No matter if you’re a rusted-on client who would never switch or someone looking for a new Managed IT Service Provider, there are ways to get more for your money. When it comes to making your IT dollars stretch further, these five steps will deliver more value without adding extra cost.
1. Get them on-site more often.
One of the best ways to get more value from your MSP is to get their staff out to your location(s) more often to work for a day or more. It works because it allows personal bonds to form between your staff and the MSP’s team members.
It also means that site-specific knowledge becomes ingrained in the support team, speeding up resolving all kinds of issues. Done right, you should expect a different team member to visit every so often – the variation helps ensure that IP doesn’t get locked-up in one person’s head but spreads through the support team.
You should be able to negotiate a change to expectations with your existing provider to get someone on-site at no extra charge. This will involve changing your expectations about when support tickets classed as Category 3 to 5 (in other words, not urgent ones) can be addressed, reserving them for the day each week or fortnight (or even month) you get a team member out to the site.
2. Ask for self-service reporting, including Net Promoter Score visibility.
Your MSP will be running a support management system. Ask for access to it so that you can examine the volume of tickets in the queue at any time and look into those that might be taking too long to resolve. Perhaps there is more that can be done at your end to speed up the tickets?
Category 3 to 5 tickets are often waiting on more information from someone at your end to resolve them. You can motivate more action at your back to get those tickets resolved faster.
Your service provider should also be measuring their customer satisfaction score. At Computer One, we use a web application called Delighted to measure our clients’ happiness with the service they’re receiving. We track our average score over the last 30 days overall and by the client.
It would help if you asked for a copy of your team’s satisfaction score for the IT service they’re receiving.
It would help if you also encouraged your team to rate their satisfaction, excellent and evil when receiving the ticket follow-up email. Done right, your MSP will be monitoring the feedback religiously, looking for ways to improve.
And of course, this shouldn’t cost any extra.
3. Ask, “What comes next?”
IT in your industry doesn’t seem to stand still. There’s always a new technology that can add to your competitive advantage or make your business more efficient.
Your Managed Service Provider should understand your organization well enough to produce an IT Roadmap (sometimes called a Technology Roadmap). That’s a document that takes your overall Business Plan and forecasts your IT requirements in parallel to ensure that your technology matches your short and long-term goals.
Your IT Roadmap is a fundamental part of good governance and helps keep long-term capital expenditure as low as it can be to achieve your goals.
Without it, you may find you need step-change investment in technology that consumes too much cashflow at times, but that in-between your investments are too sporadic, leaving your team battling outdated technology for long periods.
It should cost nothing to have your Managed Service Provider produce an IT Roadmap. After all, they should be across your business operations, know your culture, and be able to match your short and long-term goals to the appropriate technology solutions.
4. Communicate more frequently
Like any business relationship, the key to getting the best from your Managed IT service provider service is clear communication. As your business grows and changes, so do your needs with regularly scheduled meetings, any such changes can be discussed quickly and strategy options for coping with changes determined.
Regular meetings also help build a strong working relationship between the two businesses and their leaders, with the Managed IT service provider gaining an improved understanding of your business changes and how they will impact future IT requirements.
The other benefit of this increased communication and stronger bond is increased trust. With a better understanding of each other, all stakeholders will build trust, which helps the Managed IT service provider get on with the service they deliver.
5. Work together to create a data backup and recovery process
Data loss is probably the biggest threat to your business today, whether by accident or through malice. Machines fail somewhere every day, and statistically speaking, it will be one of yours at some point. Meanwhile, ransomware attacks on servers and other security threats are continually increasing, making effective data backup necessary.
By working with your Managed IT service provider on the solution, there are two advantages.
First, by leveraging their expertise and workforce, you can accomplish the project without taking your own IT team away from their existing work schedules. Additionally, by being
directly involved in the backup and recovery solution, your Managed IT service provider is much better placed for effective oversight than they would be if taking over a pre-designed solution.
These tips cover various ways to get more from your Managed IT service provider investment; however, central to it all is to build a strong relationship across organizations. It is teamwork that allows a more effective service, with the Managed IT service provider better able to respond to changing needs and understand future requirements.
Try asking for these things from your MSP. If you can’t get them without extra expense, maybe your provider is not the best match for your organization in the long run.
If you have outgrown your Managed IT service provider (and it will be evident if you have), you must find a new provider who can meet your growing needs. Failing to move on from a partner who cannot support your growth can do only one thing, stifle your potential.
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