Essential Qualities of a Managed IT Service Provider That Are Often Overlooked
There are many qualities you need to look for when choosing a managed service provider for your business. We have covered many of these in:
However, we have seen over the last decade that many businesses overlook some essential qualities during their decision-making and selection process. We believe these five qualities are of critical importance to ensure you have the best long-term relationship and experience.
Our experience in the technology service industry has taught us the importance of these qualities, and we hope you'll see just how vital they are when choosing between Managed Service Providers.
Downtime can have a significant impact on productivity, recurring interruptions to core systems that your staff rely on can make it impossible for your team to remain productive. Avoiding downtime and the lost productivity should always be a top priority. (What if you building was on Fire?) It is therefore critical for an IT service provider to to be clear on their response times relative to the severity of the reported incident.
The IT Support company will have a list of response times v’s severity, however, what’s often overlooked is Service Level Objectives (SLO). These SLO’s differ from Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) as an SLO is the target response time, whereas an SLA is the minimum standard. If a provider lists only an SLA it may mean they are working to extended response times rather than more strict rapid response times.
Your managed service partner should also have industry expertise, this will ensure you’re unique requirements are understood across the organisation. Having exposure to your industry means the provider will understand your business operations and suppliers which can have a very positive impact on overall service delivery.
How to Determine If an IT Support Company is Dependable?
Ask for references, reaching out to their clients can help you understand if an IT provider is a great fit or if you need to continue looking elsewhere.
Ask for a copy of the SLA / SLO standard and the last 3 months SLA / SLO report, any professional MSP wont have a problem providing you a copy.
Lastly, look at on-line reviews, does the IT company engage with feedback? What is their score? Bring the topic feedback up in your meeting and ask for some feedback the service team received in the previous couple of weeks. This will provide a great indication of their service quality and overall dependability.
Have you ever been on holiday trying to explain to someone who doesn't speak your language what you urgently need? Frustrating, right?
Often a top frustration from businesses we meet is that they have no idea what their IT company is doing, nor do they feel understood.
An MSP should speak your language (you're not a tourist!), and you should know exactly what they are doing week in and week out. This should also include a transparent process for updates, queries, and any potential complaints.
How to Find Out If an IT Support Provider is a Good Communicator?
Not all IT support companies are great at communication. It's a good idea to look for regular newsletters, cyber security awareness training, quick updates, on-time and recurring IT review meetings to better understand if an IT provider values communication with their clients.
Also ask the IT company for a copy of their negative feedback process. How do they deal with any potential complaints for constructive criticism. Does the process favour continuous improvement? It’s always good to know in advance how any concerns you or your team may have would be dealt with.
You also need to be compatible, as working with an IT provider you don't like will never work long-term. We're all human, and this comes first before technology.
When you speak to them, you should know what to expect, while also building a rapport with the team. No one in the business should be too senior to discuss an issue, and you should feel your voice is not only heard but that it matters.
They should be interested in your business, as this enables the managed service provider to gain more knowledge on how and what drives your organisation.
How to Determine If an MSP is Likeable?
A partnership with a managed service won't work if they aren't likeable. An IT service provider needs to be passionate about helping your business succeed.
It's a good idea to look for a managed service provider that invests in soft skills as well as technical skills. You can even ask for a copy of the client manual to see if you can find more information about the assigned staff or even the founder of the company. This can provide a unique insight into their culture and their why.
Capacity can be a chokepoint for so many IT providers, especially when most IT service companies only have five to ten employees. This can often lead to an overreliance on a senior technician or the founder.
When choosing a managed service provider or reviewing your current MSP, it's important to understand their capacity. For example, do they have enough technicians across all skill levels to best meet the needs of your company?
Identifying an IT company that has the right balance between not being too small or to big (like a call center) can be a challenge. However, if you want an IT partner that is focused on your business, it's always worth the effort.
As a client recently said:
"After years of poor IT service from companies that were too small to cope or too large to care, we finally found Lantech and have not looked back since."
How to Find Out a Managed Service Provider's Capacity?
It can be difficult to find out the true capacity of a managed service provider. However, we have a few tips to make this process easier.
1. Request a list of references and contact their clients. It's always best to hear it from those with direct experience working with an IT service provider.
2. Ask the MSP if they are benchmarked. The best IT companies will strive to align to the best practices in the industry. One key indicator is membership in a global benchmarking group.
A managed service provider should be focused on your long-term business growth and success and assist you in achieving set goals through digital enablement and transformation.
It's important to partner with an IT service provider who prioritises being laser-focused on technology and solutions that drive value for you whilst not getting distracted with the latest shiny thing.
A managed IT service partner focused on quality will have enough depth in their service department, with layers of expertise to help your company unlock its full potential with technology and ultimately provide a competitive advantage.
How to Know If Your MSP is Focused?
- Their service offering will be complete, without any unnecessary add-ons for your business. In other words, they are uncompromising in their service delivery and standards.
- The IT company will focus more on your business, productivity, efficiency and risk management than tools and infrastructure. Look for qualified providers in Cloud technology and security services.
- An IT service provider will look at your organisation's individual needs to develop a unique plan to help you take advantage of technology while also giving you the best cybersecurity.
Finding the right managed IT service provider can be daunting as it’s a big decision for your business that requires plenty of research.
Contact Lantech today to schedule a meeting and see how we can help your company become even more successful!