Growth gives businesses the freedom to understand just how much can be improved. It might be the way you file taxes; it might be hiring and firing practices. Small and Mid-sized business executives have to understand and execute many skills every day, but some of these can and should be outsourced to professionals.
It is only after we grow that we realize how much money and time we could have saved with the right help from the right partner. So who is the right IT partner?
A great Managed Services Provider will help your business turn technology from a bottleneck into a growth catalyst. However not all Managed Services Providers will be capable of the same level of strategic support.
It is vital that you be able to tell the difference, so we’ve developed this easy guide to ensure you will receive quality service.
9 Criteria for Evaluating Managed Services Providers
Managed Services Providers are typically the best choice for small and mid-sized companies with at least one of two problems. Either they do not have the resources to manage a large on-site IT staff, or they need additional support in the achievement of strategic objectives.
Technology assets need to run smoothly 100% of the time, and the business needs a process for delivering higher and higher ROI from technology. This second part is harder to find but has never been more important than in 2019.
Here are the 10 criteria you can use to evaluate a Managed Services Provider.
Availability and Quick, Local Response
Technology does not sleep. Your Managed Services Provider needs to be available and able to respond quickly to your location, 24-7. Continuous availability means that in the unlikely event that a problem does occur, your business performance will not suffer even when on-site maintenance is required. Be sure to ask how long it would take for them to get a professional to your all office locations.
Proven Ability to Deliver Strategic Assets and ROI
Many providers have bolted together the helpdesk and security packages to support the business, but few have proven themselves capable of supporting strategic objectives that deliver demonstrable value. But this is exactly the kind of Managed Services Provider you want to find.
Third-Party Vendor Relationships
Vendor management is a strategic asset. There are so many different hardware, software and services vendors that management can be a challenge, especially as a business grows. Vendor relationships ensure that your Managed Services Provider is well connected and capable of helping you manage vendors successfully.
IT Budget Planning
Budgeting is a mix between strategic and base support. A great Managed Services Provider will drive value in your technology projects by breaking down accurate maintenance costs and estimating/controlling future technology expenses. In both cases, look for a business that will help you optimize costs to increase ROI over time while delivering within your budget.
Disaster Recovery Planning
Ensuring continuous uptime is about planning. Each business has unique locations and assets, requiring an individually customized plan for recovery in the event of disaster.
Security Testing and Monitoring
Security protocols evolve on a daily basis. Hacker communities develop new malware, exploit new vulnerabilities, and deploy new modes of attack. A Managed Services Provider will monitor evolution across the globe while performing 24-7 monitoring and network tests. This greatly enhances your business’ protection.
Daily Backups and Cloud Services
Managed Services Providers help to alleviate many of the daily maintenance tasks that can bog down internal IT personnel. But more importantly, a great provider will be thorough. Always ask for frequency of backups. Anything less than daily is unacceptable.
Employees need to be able to use existing technology assets, and they will not always have the right skills for the task at hand. Make sure your provider offers helpdesk support with remote access, so that employees can always get the answer they need quickly.
Putting out fires is great, but fire prevention is better. Make sure you hire a technology partner who will help you address future problems before they start eating your profits.
Download the Managed Services Providers Evaluation Spreadsheet
You want a Managed Services Provider who has both support and strategic capabilities. Even if you do not need strategic capabilities now, you want a company that can take you to next-level functionality if and when the need arises. Good luck in your search.