Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are not all created equal. Some are surprisingly good at selling their services but under-deliver, while others are all-rounders. The last thing you want is to make the wrong decision when choosing an MSP. That can result in missed deadlines, a buggy system, and endless headaches.
So, how should you choose the right MSP for your business?
Know If They Genuinely Understand Your Business Model
The key to a long and healthy relationship with an MSP is knowing what is expected from both ends. The MSP should understand your IT needs and formulate a plan which aligns with your business. For example, you might need to offer live support on your site during weekends and holidays. Ask the potential MSPs if they can deliver this. However, don’t just take their word for it, test their support.
What Services Do They Offer?
Some MSPs offer full-service, while others provide only a piece of the tech puzzle. Ask this critical question in the early stages, to make sure you’ll get precisely what you want. You might also want to go with a provider who offers services your business may need in the future. The general idea here is to find a partner who can scale with your business.
Testimonials and References
In the service industry, reviews draw the line between a successful business and a failing one. If the potential MSP has tons of negative reviews, they are probably not worth the trouble. Ask for testimonials the first time you meet and be sure to follow through. Also, be specific about asking for their long-term clients as referrals. It is the only way to know if you are talking to the right MSP.
Do They Have Experience Working in Your Industry?
Working with an MSP experienced in your industry is a huge plus. They already should have a rough idea of what you need and also have a grip on the latest technologies. That means they are in a position to bring suggestions beyond the normal day-to-day scope. Nothing should ever catch them by surprise.
Most MSPs charge a flat monthly rate, depending on the services you need. But the cost should be lower than hiring a team of IT engineers, and decent enough to assure your business of quality service.
Overall, an MSP is supposed to be a cheaper, better alternative to running an in-house IT department.