Selecting a Managed Services Provider (MSP) often begins and ends with great sales pitch. A utopian image is created, and of course references are offered up to show you just how great they really are. So your confidence and trust is placed on a pedestal and the promise of this utopian IT paradise is now a signature away – what’s more we can have it for three years!
Then the harsh realities of the day after next set in – delivery. This leaves much to be desired to say the least. The exiting incumbent is making it difficult, the expectations of senior management and key stakeholders aren’t being met, and vigorous emergency meetings to get things back on track are held.
The truth is that many MSP’s will offer the same experience. The romance of the utopian sales pitch has been replaced with the harsh reality that challenges still exist.
So what should you do when selecting the best fit for purpose Managed Services Provider?
- The first thing is to get past the sales pitch. It’s the job of the sales person to believe that what they have to offer is the best – your job is to get beyond that pitch.
- Aligning culture. Get to know the team behind the machine. Have your team leaders and operational champions meet with their counterparts if possible. This will help with any cultural challenges you might face in the future. Value the opinion of your staff, as they’ll be the ones working in the trenches with this new addition to your team.
- Ensuring that the MSP is strong in governance (without negating agility) is a must. Simple traits such as proper change management will avoid any unnecessary future outages.
- Passion for success. Align with an MSP that is passionate and knows your business. You’ll find one or two members of the MSP instinctively form a vested interest in the success of this relationship. They will champion your voice internally into your provider.
- Clearly defining what success looks like. Define simple outcomes and KPIs. More than SLA responses, it is prudent for you to note down five to ten points that you will use to measure this success. For example, if you’re investing in new network infrastructure, measure the performance of the end user on a business application they use today. If the end user experience improves, you’ve succeeded. Similarly, if there is little to no improvement, then perhaps the solution was incorrect. If the user experience drops, then the project has failed.
- Technology expertise. Nothing could be more frustrating when your team can’t rely on the MSP for technical advice (outside of application). It’s imperative that you choose an MSP who can have the intelligent conversation with your team, as this will build up trust and help with the new change to culture.
- Whilst price is not the only driver, it needs to marry in correctly with the perceived value your organisation is expecting. Regular service meetings are a good way in highlighting this value.
In summary, your success and the right choice of Managed Services Provider is found beyond the sales pitch. Getting to know your Managed Services Provider intimately is key to a smoother transition, so investing time is prudent as you’ll be working with them over the next few years.
For more information feel free to contact the friendly staff at mcrIT.