How to Pick a Managed Service Provider

In today’s world, the challenge of staying up-to-date with the latest technology can seem overwhelming at times. Business owners — especially small business owners — may feel that they’re doomed to be lagging when it comes to the latest technology because they simply can’t afford it. However, this does not have to be the case thanks to the help of a managed service provider.

A Managed Service Provider can come in varying forms depending on the needs of the business. The underlying reason for wanting to partner with a Managed Services Provider has to do with improving business efficiency, enhancing employee productivity, and positively impacting the bottom line.

One of the major reasons that many companies balk at the idea of managed IT services has to do with control or a perceived lack thereof. Some just aren’t comfortable giving up control over their IT infrastructure to a third party. While this is certainly understandable to a certain extent, it overlooks the variety of benefits that a company can expect to receive in return. Here are a few advantages of managed IT services that businesses should be aware of.

Get Your Business Back Up & Running in an Emergency

A business network going down doesn’t do anyone any favors. Not only does staff morale lower, but time and money are lost in the interim. Problems like this can be quickly tended to with managed IT services because a team will be ready to assist you at all times. This also provides added security, as the managed services provider will scan for viruses and other issues that could cause network challenges.

Technology issues can (and will) arise at any given time, but IT staff members are not necessarily available at any given time. The likes of network demands, various documents, and the print fleet of your business can quickly pile up onto an already busy IT staff, making it very difficult for them to resolve a spontaneous tech issue efficiently. Managed service providers are available 24/7, fortunately, and can provide you with assistance whenever you may need it. Plus, this can save a small business money as they won’t have to hire a large IT staff.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Pulling ahead of your competition today is largely dependent on having the latest tech tools at your disposal. Covering costs of all the latest software, gadgets, and gear is usually the main issue that prevents smaller businesses from being able to compete in that sense. The other issue is not knowing quite how to use it all. With managed services such as print and document management, the issues of high cost and know-how are vanquished.

These services provide businesses with only the essentials as far as the latest tools, saving money that might be spent on something overhyped and unnecessary. Time is also saved because staff will be assisted in learning the tools rather than having to figure things out on their own. And as all business owners know, time is money.

Only managed IT services allow your business to deploy information technology practices faster than ever. If technology suddenly shifts in a way that reveals an opportunity to streamline your workflow or approve collaboration and communication, those benefits can be deployed in an instant. You don’t have to go through months of planning and preparation before you even get to implementation – oftentimes implementation happens in the background before a change is even considered.

Get Your Employees Trained Quickly

When it comes to your IT investment, what you have is important – but how you use it is equally important. Managed IT services make it possible to train your staff based on established best practices, as well as in real issues that managed services providers have seen before. Suddenly every member of your team becomes an expert in using IT to streamline productivity. They might not be pros in what your underlying technology is or how it works, but they will know how that technology affects the way they work and the job they need to do.

Open Bold New Opportunities

Perhaps the most important advantage of managed IT services is that they allow small and mid-sized businesses to apply technologies that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. IT often requires a massive up-front investment, regardless of whether staying “state-of-the-art” is one of your priorities. Just when you’ve spent weeks researching, planning, purchasing and installing – you then have to do it all over again when technology becomes outdated.

With managed IT services, this isn’t a concern you have to have any longer. You get access to all the latest hardware and software in exchange for one predictable monthly fee.

Already have a managed service provider? Great! Make sure they are providing as advertised:

Signs You Need a New Managed Service Provider

The tricky part is that not all are created equally. While a lot of them are doing high quality, groundbreaking work in an effort to guarantee the care and commitment you need at all times, others are definitely leaving a lot to be desired. There are five core signs, in particular, that should throw up a red flag. It’s time for a change in a managed service provider if:

You Get The Dreaded “We’ll Call You Back”

If you’ve ever experienced a problem with your environment and put in a call to your managed service provider for help, only to be told that you’re going to get a “call back” at a later time, guess what – your MSP sucks. You should have been handed over to someone who can help you in real-time, not “in one to three days”.

You’re Calling Your MSP Too Often

Another clear sign that your managed services provider sucks is that you’re calling your MSP at all. For the most part, your MSP should be calling YOU to proactively solve small issues before they become much bigger problems. If you’re calling your MSP on a regular basis to take care of little things that should be taken care of without having to ask, there is a problem.

You’re Calling Your Vendors

Your MSP should be the one calling all of your vendors on your behalf, managing any and all relationships on the technical side of the scale. Managed services providers are a one-stop shop in this way. Or at least, they should be.

You’re Updating Your Own Software

One of the key reasons that you’re paying your managed service provider in the first place is to make sure that you automatically have all updates and you don’t have to worry about an update disrupting your workday. Let’s get one thing clear: updates to properly managed services will be done by your MSP, no exceptions. If you do find yourself consistently updating your own software and having to stop your work, then guess what: you need a new managed service provider.

You Keep Having the Same Problems

Finally, perhaps the most obvious sign that your MSP isn’t getting the job done is if the same problem is occurring in the same environment on a regular basis. What this means is that your MSP isn’t solving the root of the problem, they’re just putting forward temporary solutions. Some MSP’s solve symptoms, and not the actual problem. This isn’t a way to do business in the modern era where technology is becoming more and more critical on a daily basis. A quality managed services provider will find the root of the fault and fix it, making sure it doesn’t have a chance to rear its ugly head again down the road.

Key Takeaways

  • A managed service provider makes it possible to deploy best practices faster than ever and apply technologies to an enterprise that a business otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
  • Managed IT services allow even small and mid-sized businesses to stay ahead of the curve, remaining competitive while planning for the future at the same time.
  • A good MSP will never make you call them about an issue – they’ll be the ones calling you. Quality MSPs will also manage the technical relationship between you and your vendors so that you don’t have to.

The Future Is Here

Managed IT services allow your business to stay ahead of the curve while planning for the future at the same time. You don’t have to worry about devoting countless hours to researching the latest tech to hold onto that competitive advantage in any way that you can. With a managed service provider you can be prepared for the worst of network disasters, and guarantee that you have the latest systems at the ready so that you can get back to doing the most important thing of all: growing your business and allowing it to evolve into the organization it was always meant to be.