Just because you hire an IT Managed 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 as 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 allows 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 ability. A successful relationship depends on the right chemistry, the consistent value the MSP (Managed Service Provider) brings to the organization and the mutual understanding of 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 ability to manage your technology. If trust is there, a business owner need not second guess the advice to upgrade, replace or change technology for the benefit of the company. Trust, of course, is earned over time. Seek references, look for accreditations, such as the Better Business Bureau, and ask about the average number of years clients are with them. Satisfied customers are more than willing to share their success stories. Most of all, trust your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Alignment with Business Goals
Beyond competence, trust, and a good working relationship, understanding the terms and cost of your engagement with a technical service provider avoids uncomfortable questions and allows clear understanding of payment, work beyond scope and termination. It’s imperative to begin with an 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 especially important to understand what is not included in your service. A business owner may consider website updates as part of an IT remit, but the MSP may consider it a separate wheelhouse.
Roark Tech Services is a dedicated Managed Service Provider exclusively serving the small business community since 1998. We are experts in what we do and are uniquely qualified to help small businesses stay safe & competitive. Always consult with us first.