As technology evolves, managing IT becomes more complex, leaving some business owners or IT managers scrambling to find the skill sets to deliver. It’s no wonder that the market for managed service providers (MSPs) is growing at 12 percent per annum.
A lot of businesses find MSPs to be the best way to meet new IT challenges. But what do you need to consider, in order to choose the right one?
Getting the basics right
The starting point is to assess the fit between a provider and your business. Problem-solving is key which is why so many MSPs put IT support at their core. How quickly can problems be solved? How deep is their experience in relation to cloud migration, compliance requirements, or the ever-changing security landscape? All these questions need to be answered.
In a nutshell you need an MSP that has the capacity, the technical expertise and the vendor credentials, to manage your IT infrastructure.
Services on offer
MSPs have been evolving since the 1990s offering a wider range of services to keep pace with technology and customer demand.
And, increasing the service portfolio is hugely important. A survey in 2018 found that 92 percent of the MSPs interviewed were planning to introduce new services into their portfolio this year. Cloud-hosting and IT security are common differentiators, with some providing as-a-Service offerings or on premise hosting.
Freeing you up, to do your job
Like any supplier relationship, establishing trust is critical. Feeling as if you are in safe hands and synergies are shared are a must. A customer of ours recently cited our ‘ethos’ as the deciding factor to choosing us.
She described IT outsourcing as ‘transformational’ to her business, even the migration to cloud which she was nervous about. According to her, it has enabled the business to be more agile and to grow.
Seeing the road ahead helps businesses to plan to achieve growth. But often this is easier said than done, as managing day-to-day issues takes precedent.
Nowadays, platforms, solutions and software are often the enablers to achieve business transformation. This is why an experienced IT partner will offer you a strategic technology roadmap that gives you a high level overview of how your IT – all components of it – need to be deployed and utilised, to get you where you want to go.
Optimise IT for greater efficiencies
Hybrid cloud adoption rates have escalated. Data protection and strict compliance rules for some industries, has resulted in some data being returned to be managed within an enterprise’s IT estate, with additional, less sensitive data, managed in the cloud.
As more IT infrastructures migrate to cloud, your MSP will need to manage a hybrid cloud environment, either through their own services or another cloud provider, often with back up and disaster recovery.
While this is great news for organisations to become more agile as well as more competitive, knowing how to achieve the right mix can be a headache. This is where outside expert comes into its own.
A more cost-effective way to manage IT
Check the pricing model of your MSP. From per-device pricing, to all-inclusive pricing, both are often charged on a monthly basis. This obviously frees up cash, turning it from a capex to opex, so resources can be redistributed to higher value projects.
The advantage of cloud’s pay-as-you-go model is that it’s scalable based on use, so perfect for businesses that need this kind of flexibility. For project work, this will likely be charged as a one-time transaction.
IT problems solved
Taking care of security or high-risk parts of your IT estate can cost you dearly. By using an MSP this headache is taken away, enabling you to tap into the latest patches, fixes and security products, as well as services to monitor where issues might be building.
With headlines daily about data breaches, leaks and attacks, the peace of mind an MSP can provide is surely worthwhile.
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