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Posted by Marketing | May 28, 2014

4 Myths About Choosing a Managed Services Provider

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Myth #1: More People = Better Service

The number one question we’re asked by prospective clients looking for a Managed Services Provider (MSP) is, “How many people do you have?” It’s a great question, but it’s an unreliable question for companies trying to ascertain whether a firm is potentially a good fit. Why?

What people are really asking is, “Will you respond to me quickly?” The better question is, “Do you have enough people to handle the clients and workloads you already have, plus me?”

You may get a very honest answer from the best Managed Services Provider in town. Then in the month you begin working with them, staff may turnover or they get an influx of new projects or clients. A true partner will be transparent with you about their current situation and forecasts.

It doesn’t matter whether the Managed Services Provider you are considering has 4 people or 40. What matters most is their current workload, followed by the quality of their technical staff, management, systems, processes, and financial resources.

Myth #2: Location Close By = Better Service

This used to be somewhat true in the not so distant past, but no longer holds true. Before the proliferation of remote access and monitoring tools we did most of our work on site at clients’ offices. You could be next door to us, but if all our people were at other clients, you had no advantage having our office close by.

Today, the best Cloud Services and Managed Services Providers manage over 90% of their clients’ non-project technical work remotely. On a day-to-day basis, the best MSP in another city may take better care of you than all of the providers within 3 miles of your office. In the long run, it usually makes more sense to work with a local firm because of projects and other work that must be done at your location. If they’re good, your outsourced IT team will act more like employees than a vendor, and you’ll be meeting with them often. Ideally, they should be acting as an extension of your team and this is harder to do in a long-distance relationship.

Myth #3: IT Person on Staff = Better Service

This myth comes in two different flavors.

The first: “It’s cheaper to have our (pick a position) do IT than outsource.” All types of people with a job role other than IT are called on to deploy, maintain, manage, troubleshoot and fix all aspects of IT. We’ve seen this happen with accountants, architects, owners, office managers - you name it. If you own a small company with less than 10 users and no server, and have someone on staff who knows something about technology, this probably describes you. And it may be working fine.

But if you have at least one server and more than 5-10 users, you will benefit from having an IT department. Then, the poor soul who’s been your go-to IT person can concentrate on his/her real job, and your company can focus on its objectives. You’ll save money and do better in the long run by having the right people in the right seats doing the right things the right way.

The second: “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 – an organization with 10 to 100 employees and a dedicated IT person on staff. The executives don’t know IT or how to manage an IT staff, yet they do it anyway. Here are their complaints:

“We feel like we’re being held hostage. We don’t know what Bob is doing or why, and we are totally dependent on him.”

“We’re afraid of what Bob will do if we fire him.”

“When Bob is sick or goes on vacation, we’re helpless.”

“Bob is always adding servers or other equipment he says we need. Is it unusual for a 20 person company to have six servers?”

“Bob has the keys to the kingdom.”

When we step in, an entire IT department is in place. Then we hear:

“I can’t believe you guys respond and get things done faster, and are much friendlier than Bob, and you’re across town!” -Wealth Advisory Firm

“I can finally take my first vacation in years!” -Mortgage Company

“We had seven servers and now we have three.” -Financial Management Firm

“We were paying Bob over $50,000 a year. We’re paying MyITpros a fraction of that, and getting a service team, procurement and management for a third of the cost.” -Medical Device Manufacturer

“I feel free again. I can’t imagine having to deal with all the things you’ve done for me the past year while our company was growing the way it’s growing. Thank you!” -Mobile Washing Service

Myth #4: Different Prices = The Same Level of Service

I feel like I’m stating the obvious here. We often see a misperception that Managed Services Providers all provide the same level of service. Here’s a true story.

Recently, a business owner called me in fear of his MSP. He had been promised a very comprehensive level of service and felt he was getting close to nothing. He described the plan, and I gave him a ballpark estimate of $1,000 per month. “Are you kidding? Bob is only charging me $500 per month.”

See how easy it is? He was in the middle of a terrible situation and his first instinct was that we were overpriced. Forget that Bob was delivering next to nothing for $500 per month. Nobody can deliver the level of service Bob was promising to this client for that price. If you find someone who will deliver $1,000 worth of service for $500, good for you. Just understand it won’t last. The price will go up, the service will diminish, or the provider will go out of business.

Is Bob holding you hostage? Have you been promised something you’re not getting? There’s no need to stay in a bad relationship with your Managed Services Provider, or even one that is just OK.

We’ve been in this business for 21 years and know what it takes to be an exceptional MSP. More than 98% of clients who sign up with us stay with us for the long haul.  What’s more, we guarantee response times and someone will always be here to take your call - not Bob’s voicemail.

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Chris-BoyleChris Boyle, CEO

Please subscribe to view my upcoming articles. Our goal with this blog is to answer the questions you ask. If you have any questions about managed services or any topic email me at chris@myitpros.com.

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