Recent years have seen a massive shift in favor of proactive technology support as corporate IT requirements become even more demanding. No longer do small businesses have to be stuck with outdated, inefficient hardware and maintaining a costly in-house IT department. Today, managed services provide the expertise and solutions you need to keep up with your biggest competitors.
Managed services providers (MSPs) have been popping up all over the place in the past couple of years, and there are more to choose from than ever. Nonetheless, outsourcing your IT support isn’t a decision to take lightly, and when you do decide to make the move, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best possible return on investment. Here are some tips to help you achieve that goal:
#1. Don’t make price your number one priority
Every business leader aims to cut down on overhead costs and increase their profitability, but cheaper isn’t always better. Even if you don’t plan to outsource all your IT systems just yet, it still pays in the long run to partner with an MSP that offers the full range of products and services your company is likely to need in the foreseeable future. Be especially wary of supposedly bargain MSPs, which are much more likely to treat IT as a commodity rather than something that brings real value to your organization.
#2. Evaluate their track record
When you partner with an MSP, you’ll be placing a huge amount of trust in them. As such, you cannot afford to risk working with a provider with a less than impeccable track record. Since they’ll be looking after your systems and data, they’ll need to be fully compliant with the latest security standards and industry regulations, even if they don’t concern your business directly. Look for testimonials and case studies from existing customers, and be wary of MSPs that spend more time talking about the supposed benefits of technology and less time getting to know your business.
#3. Look for industry expertise
Just because MSPs are technology companies doesn’t mean you should expect a barrage of industry jargon from people trying to sell you the latest innovations. IT shouldn’t be considered a commodity, but rather something that brings value to your business. It’s an investment that involves aligning technology with your operational goals. Your MSP should exhibit a thorough understanding of your industry and the challenges it faces. If they don’t, all you’ll get is a jack-of-all-trades offering cookie-cutter solutions.
#4. Understand their SLAs
When partnering with an MSP, the service level agreement (SLA) is by far the most important document you’ll ever sign. So be sure to read the fine print. This defines the level of service you can expect from the provider, including minimum service uptime and maximum response times to support requests. Other important things to look for include an explanation of how to report problems, and what the conditions are for disruptions to the service caused by third parties. However, while your SLA should make clear the obligations of both parties, they’re not the be-all and end-all. You’ll still need to evaluate the company’s track record thoroughly.
#5. Find a local company
MSPs primarily offer remote support, and some of the largest ones are on a nationwide or even global scale. However, smaller organizations are generally better off working with a local MSP that can also offer on-site support when necessary. You can’t expect the same level of service from a company located on the other side of the country. And chances are, an organization based in your city or county will have a similar company culture and be more understanding of your needs.
Online Computers helps businesses in Hanover, Morristown, Madison, and the rest of Northern New Jersey with fully customized IT solution plans tailored to meet your unique needs. Call us today to learn more.
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