Just because you hire a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) doesn’t mean you lose decision making authority over your IT setup and solutions. Sure, it’s best to leave some things to the experts, such a closing the ports on the firewall, but the right partner will not only bring the important, big picture decisions to you but do so in a way that permits understanding and return on investment. For example, “Here’s is why a firewall is essential to your business. If you agree, we’ll configure it to keep out the bad guys.”
Partnership with an IT team relies on more than just expertise. A successful relationship depends on the right chemistry, the consistent value the MSP brings to your organization, the mutual trust toward common goals and alignment with the company’s long-term needs.
Pay for Value, Not Hours
The dictionary defines value as the relative worth, merit, or importance of something. Value is peace-of-mind. Value is knowing you have a trusted person to call when technology becomes a challenge. Value is saying to yourself, “this is worth every penny.” We all know that feeling, it might occur with a doctor, car mechanic or babysitter. The point is value is the key toward understanding the right MSP for your company.
There is no value without trust.. Outsourcing IT is more than just hiring a company with technical expertise to manage your technology. It’s about forming a mutually beneficial partnership built on respect and trust that to considers excellence, usefulness and importance. Trust is earned over time through interactions between people and organizations. Before you enter any relationship with a service provider it’s best to check references and look for accreditations. Happy customers are more than willing to share their success stories. Look for reputable, third party accreditations such as the Better Business Bureau. And most of all, trust your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Alignment with Business Goals
Beyond mindset, trust, and a good working relationship, understanding the length, terms and cost of your engagement with a technical service provider avoids uncomfortable questions and allows clear understanding of terms including payment, work beyond scope and termination.
It’s imperative to begin with and engagement agreement that keeps all commitments clear, including the length of engagement, any terms that may apply, such as sixty-day notice period prior to cancellation or simply response time. It’s also very important to understand what is not included in your service. A business owner may consider website updates part of IT, but an IT provider may consider it a separate wheelhouse.