Using Managed IT Services: 7 Crucial Questions to Ask
The use of managed IT services is becoming more and more popular as businesses across all industries strive to cut costs, save time, and improve productivity. Managed service providers are companies that oversee a customer’s IT infrastructure and end-user systems. In addition, many managed service providers offer remote services and a variety of cloud-based services.
Managed service providers can have an enormous impact on a company’s success, especially when it comes to end-user experiences. Internal incidents such as human error, malware, and hard drive crashes can cause companies to lose significant amounts of data.
Managed service providers deliver flexibility without many of the risks found in public clouds. Partnering with a managed service provider can offer many additional benefits, such as improved security, reduced costs, expert support, access to the latest technologies, and increased productivity.
Managed service providers provide a wide range of services, such as cloud migration, desktop support, disaster recovery, cyber security, network management, and much more. Every managed service provider has its own unique offerings, such as agility, resilience, security, and simplicity.
Organizations should choose a managed service provider that not only has the expertise but someone that has experience in their industry and can assist their business in growth.
To determine which managed service provider is best suited, decision-makers must conduct thorough research and ask vendors specific questions. Here are 7 questions that can help your decision-making process.
1. Is it better to manage IT services in-house or outsource them to an MSP?
At some point, growing companies will have to decide whether to manage their technology in-house or outsource and use a managed services provider. Each option has important benefits to consider. It can’t be ignored, however, that your business technology systems should be handled by a professional. A company’s operations are now closely connected to its IT, so if the technology isn’t running smoothly, neither is the business.
Before deciding whether to hire an in-house team or outsource, evaluate your current IT operations and weigh your options. An in-house IT department might make sense if you are a large organization. However, hiring a managed service provider could be more cost-effective if you’re a small business.
Do your operations need daily management or occasionally technical support? Do you have the time to train an in-house team? If not, a managed service provider may be a better fit.
2. How do managed services offer a competitive advantage?
Almost every reputable business has some competitive advantage that sets itself apart from other companies. For example, Domino’s guarantees to have your pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, and the Ritz-Carlton is renowned for its excellent customer service.
To select the best managed service provider, identify which unique services offer the most significant benefit for the company’s employees and customers. For example, large corporations’ IT departments may use multiple managed service providers for different services.
At the same time, small and medium-sized businesses may benefit from a single managed service provider’s package of services. Decision-makers should look beyond surface-level advantages to determine which managed service will strengthen their competitive advantage or improve their unique selling proposition.
For instance, lower prices or flexible payment plans sound great. However, does this mean that the service will be limited? Would additional services be valuable, such as 24/7 monitoring?
It is also crucial to keep in mind the managed service provider’s dedication to staying current with the latest technology.
3. Is their service capable of helping businesses go cloud-based?
In terms of storing, processing, and sharing data, businesses are increasingly migrating to the cloud due to its greater flexibility and convenience over traditional local hosting. Cloud computing offers businesses many benefits, including enhanced collaboration, easy access, and quick turnaround times.
However, many organizations lack the time and expertise to implement and maintain cloud-based technologies effectively. This is where managed IT service providers can help.
A managed service provider specializing in building and managing cloud services can assist an organization in migrating to the cloud. When looking for a managed service provider to partner with, find someone that doesn’t just help you migrate the cloud.
Find a provider that will also help you maintain your cloud-based systems, routinely providing performance assessments, reporting, monitoring, management, and data recovery services.
Ask what cloud-based applications they would recommend for your industry and their plans for how they would implement them.
4. When MSPs’ assistance creates a business partnership for collaboration, how will it work?
When choosing a managed services provider, businesses will make an important decision that can impact their growth and success moving forward. As most employees will use the managed service providers’s services daily, it’s critical to decide early on whether this collaboration is viewed as a partnership or a business transaction.
Business owners and managers should ask for specific examples of how managed service providers will promote a sustainable partnership.
A good managed service provider should be committed to finding solutions that improve a business’s services and maximize its long-term growth.
5. Are there any services that aren’t within their scope of expertise?
Managed service providers offer a variety of IT services that ensure a business’s technology assets are operational and beneficial. However, not all specialize in the same things and provide the same services. Therefore, it’s important to find out if they provide what your company needs.
Instead of asking what services the company offers, sometimes it is easier to understand the managed service provider’s offerings by finding out what kinds of organizations they serve, which markets they cater to, and what goals they help their existing clients achieve.
As providers rarely focus on their shortcomings during their sales pitch, these questions are important to ask.
6. Are there any advantages to a layered approach to services where an MSP provides one part, and other partners provide another part?
When selecting a managed service provider, be sure to find out whether they provide all the services you need or if you will need to contract another company to fill in the gaps. Each managed service provider has its own level of expertise and may require companies to hire outside services for specialized tasks.
For example, if you have an issue with third-party software that’s not supported by your service provider or in the contract, you will likely need to find someone else who can fix it.
If a managed service provider cannot deliver all services, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be discounted. In some cases, a layered approach might make sense, in which a managed service provider handles specific tasks and another vendor supplements the IT provider’s work.
When comparing costs, it may actually be more cost effective to use external services on an as-needed basis rather than paying more for another managed service provider’s specialized offerings.
7. Do they support any compliance frameworks?
One of the many benefits a managed service provider can deliver for your business is compliance with industry standards and regulations. A business’s compliance needs will differ depending on its industry as well as the markets it serves.
When choosing a managed service provider, it’s imperative they are knowledgeable and proficient with the compliance frameworks relevant to your industry, as any errors could be costly for your business. From compliance assessments to improved security and updating your technology, there are many things providers can do to help companies stay in compliance with industry standards.
Before meeting with a service provider, be sure to thoroughly research which regulations apply to your business. If the managed service provider has experience in your industry, they should already be familiar with standard regulations.
A good service provider should also offer service-level agreements to guarantee they will meet compliance with regulations, especially upcoming regulations that will be implemented in the next year.
Let Prescient Solutions Be Your Trusted Managed Service Provider
Selecting a managed service provider is an important decision that’s critical to your business’s success. A managed service provider oversees systems and data crucial to a business’s daily operations. Therefore, research and careful consideration are essential for making an informed choice, as is the case in any mutually beneficial business relationship.
At Prescient Solutions, we use the most current strategies to assess, implement, and manage your technology, enabling you to focus on running your business. With access to industry-leading experts and unparalleled resources, our team can support and manage your IT assets to serve you effectively, faster, and with ever-increasing competencies.