be customer-centric.
The Customer Centric Managed Service Provider
A customer centric managed service provider approaches its client relationships with three main prongs: a focus on business outcomes instead of point solutions, proven processes, and an alignment of technology.
- Business Outcomes: Some managed service providers focus their conversations around specific solutions to specific problems, but that is too narrow of an approach. Ideally, you want a managed service provider who strives to achieve business outcomes instead of point solutions. Instead of discussing their specific technology solution, the conversation should take a broader stance and cover the short term and long term goals of the business. From there, the MSP needs to have the business acumen and technical expertise to translate your goals into the best technology and most effective strategy.
- Proven Processes: Many businesses have compliance regulations to which they absolutely must adhere. The MSP you ultimately choose should have proven, formulized processes for deploying and managing technology solutions, so they can guarantee that whatever steps they take will not violate any legal regulations.
- Technology Alignment: Some managed service providers are more flexible than others. Whether that means that the MSP has three service buckets that they must shoe-horn you into or can only integrate with Linux systems, the right MSP must be able to align their technology with yours. In order for the managed services relationship to be productive, there cannot be any level of incompatibility between companies from a technology standpoint.
Managed Services as Partnerships and Advisors
Researching managed service providers requires a certain mindset on the client’s part as well. You’re not looking to hire someone else to run your IT department for you. You’re looking for a trusted technology advisor who will help you achieve your goals. It’s like the difference between hiring a painter and an interior designer. A painter will paint your walls a garish neon green if you ask them to, but an interior designer will offer alternatives to help you create the best room possible.
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Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.