Need to Exploit Your Managed Service Provider? Ask These Questions
Imagine having access to an entire IT help desk, locally based in Michigan, without having to add a single person to your payroll. Even better, your organization’s own IT support help desk would be available around the clock, 24/7, for a fixed cost monthly agreement.
You may think the scenario above isn’t plausible, but it is. Hiring an entire team of personnel isn’t the practical solution, but hiring a local managed service provider to provide a team for you is the solution that could put your organization on a steady pace of growth.
Sifting through the managed services market can be tough and competition is fierce. If you’re holding managed service provider try-outs, these questions are going to be the x-factor when deciding the right fit:
1) What’s your billing model?
Technology spending is a necessary evil to some owners, so it should be spent the way you envision. Spending your IT budget towards time and materials creates a natural conflict of interest. Paying a fixed rate versus the hourly rate ensures you won’t be dealing with subpar band-aid fixes that keep failing, and in return costing you more money with every “repair.” Hourly-rate IT support only capitalizes when you’re down, and that’s when things can get awkward.
2) Are your technicians specialized in anything?
This one is quite obvious for many reasons, but it deserves attention. Every team you’re interviewing will have technical abilities in some capacity. Generally, every IT professional will want to help and say “yes” even to the things they don’t specialize in. Our best advice is to look at the team with greatest breadth and depth of capabilities. Having a team that is ambitious is great but sometimes finding a team that will designate a certain specialty to 1 or 2 people is even greater. Bonus tip- find an IT team that handles vendor management. Therefore, even if they don’t specialize in your particular software, they have the ability to work directly with the vendor- saving you time and money.
3)Do you outsource any of your help desk services?
Some managed service providers enlist the help of third parties, delegating certain help-desk activities to cut costs. While this may be advantageous for the IT provider it can lead to lower quality of service when dealing with simple issues that will take up little of a local expert’s time. For instance, if you call our phone, there is a 100% chance our team local team in Michigan is assisting with your issue, regardless the time of day or holiday schedules.
4) What is your length of contract terms? What does it include?
Anyone can enter in a contract, but it takes a real high caliber team to uphold their end of the deal and living up to service level agreements for 1 or 2 years. To stay true to ourselves and to our clients, our contracts are month-to-month. This ensures we are holding up our end of the bargain by maintaining the superior service that brought you to us in the first place.