7 Ways to Decide on the Best Managed Service Provider

Tech spending among businesses is way up in 2019 with companies spending billions of dollars to stay ahead of the curve.

Why is spending on tech such a hot habit these days? Because technology helps businesses make more money.

If you’re a business owner, we’re willing to bet that in some way, technology is helping you keep your doors open.

Maybe you have a complex network of servers that you manage or maybe you just have a couple of computers that you rely on to push through a day’s worth of work.

Whatever your reliance on technology is, if you want to keep pushing the envelope while simultaneously protecting yourself from big-time tech issues, you’re going to want to hire the best managed service provider that you can to aid with all of your IT needs.

Here are things to look for when selecting the perfect company to work with…

1. Price

Typically, when you bring on a contractor, one of the first things that you’ll want to look at is how much they charge. When you’re looking to hire the best managed service provider, you’re going to want to prioritize price considerations as well.

There is no industry standard pricing when it comes to managed IT services. Some IT groups will provide exceptional services at low rates and others will provide mediocre services at high rates.

We say that because, in our experience, price isn’t always the best indicator of expertise.

When analyzing price, use it to narrow down the initial short-list of providers that you’re going to reach out to. After all, if you’re priced out of a group’s services, there’s no point in contacting them.

Next, consider if the IT groups that you can afford beat what you’d have to pay/the value that you’d get from having an in-house IT team.

If everything checks out, start making phone calls and interviewing service prospects.

2. Experience in Your Industry

Any group that’s claiming to be the best managed service provider likely has experience in IT. What they might not have is experience in your industry.

That distinction is an important one.

Just think, would you rather have a managed IT group guide your company technologically that understand the realities of your industry or would you rather have a group that has no idea how car sales/television/education work help you to build out a technological infrastructure that serves your needs?

We’re guessing that you’d rather have the team that understands what you do. We’re here to tell you that team is out there.

Always lead with the question, “What do you know about my industry?” and if the answer seems unsatisfactory, keep conducting interviews.

3. Body of References

You don’t want to be an IT team’s maiden voyage.

To clarify, there’s nothing wrong with a group of professionals starting on their journey to become the best managed service provider. But starts are typically rocky and your company shouldn’t be the place where another company works out their kinks.

To ensure that you’ll get outstanding service from your external IT team out of the box, ask to see their body of references.

Most IT teams are actively working with other companies. They should have no problem getting one of their clients to shoot you an email with a thumbs up.

If the team that you’re considering can’t share references, do a quick search online to see if they have public reviews. If public reviews are hard to find, we recommend moving on.

4. Assess How Long They’ve Been in Business

If a managed IT services team has been operating their business successfully for decades, that tells you a lot about them.

First, it tells you that they have a steady flow of clients which has kept them afloat. From that, you can assume that the group you’re considering does good work.

Second, being in business for decades tells you that this group of IT professionals has managed to weather the many technological changes that have come to pass. What that tells you is that this group is dedicated to staying abreast on what’s new in technology. Consequently, they can provide their clients with the consult that they need to stay ahead of the game.

Years in business is a strong indicator of how much you’ll get from a company. Don’t ignore it when you’re weighing your hiring options.

5. Accolades

There are a lot of guilds, conventions, review panels, magazines, etc. that cover the IT industry. Many of these groups give out awards to whoever the best managed service provider is in their estimation.

While it’s uncommon that an IT company will have received industry awards, if you do see an award-winning group that’s taking on new clients, we suggest jumping at the chance to work with them.

For example, Be Structured Technology Group is a MSP 501 winner which is a huge honor.

Again, awards aren’t everything. It does say something though when a group is recognized by industry experts as being above the rest.

6. Insurance

You want to hire the best managed service provider because doing so will minimize your problems. While we admire you being proactive, we have some bad news…

Even the very best managed service provider can make mistakes. When a single mistake is made in the world of IT, the results could be disastrous.

In today’s market, the cost of a data breach will subtract over 3.9 million dollars for a business’s account. All it takes for a data breach to happen is for one person on an external IT team to forget to update something.

We don’t tell you this to scare you. We tell you this because hiring a managed IT services team with insurance is a must.

Depending on the scope of an IT team’s insurance, they should be able to cover most or all of the financial fallout that comes from errors that they commit. Without insurance, you’ll be on the hook for the bill.

7. Responsiveness to Your Needs

The level of service that a contractor is able to give you means a lot. In a perfect world, you want an external team to feel like an extension of your internal team.

They should be available online to help you whenever you have an issue. They should be able to come on-site if you have a problem that requires in-person care.

So then, ask yourself, what level of responsiveness do you think the IT team that you’re considering is going to offer? It can be hard to answer that question without having worked with the group for a period of time. The more information that you can dig up to answer that question prior to putting a contact in place though, the better.

The best managed service provider that you can find should be able to do the following from a responsiveness perspective:

  • Add more team members to your account if your needs begin to scale up
  • Respond to emails at the same rate that your internal team responds to emails
  • Prioritize your 911 IT issues, even if they have multiple clients
  • Conduct on-site trainings to help your team avoid catastrophic mistakes
  • Add services to your plan as your technology needs grow
  • Be a consultant that helps you grow into technology every bit as much as they can fix errors when they occur

Talk to the IT team that you’re considering on the phone. Ask them how well they think they could meet those bulleted qualities.

If they’re confident that they’ll have you covered, give them a try. If they waffle on some of those must-haves, keep searching for a team that’s prepared to offer your company the kind of unilateral value that it deserves.

Closing Out Out Ways to Decide on the Best Managed Service Provider

There are a lot of external IT providers out there. The vast majority of them can help your business.

You’re not just looking for someone that can help your business though. You’re looking for a team that can help transform the way that you do business through technology.

The groups that can help you achieve that second goal have a right to call themselves the best managed service provider. Find that group and you’re going to wonder how you ever got by without their help.

Our team is all about helping people like you learn about tech! If you’d like more information on what’s new in technology and how it can help your company, dive deeper into our blog.