Organizations typically partner with a managed services provider (MSP) because they lack the expertise and resources needed to manage, maintain and secure their IT environments. Even if an organization has in-house IT staff, it often makes sense to outsource certain day-to-day IT tasks and gain access to an experienced team of professionals for problem resolution and support.
From a business perspective, organizations look to an MSP to ensure that the IT environment helps increase productivity, enhance customer service and optimize operations. Needless to say, the MSP relationship comes with high expectations that are firmly rooted in the organization’s overall success.
With so much at stake, it’s easy for an organization to become disenchanted with the MSP. There may be a perception that service levels and response times are starting to lag. Maybe there are unresolved issues that haven’t been adequately addressed. Perhaps you got hit with extra charges for services you thought were included. Or maybe the MSP isn’t keeping up with changes in your IT environment or the growth of your business.
If an issue arises that jeopardizes the value of the MSP relationship, you should have a candid conversation with the MSP as soon as possible. Make sure the MSP is aware of the issue, and assess the MSP’s commitment to resolving the problem. If the MSP’s response is lackluster and the action plan inadequate, it may be time to look elsewhere.
Of course, taking action raises another set of issues. Because the MSP relationship is tightly linked with business operations, many organizations worry that changing MSPs represents a monumental risk. Will your business be disrupted if you decide to change MSPs? Will service levels deteriorate when your current MSP is informed of the impending change? Are there any potential risks to your systems and data? Will a new MSP be any better?
These are valid concerns but all of these risks can be managed. A best-in-class MSP will have a well-defined onboarding process that minimizes risk and business disruption. The MSP’s team will take the time to understand your IT environment and operations. This will allow them to prioritize critical applications and data, develop a transition plan, and implement service levels and support processes that keep your business running smoothly.
That said, it often doesn’t make sense to change MSPs simply because someone else says they can do it faster, better or cheaper. Although the honeymoon with your current MSP may be over, it’s important to be objective in assessing what may be missing from the relationship.
You should also go through the usual vetting process before switching MSPs. Get proof of the MSP’s technical expertise, and make sure the MSP offers all of the services your business needs. Speak with the MSP’s customer references and review samples of agreements and reports.
Your relationship with your MSP can play a critical role in business operations. If the MSP isn’t meeting obligations or has become difficult to work with, you have to move on for the good of your business. Contact Atlantic-IT.net to discuss how our outsourced IT services and support can help you meet your business objectives.