You’re convinced: contracting with a managed service provider (MSP) for your business’s IT needs is the right move for a host of reasons. You’ll gain access to a host of specialties, set yourself up well for infrastructure growth, and free up your in-house team to focus on what makes you unique. We agree, it’s the right move!
For many businesses, making the decision is the easy part. Next is the process of choosing which MSP to partner with. There are dozens of options in every major market, and it can be challenging to narrow the field. That’s why we’ve compiled these top questions you need to ask any MSP before signing a service contract.
Scott Weingust from Toronto IT Services company Sysoft recommends “get clear answers to these questions, and you’ll have a much better idea which MSP is the right choice for you.”
You want to offload some or all of your IT workload onto your MSP; that’s a given. However, you don’t want to be in the dark about what’s going on now that someone else is managing your IT service. Ask prospective MSPs about their communication plan. How will they communicate with you about outages, planned upgrades, changes in platforms, and more?
Don’t settle for a vague answer. A quality MSP can clearly explain its communication plan and tailor it to your business’s needs.
When you partner with an MSP, you’ll have a service contract. As with any contract, these can sometimes get complicated. Make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s not covered under your service plan. You don’t want to end up in an agreement that you think includes the cost of all hardware upgrades only to find out come upgrade time that your firm is on the hook for all hardware costs. You also don’t want to discover at your first 2am outage that after-hours service isn’t included in your plan.
Again, a quality MSP will communicate clearly about this, answering any specific questions you give them.
Many MSPs are beginning to focus on specific industries. This is especially true in regulated spaces, like healthcare and finance. Even if you’re not in an industry like that, you may not want to be an MSP’s first customer in your field. Every field has its unique jargon and unique challenges, and you don’t want your MSP to be using you as a guinea pig for your industry.
Of course, sales personnel may attempt to bluff you on this question with a generic answer. Don’t stop there. Get specific numbers. Ask how many companies in your industry they have worked with as well as how many clients they have had in total.
This question gets at real results. You want to explore what kinds of real-world problems the MSP has faced and solved in your industry. Are they merely maintaining status quo, or are they achieving real results?
Yes, this is a direct question, but it’s worth asking. If an MSP can’t differentiate itself from its competitors in the sales pipeline, chances are it won’t exceed its competitors in terms of service, either. Recognize that the sales team likely has a canned answer for this question, though, and ask follow-up questions that push for specifics.
If you’re ready to ask these questions, why not start with us? We’re ready to answer and ready to help.