Whether you run a well-established business, are just starting out, or are leading an IT department within your organization, you have a lot of responsibilities to handle. You are probably willing to take on a variety of challenges and work hard to make your dreams come true. However, you shouldn’t need to manage your own information technology (IT) infrastructure while trying to balance all of your other responsibilities. By hiring a managed services provider, you will free up the time to focus on your core duties and never stress about being responsible for your own technology system again.
Even if you’re convinced you should hire an IT company, it can be difficult to select the best one. Here are some factors you should consider when deciding on a managed service provider to help your company thrive.
When you’re looking for an MSP, you’re really looking for an outsourced CIO. You don’t want someone who is only going to fix what is broken; you want someone who will fix what is broken and plan for the future. You’ll be able to tell if this is the case from the first meeting. Is the MSP more focused on the technology or your desired business result?
IT management is a 24/7 job, and true Managed Service Providers (MSP) will use some kind of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tool to actively monitor and manage your systems. RMM systems constantly monitor, maintain, and if needed, heal broken systems within the network automatically. RMM systems allow MSPs to automatically heal a system that has gone out of tolerance but will alert human management about a problem if there aren’t standard systems to bring it back into service.
While it costs MSPs more money to hire highly-experienced engineers, it leads to far better overall service for you. Inexperienced staff, even if they’re familiar with the IT landscape, can spend too much time on simple issues or can make a broken system worse. Ask your future MSP who your engineer will be, how much experience they have, and what they specialize in.
It’s critical to have an IT professional on your side who understands the importance of mobile devices. When you implement and optimize mobile computing within your workforce, you can improve flexibility for your employees and boost productivity. Mobile computing allows your employees to access information from anywhere in the world instead of just on your private network.
While IT professionals may be able to take on new challenges, it’s preferred to hire an expert who has worked in your specific industry (like a specialized medical doctor). The company you hire does not necessarily need to work exclusively in a single industry, but familiarity goes a long way. And, with the rapid changes in IT, it is crucial that your expert keep up with new learning and the best way is to connect with similar well trained peer to peer experts throughout North America. As an ASCII Group member, your MSP can do just that. The ASCII Group can provide local support for you almost any place in the United States and Canada.
You should be able to get an idea of how an IT company could help you by taking a look at how they have helped others. Take a look at the website for case studies, testimonials, and reviews. Ask for references to learn about the company’s customer service skills and success.
When you hire a company to manage your technology, you want it to be around for the long haul. You want a managed services provider who will be with your business through it all. A good indicator of longevity is how long the company has been in business, checking press releases, and reviewing the company history.
A question you’ll want to ask potential providers is “how often can I expect you to visit my facility?” and “do you offer helpdesk support outside of our normal contract?” Depending on your network, you may need someone at your facility weekly to make sure all the hardware and infrastructure is running properly.
Occasionally, issues will occur that are outside the scope of work with your provider. A good managed service provider will offer helpdesk support as a companion to your contract, so you’re never without answers or help when it’s most needed.