Lets Start Here, What is an MSP?
An MSP or Managed Service Provider acts as an external IT department for
your business. The benefit of partnering with an MSP is that you benefit from a full team of IT experts and their knowledge for less than it cost to hire a single full-time IT professional internally. Businesses can choose to either outsource all or part of their IT needs to fit their organization.
List of Questions to Ask
1. What background and experience do you have in serving the IT needs of businesses like mine?
To discover if an MSP is a fit for your organization, get a full idea of how they support businesses of your size and vertical. Ask for references that have been with them for a year or more. Do these references have some sort of personal connection to the owners, or did they come to them from a referral?
2. What am I going to get for my investment?
There are monitoring and automation tools available to help MSPs provide a great experience to their customers. However, not all MSPs take advantage of the tools that are available. Some may only offer a couple of services that may not cover all your technology needs. Another issue to look out for is some MSPs rely solely on technical applications due to a lack of staff. The MSPs that are most successful utilize a combination of trained experts and technology to serve customers. How many number techs and engineers do they have? How long have they been doing managed services? What percent of revenue is derived from MSP work compared to things like printer service & supplies, programming web sites, programming applications, or selling hardware? If a company isn’t in the MSP business 100%, then they likely will have only one or 2 techs / engineers that can work on your business. Look for a local MSP that offers a comprehensive solution that involves detailed processes and technical tools managed by professional IT experts.
3. Can you handle growth?
The most complicated issue when choosing an MSP is determining if the MSP’s business model is strong enough to support your business growth. When interviewing an MSP, dive into their business longevity, systems, processes, and their plans for future growth. We have seen businesses outgrow some MSPs’ ability to effectively manage a client. It typically gets messy. An MSP with long-proven history of helping businesses support growth initiatives is a great indicator of a healthy MSP that will be able to support your business for years to come.
There are many more questions to ask during the vetting process. Our hope is that his quick list will help point you in the right direction.