Information Technology is often considered a necessary evil both small and midsize businesses should have, but find inconvenient. These days, getting adequate support for IT has become far more important than it used to be. Hiring the right managed service provider is the best way to get professional IT support for businesses. After all, it’s efficiently handled by a team of dedicated IT experts rather than a single worker who can quit, fall sick, take vacations, or lack necessary skill-sets for a wide range of issues.
The main problem is that on paper, many managed service providers appear to look the same. All provide monitoring, preventative maintenance, help desk services, project expertise and some level of account management and/or strategic guidance, so what's the difference?
Everything usually goes well until an unexpected event occurs like an unplanned outage with little explanation, debatable charges, or negative comments from your employees about the poor service they're experiencing from the managed services provider. Technology is not perfect and unplanned events do occur, what matters is how your MSP handles the situation and the customer's experience. Here are 8 signs that show it's time to hire a new managed services provider.
8 Signs that should make you think twice about your MSP:
1. Unrecoverable data after an incident
This is usually a death penalty for the contract if the explanation is not rock-solid. Successful and consistent backup and restore operations are still the biggest challenges many MSP’s face as they grow. You can recover from almost anything but lost data is priceless. There should be no mercy here.
2. Unplanned Outages and Downtime
Your MSP monitors and manages your infrastructure, and through strategic guidance and suggested investments, the MSP is in control for the most part. Risks and costs associated with outages are significant. See Dave Davenport’s blog about the true cost of your MSP contract.
3. Poor communication
As an MSP, we’re on the move most of the time. Hence the absolute necessity for us to be accurate and crisp in our communication with your employees and management team
4. Bad Follow-Up and Follow-through
We all get busy at times, but this is no excuse to not follow-up and through with our customers. It’s a process weakness if this aspect is not up to par with your current MSP. It’s also very hard to fix.
5. Strategic guidance is more like a sales call
Don’t confuse account management and strategic guidance. Too often we observe basic account management services called strategic guidance or vCIO Services. Although both are needed, they are NOT the same thing.
6. Do I get value for my business out of this contract?
Real strategic guidance done regularly through a well-structured approach will yield measurable results in terms of cost savings, budget planning, performance increase and a better support for the growth of the business.
7. “Pay-as-You-Go” type of support contracts
Your MSP must have some skin-in-the-game. You cannot be the only one losing when things go south. This means that the MSP must be held accountable when things go wrong on your side.
8. I love my MSP because I love the tech support that handles my issues
People come and go, which means you should be supported by a Team, not an individual. A Team works together to help everyone reach their goals, while an individual works for their own personal gain.
Yes, change is hard… but ignoring reality is costly!
If you have identified yourself in some of the above situations, always engage your MSP with a healthy conversation and explain your concerns. If your partner is capable of delivering the requested improvements in a timely manner (30-45 days top), great! You saved yourself a lot of time and pain.
If not, it most likely will mean that the changes in processes required to fulfill your legitimate demands are too complicated for your MSP to adapt to and you are better off evaluating your next partner!