Today’s internal IT departments have a lot to keep up with. For this reason, many businesses are hiring managed service providers (MSPs) to lessen the load. But can integrators be at the table when MSPs are being considered?
We think “yes,” but it’s important that integrators start to think more like their more service-experienced IT MSP counterparts.
Here are some of the often-asked questions clients have about MSPs – and how integrators should respond.
1. “How Does an MSP Drive My Business Goals?”
There’s a huge pressure on businesses to adopt every new fad and fashion that comes along. But every investment your client makes in technology needs to support their specific business goals and vision to be worth the costs associated with it.
Before choosing an MSP, your client should outline short- and long-term business objectives to ensure that the chosen MSP will help them grow both.
2. “What is the ROI on this Investment?”
Some companies see the immediate cost savings associated with MSPs and assume that an improved bottom line is enough. But that’s only part of the equation.
Lots of MSPs can save your clients money in the short term. But if MSPs can’t grow with them, innovate alongside them, and help them grow in their own ways, they may not be worth the investment. Your clients should spend time researching how an MSP will help them innovate and advance business processes – by creating more efficient workflows, etc. – before making a commitment.
3. “How Will an MSP Optimize Our Processes?”
Does your client have a tech mess on their hands? If so, they’re not alone. The sheer overwhelm and exhaustion of working through the digital transformation is enough to make any business cry “uncle!” and reach out for help.
Still, taking a mess off of their IT team’s hands is not enough. An MSP should be helping them make more, do more, and achieve more than they can on their own.
4. “How Compatible is it in the Long Term?”
The MSP your client chooses needs to be compatible with their needs now, but also with their needs in the long term. It needs to offer bigger and better services than what they currently need, because they’ll be bigger and better themselves someday. Choosing a small company isn’t bad. But it needs to have a big vision – and one they can count on into the future.
5. “How Innovative is the MSP Team?”
Your clients know how fast things are moving in the digital landscape. As important as it is for their companies to embrace continuous learning of new trends and innovations, it’s equally or more important for their MSPs.
When they choose an MSP, they should be able to rely on them to take the reins on a chosen tech service. They should be up on changes, improvements, enhancements, and service options available. They should be in the know – and not just content with the services currently offered.
And, MSPs should keep their clients informed of new services and innovations as soon as they become available so they can start taking advantage of them if they’re a good fit.
6. “Who is Supporting Me?”
There is nothing worse than partnering with an MSP only to find that it has no help desk, its email support is a black hole, and its chat bot is always frozen.
Before your client partners with an MSP, they need to understand exactly who will be supporting them. Will it be a team of trained engineers available 24/7? A team of chat bots? A call center with limited hours? How long does it take to respond to or fix an issue?
If possible, clients should get references and ask how the support has been.
7. “What Kind of SLA is Available?”
Last, but not least, your clients should make sure they’re 100% on board with your service level agreement (SLA). Is it flexible? Does it hold you accountable for support in a timely manner? Does it allow your clients to grow, or keep them locked into a certain level of support? Will they need a new MSP once they expand? It’s important to fully understand the finest details of the SLA before choosing an MSP partner.
Tech trends don’t become trends unless they hold at least some inherent value. MSPs can be incredibly valuable to your clients if utilized well. But as with any trend, it’s possible to fall for the lure of the bandwagon rather than following true business goals.
If you’re a commercial integrator wanting to play more seriously in the service space, these are the questions customers are asking. Is your company ready to answer the call? —Dan Newman, Cofounder of V3*Broadsuite
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