Over the past couple of weeks we have looked at establishing trust and understanding whether your Managed Service Provider is positioned to help your business grow for the future, and not just tomorrow.
This week we shall take a look at figuring out how they are going to work with you and your business.
How will they operate?
There are a few ways that a Managed Service Provider can operate and you need to know what you are looking for.
- Do you need an extension of your IT capabilities?
- Do you just need a support function?
- Or do you need total management of your networks and systems?
Picture your networks and now imagine there is a pretty serious fault.
What do you do? Who are you calling? Who do you turn to?
- You pick up the phone to your Managed Service Provider who works with you to resolve the issue.
- You pick up the phone to your Managed Service Provider who resolves it for you.
- Your managed service provider has done one of the following:
- The fault has already been picked up and being worked on.
- The fault was headed off before it happened because your networks were being monitored and managed.
Level of Agreements
All good Managed Service Providers should be able to tailor and custom their efforts to your business.
Ask them if they provide a Master Service Agreement mapping out areas of responsibility and deliverables? Do they work with you to create one that is best suited to you and your needs to keep you focused on your business goals?
I come back to my original point about knowing what you are looking for from a Managed Service Provider.
A key consideration around Managed Services is the trade off you make and what your staff could be doing instead. If your staff can then be engaged in more business driving activities and helping you gain competitive advantage then that time is much better spent!
We have seen customers look to Managed Services as business enablers, helping them free up resource to work on new and exciting projects and not just “keeping the lights on”.
For us, we believe that a Managed Service Provider is also about being a trusted advisor. A critical friend you can talk to and that understands your needs and what you are trying to achieve and enables you to get them.
Ownership of the Customer Experience
This may sound like business speak, but basically it is all about knowing what the customer needs and giving it to them.
Do they provide a single point of contact into the business so you know who you are talking to and who to contact should you need to?
Do they consult with you about your networks making valued suggestions and ideas for improvement?
Do they provide you all the support and services that you need or are you left wanting more?
A good Managed Service Provider can become as integrated in to your business as you need them to be, either fully managing your systems from end-to-end or just supplying the support you need on a daily basis. The decision is very much yours to make, but knowing the questions to ask and the things to look for can help you make the right one.
What are you looking for from a Managed Service Provider? What are your thoughts on the ones you have found so far?