How to choose the right IT services provider
Starting a partnership with a Managed Service Provider can be a daunting process. There are many factors to consider, such as having the right accreditations, staff expertise, and having the ability to grow with you. Perhaps most importantly, you need to be confident in your working relationship going forwards, and that their values align with those of your organisation.
With all of this in mind, we’ve come up with some tips to consider when approaching a new MSP. While these aren’t fool-proof, they should give you a strong basis to work from, and a platform for a successful relationship.
Standing the test of time
When you first choose a new MSP, it will be with a certain set of parameters in mind. Yet while they may be able to meet the needs of your organisation now, they may not be in a position to scale with your business. If you see your organisation growing, it’s important to acknowledge whether the MSP has the ability to meet the challenge – or to downscale if you need to reduce your investment.
A few things to consider:
- Do they have the staff, storage space and technology to support long term growth? Are they currently serving organisations larger than yours?
- Service portfolio. Which services do they offer, what are they planning on adding, and what might they be liable to retire?
- Do they have a legacy of supporting new technologies, and will they help your business to implement them?
Think about the future, both in the best case and worst case scenarios, and ask these questions in advance. This should be part of your due process in choosing an IT services provider, and not something that they should struggle or be embarrassed to answer. You don’t want to realise you’ve outgrown your partner later down the line, and it’s better for all parties to establish this before it happens.
All of the research you do into your Managed Service Provider will be fruitless if they aren’t actually the ones who are managing your services. It’s important to ask whether any part of your managed service will be outsourced to another provider early on, and if this is the case, how exactly that will be managed and monitored.
While outsourcing is not always something to be concerned by, your relationship with your MSP should be transparent and trustworthy. Once the contract is signed, you don’t want to find out anything that will be a surprise later on – or end up having a critical part of your IT infrastructure outsourced to a lower quality provider.
Due diligence and expertise
Simply put, do some research. If you have a good idea of the services you are looking for and the scale at which you need to deliver them, the MSP’s website should provide you with the requisite information. A bad website shouldn’t be the deciding factor, but it can reflect a lack of attention to detail – particularly for a business that’s involved in IT.
Of course, there’s plenty of other information available online that may help you solidify your idea of the perfect IT provider, even if you aren’t fully versed in IT. We would suggest looking for the following:
- Are they credit safe? Look for a credit rating of AAA – it’s the highest possible rating that can be assigned.
- We believe experience is key to success. Look up the business’ records at Companies House to see how long they have been operating for and their company history, including whether they have any cash flow
- Accreditations are key. If the MSP claims to offer certain services but doesn’t have the accreditations to back them up, they may not be licensed to provide them at all, and certainly may not be competent. Most will include an accreditations section on their website – look for things like ISO standards and partnerships with software providers.
- Learn about their people. As well as the business’ accreditations, you should check to see that their staff have the correct individual qualifications and certificates. If this information isn’t available on their website, it may be worth looking them up on LinkedIn – just be aware that they can see you doing it!
- Case studies, sectors and client testimonials are also a good indicator. While these can be written in a way that makes the business look particularly good, the quotes from clients, the work conducted and the size of those clients should be fairly reliable. It may also be worth going to those clients’ websites or social media accounts, and seeing if that relationship has been reciprocated.
What makes them unique?
One final question will give you a good idea of your potential MSP: what sets them apart from other Managed Service Providers? Try to look beyond just the services they provide, and into the added value they offer as a business.
Read through their website carefully, and get a sense of what their mission statement and values are. Look at their blog posts and social media – do they demonstrate attention to detail? Do you get a sense of the people behind the profiles, good relationships with clients, and a positive working environment?
At Sota, our people and technical facilities set us apart from the competition. Our teams of IT professionals across service delivery, engineering, and consultancy are the cornerstone of our business, and our in-house technical facilities – including data centres and Cloud technology platforms – are a reflection of our vision of investment and innovation. We combine these specialist resources to meet the unique technology requirements of every customer, and provide the support and guidance needed to deliver maximum benefit from a successful IT strategy.
We hope that this advice provides useful insight into how to identify the best Managed Service Provider for your business. Take a look at our IT managed services online or get in touch with Sota today.