Essential Guide To Hiring A Great Managed Service Provider

Integrating your MSP with your internal team

Managed Service Provider, the term used to refer to a company that is hired externally to manage some or all of another organisation’s IT infrastructure. Before MSPs became the norm, internal IT was often neglected and the ‘break-fix’ model that was often employed in organisations quickly began to fail due to things like knowledge gaps in staff, lack of experience and technologies becoming too complex. Now there are dedicated companies who supply a managed service to help companies address their IT issues and help the business become more agile.

When it comes to choosing the right managed service provider, it can often seem baffling with many CTO’s and CFO’s being too time-poor to spend time investigating each MSP company before hiring them. Let us do the hard work for you by covering the essential criteria when it comes to hiring an external MSP that will look to benefit your company and help develop your internal IT teams, at the same time.

Consider the Skills On Offer

Most of the time, when a company is considering outsourcing to an MSP, it’s to compensate for a skills gap or lack of experience within their internal IT teams. Before you start your search, consider where your company’s weaknesses are first within the technology department and look for an MSP that makes a particular focus of the skills that are needed. With so many MSP’s expanding their repertoire to keep up with the evolving world of technology, there is even more expertise on offer for businesses. 

Something to consider: Be mindful of your existing team and their workload too and try to shape the changes to benefiting your employees, not replacing or undermining them.

Research Their Previous Work

Before you commit to hiring an external resource, do your research. Consider their online presence and how often they are featuring other customer experiences when working with them. Most service providers are keen to talk openly about their past successes and learnings from working with clients so look into their portfolio on LinkedIn and even on their website.

Agree on An SLA That Aims To Benefit All Parties

Once you have selected a reputable and suitable managed service provider, make sure to draw up and set expectations for delivery, timelines and other elements that are important to establish when bringing in an external resource. Remember, you are the customer so ensure the needs of your IT teams and development are understood and addressed within the service level agreement and make sure to outline expectations to ensure all parties are aware of the requirements. 

Emphasise A Team Spirit

It is important as a CTO that the dynamic between the MSP and your internal staff is built on a team-focus. An MSP may be an external source but they will need to work well as a team with your internal employees, so make sure to include them in all communications, meetings and general running of your business to ensure the delivery is not impacted by siloed ways of working. After all, they have been hired to bring their own experiences and expertise to assist in developing and growing your business so encourage a dynamic working relationship between external and internal employees.

Prepare Budgets To Cover Skills

As we mentioned, there as been a bit of a boom in recent years in MSP’s within the technology sector, so pricing has been highly competitive. It is therefore imperative to first understand from your CFO what kind of realistic budget will be available to cover the external managed service team for enough time to be able to make a difference. Each MSP will also offer a payment structure to suit your annual budgets so consider whether a tiered or upfront model would suit your organisation and more importantly- your finance department.

A Great MSPs Should Quickly Meet Expectations

Once you have agreed on ways of working and introduced your MSP to your wider teams, there should be a ‘cooling-off’ period between both your company and the MSP in which expectations should start to be met by their work deliveries. Look closely at the functioning relationship between both your MSP and your management team as well as the IT department; how is it going? Are there any teething issues that can be quickly addressed? Have the MSP already been able to deliver beyond your initial expectations? Addressing any issues early on can really help establish strong relationships so keeping in tune with the workforce will help nip any problems in the bud early and nurture a strong, team atmosphere that is all working towards the same goals.

For more information or some friendly, impartial advice on managed service providers, why not contact our team of consultants today.

Agree on An SLA That Aims To Benefit All Parties

Once you have selected a reputable and suitable managed service provider, make sure to draw up and set expectations for delivery, timelines and other elements that are important to establish when bringing in an external resource. Remember, you are the customer so ensure the needs of your IT teams and development are understood and addressed within the service level agreement and make sure to outline expectations to ensure all parties are aware of the requirements.

Emphasise A Team Spirit

It is important as a CTO that the dynamic between the MSP and your internal staff is built on a team-focus. An MSP may be an external source but they will need to work well as a team with your internal employees, so make sure to include them in all communications, meetings and general running of your business to ensure the delivery is not impacted by siloed ways of working. After all, they have been hired to bring their own experiences and expertise to assist in developing and growing your business so encourage a dynamic working relationship between external and internal employees.

Prepare Budgets To Cover Skills

As we mentioned, there as been a bit of a boom in recent years in MSP’s within the technology sector, so pricing has been highly competitive. It is therefore imperative to first understand from your CFO what kind of realistic budget will be available to cover the external managed service team for enough time to be able to make a difference. Each MSP will also offer a payment structure to suit your annual budgets so consider whether a tiered or upfront model would suit your organisation and more importantly- your finance department.

A Great MSPs Should Quickly Meet Expectations

Once you have agreed on ways of working and introduced your MSP to your wider teams, there should be a ‘cooling-off’ period between both your company and the MSP in which expectations should start to be met by their work deliveries. Look closely at the functioning relationship between both your MSP and your management team as well as the IT department; how is it going? Are there any teething issues that can be quickly addressed? Have the MSP already been able to deliver beyond your initial expectations? Addressing any issues early on can really help establish strong relationships so keeping in tune with the workforce will help nip any problems in the bud early and nurture a strong, team atmosphere that is all working towards the same goals.

For more information or some friendly, impartial advice on managed service providers, why not contact our team of consultants today.

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