Businesses need to focus on efficiency, cost, and risk management in the digital age. You may have an IT department with a few tech-savvy employees, but handing over your company’s IT needs to them full-time can be risky. It can also be costly, especially if your internal team is too small to handle everything.
A managed IT services provider takes on that role for your business, so you don’t have to hire an outside contractor or spend hours fixing problems yourself. When it comes to managed IT services, there are many things you need to consider before making a final decision. This article will explore why you need managed IT services and the challenges you need to consider when picking a managed service provider for your business.
Why You Need Managed IT Services
If you’ve hired your own internal IT team, you may wonder why you need managed IT services. Aren’t you simply paying double what you need? Not necessarily. Your internal IT team may have too much on their plate to adequately deal with everything. They may have to prioritize either working on special projects and upgrading your system or handling daily tickets and maintenance. This often results in things falling through the cracks. With an MSP on your side, your team can focus on projects that only they can do. Your provider will handle everything else.
Your internal team is limited to your budget. You may not be able to hire experts in every area. That’s not the case with MSP teams. You have access to everyone at the company. They will have experts in everything from cloud services to security, hardware to software. No matter what you need, they will likely have someone experienced in that area.
7 Challenges of Working With a Managed Service Provider
While working with a managed service provider can have a number of benefits, there are also some challenges you may have to face. Many of these challenges actually come from partnering with an MSP that isn’t right for you. That’s why it’s important that you take time to find the right provider. Like all B2B companies, they’re not all the same. Here are seven challenges you may find yourself dealing with if you don’t pick the right MSP:
1. A Lack of Communication
You want to make certain you can connect with your MSP representative whenever you need them. Of course, no one is expected to have someone available 24/7/365, but you should expect, at minimum, a response to emails or texts within 24 hours. They should have someone checking messages on weekends and responding to serious issues. If you go days without getting a response to a message or a returned phone call, you may want to reconsider your partnership.
2. What You’re Getting Isn’t Clear
Do you know exactly what your service agreement with your MSP promises? You should know exactly what you’re paying for, what the provider is responsible for, and what your own internal team is expected to do. If the agreement isn’t clear, ask questions and demand revisions until it spells out exactly what is expected of both parties. Do not sign a vague agreement, and make sure any agreement you do sign includes an NDA or specific requirements for the provider to keep your information confidential.
3. The Provider Uses a lot of Contractors
Your services provider should handle most of the work themselves. If you partner with someone only to find that most of their work is done by contractors or other third parties, it’s valid to have concerns, especially if you don’t know those contractors. You haven’t properly vetted them, and any NDAs and other contracts you have may not extend to them. While an MSP may need a contractor occasionally, you should be given all of their information up front.
4. They Don’t Offer What You Need
When looking at what a provider will handle, you likely have a list of specific tasks you’re looking to pass over to them. If you don’t find a provider who can do everything you truly need for them to take on, you may want to pass on them. Don’t settle on an MSP that does most of what you need them to—thanks to video conferencing technology, you aren’t necessarily limited to providers in your area. Cast a wide net until you find someone who can provide everything you need.
5. They’re Not Transparent
While you’ve brought in a partner to manage your IT needs, that doesn’t mean they’ve fully taken over your system. At the end of the day, it’s still your business and your technology. If you find your provider is doing things without asking or informing you and your internal IT team, there’s a problem. You should know what’s being done to your infrastructure, why, and how it will impact your team and how they work. It can be easy to simply accept the MSP is the expert and let them do what they want, but remember that you have the final say.
6. They Fight You on Your Needs
One of the reasons you partner with an MSP is because they are experts in IT, so there may be times when they do push back on something because they truly know a better way of doing it. However, if your provider is making every change you ask for a battle, it can quickly become frustrating, especially if they don’t provide you with reasons for the pushback. If you’re not getting a logical reason why what you want isn’t an option, it’s a problem.
7. You Have Frequent Downtime
If your system is going down frequently, it’s a sign that your MSP isn’t on top of things. You hired them to keep your website, cloud servers, and other services up. Every time you have an outage, you’re losing money. If your provider can’t keep your system up and running, it’s time for a change.
How to Find the Right MSP for Your Business
Finding the right MSP for your business is more than just finding a partner who will avoid these seven challenges. You need to look for someone who understands your industry and what you aim to accomplish. Look for a provider that offers a clear agreement and provides everything you need. Don’t be distracted by long lists of what they can do—if what you need isn’t on that list, it doesn’t matter.
Before you even take a meeting with an MSP representative, you and your IT team should make a list of what you need the provider to do. Go over these points and learn how each potential provider would address them. Don’t be afraid to take meetings with multiple companies and compare them. You’re shopping for the best service, after all.
3 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring an MSP
During the interview process, there are many questions you should ask. However, here are three that you need to make sure you get concrete answers to.
- What are we paying for? You should have a list of pricing options and what services you get for each. If services can be tailored to your needs, be sure you know the cost of the customized package.
- What certifications/accreditations do you have? Providers that don’t have certifications or partnerships with major companies and developers may not be as legitimate as they appear to be.
- How will you determine our needs? You may have given each potential provider a list of your current system hardware and software along with what you think you need, but how will they evaluate your system? You don’t want a provider that does work based off what you think you need. You want a partner that will proactively look for ways to improve your system performance.
Should You Outsource Your Company’s IT?
Should you outsource your IT needs? There are certainly challenges in finding the right partner, but you’re likely already facing challenges with your internal IT team. That’s why you’re considering outsourcing in the first place.
There are many benefits to working with an MSP. As we’ve already covered, you gain access to an entire team of professional IT experts with a wide range of knowledge and skills. An MSP focuses solely on IT, which means they’re always evaluating the latest cybersecurity measures, infrastructures, cloud services, and other advances. Your internal team may not have time to keep up with these changes, especially if you’re asking them to do so off the clock.
Providers have worked with many different companies in different industries, too, so they have a unique outsider point of view that they can use to evaluate your systems. They may be able to bring a solution they used for a client in a completely different industry to you, and it may be something you’d never have thought of.
3 Key Takeaways
- Understand the challenges you may face when working with a managed IT provider, and don’t be afraid to change providers if they fail to meet your expectations.
- Interview multiple potential providers, and be certain to get concrete answers to the most important questions.
- The benefits of working with an MSP can far outweigh the challenges, especially for a company that doesn’t have a strong internal IT team.
Need a Great Managed IT Services Provider? Wooden Spoon is Here for You
Wooden Spoon IT is one of the most recognized names in MSP in Santa Rosa. Our team has years of experience in IT, and we provide a wide range of customizable solutions. We proactively work with our clients to improve their infrastructure, efficiency, and security using an agile method that allows us to pivot quickly when needed. To learn more about how we can help you, reach out today via email or call us at 707-523-2222