Technology success is one of the key drivers for achieving business goals in 2020. As recent events have proven, organizations that were ready to leverage technology to work anytime or anywhere with maximum flexibility found they were well-equipped to deal with the challenges of the new normal as the world shifted beneath their feet. The opposite is true as well. Businesses that found themselves behind on their technology struggled to adapt and faced real consequences such as lost productivity, dissatisfied customers or operational failure.
And it is because of this correlation of technology to business success or failure that picking the right MSP or Managed IT Services Provider, for your business is now more critical than ever. In addition to the new normal for work, security threats have increased, and the rise of Software as a Service, Bring Your Own Device, and Cloud Services have changed what it means to manage IT.
So for this video, I’d like to talk about four factors you should consider when choosing a Managed IT Services Provider so that you can leverage technology as an asset, instead of wrestle with it as a business liability.
Factor #1 – Core Competencies
Over the past few decades, there has been a massive expansion of technology disciplines and expertise and every company’s technology needs are different. Some are simple, while others can be quite complex.
Many businesses have specific requirements from their technology service provider, such as the need for Phishing and Security Awareness training, compliance advice, web hosting or design, security operations centers, network cabling, phone system support, and many others.
Before you go shopping for providers, think about the specific ways your company uses technology, as well as any other technology-related needs your team members might have, and try to match those requirements to skillsets that a potential service provider offers you.
No technology services provider does it all, and you will find that many good technology companies are simply not a fit. What you want is to find a provider whose core competencies align with the way your organization uses technology.
Factor #2 – Market Niche
Every organization has different goals from the use of technology, so approaching the management of it with a one size fits all approach doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. When you think of the type of work that, for example, a small retailer might have to do the focus is going to be on things like ringing up transactions as compared to a law firm that may have a focus on being able to store and access large amounts of sensitive case data on demand.
As you might expect, service delivery models, product focus, and long term technology planning philosophies could lead to mismatches between a business and their MSP. When you are trying to find a good provider, ask questions about their experience with other businesses in your industry, or bring up your specific technology concerns and see how they respond.
At the end of the day, it’s important that your MSP understands the goals of your business and can deliver services that provide value to it. Technical knowledge doesn’t mean a whole lot if it can’t be applied in a meaningful way to your day to day needs.
Factor #3 – Service Delivery Options and Reach
Most business occurs during what many people consider “normal business hours”. But as technology has become a more important part of business and current events changed the working landscape, “working hours” have continued to spread and become less standardized. I would guess that you probably put in hours that are a bit outside the 9 to 5 paradigm. And there’s a good chance you are working outside the office. Even before the pandemic, many of us would work out of hotel rooms, airports, our homes, and other spaces.
Think about your office locations as well as the hours you and your staff work, which could include nights and weekends, and make sure your MSP is available to support you during those times and at those sites. A good MSP should be prepared to handle not just your day to day support needs, but also should be forward thinking enough to make sure that as your technology evolves, it matches the needs of your people whenever and however they work.
Factor #4 – The Long Term
Chances are if you are in the market for a new MSP, you probably have a service provider that isn’t meeting your needs in some way. When we talk to potential new clients for the first time, their tendency is to discuss what’s going wrong right now, without necessarily getting into what things might be like 2 or 3 years from now. But you should be thinking more long term than this.
Most relationships between businesses and service providers last a while, and you probably aren’t going to make another provider change in the short term. When it’s time to choose a new IT provider, you’ll want to know that the MSP you select has a plan not just for today’s challenges, but also has an approach to dealing with problems that can’t be anticipated in advance. You want to know that your MSP is looking out for you when the time comes.
While there are certainly going to be many more specific factors to consider for your business, I hope these tips have given you some food for thought when it comes time to select a new Managed IT Services Provider.
I’d love to hear what matters most to you when it comes to choosing the perfect MSP for your operations. Let me know in the comments section!
Thanks for watching, and as always, stay vigilant my friends!