There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a managed services provider (MSP). We want you to be as well informed as possible, so we’re debunking the four most common myths we've heard about about MSPs.
Myth 1: Bigger = better
For IT services, “bigger size” does not necessarily mean “better service.”
Organizations evaluating IT service providers for the first time are often in one of two situations. First, they have delegated IT work to an employee despite IT not being his/her main job function, or they have been using a single contractor for ad-hoc support on an hourly basis. Inevitably, these companies will realize their current setup is insufficient when an urgent need arises, at which point they start looking for an MSP.
Companies typically ask questions about size to determine how promptly an MSP will respond to their needs. Unfortunately, questions like “How many employees do you have?” are unreliable response time predictors. No matter the provider’s size, if the MSP is overloaded, you won’t receive a rapid response.
Instead of inquiring about size, consider asking this question instead: “What policies, processes and procedures do you have in place to ensure quick responses now and in the future?” You’ll want to listen for something along the lines of:
“Our support team is divided into sub-teams of specialists, each with a maximum number of clients to which they are dedicated. Long before we reach our maximum support capacity, we begin the process of building additional sub-teams to increase capacity and prevent overloading.”
Myth 2: Close by = better
Not too long ago, having your IT services provider located close to your business was advantageous because 70% of work had to be done on-site. However, with the advent of advanced remote monitoring and management tools (RMM), close proximity is no longer a good indicator of provider responsiveness. Today, the best MSPs leverage RMM tools to rapidly respond to, diagnose and resolve over 95% of issues from their own offices.
Of course, finding a good provider in your area is beneficial if on-site work and projects are required. But in the end, the key to success lies in choosing the MSP that will be the best partner, as opposed to the one located closest.
Myth 3: In-house IT = better
This myth comes in two different flavors.
- The first flavor: “It’s faster and cheaper to have our (pick a position) do IT than to hire a service provider.” Professionals who serve a wide range of roles within a company man be called on to deploy, maintain, manage, troubleshoot and fix IT elements. The idea is to keep things fast and cheap, but unless the person really knows what they’re doing and your company is VERY small, this isn’t a great long-term solution. After all, most businesses aim to grow, and as you expand, so does the support load. Eventually, the de-facto IT person won’t be able to respond promptly. Not having someone whose core job involves proactively monitoring and maintaining the reliability and security of your IT resources means it is just a matter of time before a disruption occurs that proves costly in terms of lost dollars, productivity, data and customer relationships.
- The second flavor: “I like having someone just down the hall. Our people are demanding, and we have to have someone here all the time.” We’ve seen this over and over through the years, usually at organizations with 10 to 100 employees and a dedicated IT person on staff. In most cases, these companies’ executives do not know IT or understand how to manage an IT staff. They mistakenly believe that having an on-site resource guarantees prompt and effective issue resolution. However, one-man IT departments invariably get overwhelmed, and thus are too busy putting out fires to be proactive. Ultimately, they are unable to provide visibility into what they are spending time and money on, and their response time may be slow.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t have someone on staff, but why not pair this individual with a strong service provider that can help manage the different pieces that fall under the IT umbrella?
Myth 4: All MSPs provide the same service for the same price
Some people think MSPs all provide the same level of service, so when they hear something bad about one particular MSP, they assume this applies to all providers. Similarly, the service that one provider charges $500 for is NOT the same as what another might charge you for the same price, as there is no blanket MSP service or standardized pricing. Talk to providers and get a clear understanding of what their service plans deliver. Only then will you be able to determine whether what they’re offering is good value for money and a good match for your company’s needs.
Here are some of the most important criteria to consider:
- A service methodology that ensures:
- Consistently rapid responsiveness
- Service team continuity
- Visibility and measureable results
- A partnership that:
- Is aligned on values
- Promotes mutual success
- Is based on mutual respect and trust
Life is too short for you to work with and entrust critical parts of your business to a part-time IT guy or a sub-par provider. Consider the cost of your IT being down for a few days, or of suffering a major data loss. Then consider who you want to partner with.
The purpose of this blog is to answer the questions you ask! I love to talk about managed services (and will all day long!) so please contact us to learn more about what we do, or review our plans and pricing in our services section!