Finding a True Partner – What to look for with a Managed Services Provider
Managed services give agencies the ability to utilize a partner to manage some of their most complex IT tasks or offload routine day-to-day operations. Managed service providers provide experts who understand the technology and the innovation landscape ahead and utilize those capabilities to improve the overall service delivery for an agency. These providers take end-to-end responsibility for day-to-day administration of part of an organization’s IT system, while also shepherding them through upgrades, enhancements and new technology.
It sounds easy, right? Managed services providers are very popular these days, and seemingly every technology partner offers managed services. Find a managed services provider (MSP), offload a technology function such as networking or cyber security or end-user device management, and you don’t have to worry about that technology function ever again. It’s not quite that simple. Finding the right MSP takes a real assessment of both your organization and the service provider’s capabilities. The only way to fully utilize an MSP is to know exactly what services you want or need managed and how the MSP can fit into your overall mission.
Here are three important things to look for in choosing an MSP.
- Specialists are greater than generalists
Traditionally, MSPs were built with engineers who could have encountered a variety of problems that an agency or organization would encounter. These engineers were essentially, jacks of all trades, but never rose to the level of expert in any one service. They also often treated all businesses the same, regardless of sector or size. Though some of those types of companies still exist, the best MSPs in today’s market are staffed by expert specialists who not only understand your needs, but also your business. They offer specialized experience in solving specific types of problems you may have, not just in the technical sense, but also specific to your industry.
- Find an MSP that fits your unique needs
Not all MSPs are created equal and not all services are created equal. Some thrive in the financial sector, some at servicing law firms and others with federal agencies. You have to find an MSP that can meet your specific requirements. Big box players have prepackaged offerings. You get what you get. You take it or you leave it. Much smaller providers can take their base offerings and create a completely customized solution to your requirements, however might not have the depth of expertise to actually execute and support complex requirements. Find an MSP big enough to provide the services you need yet small enough to tailor their products and solutions to fit unique requirements.
- Look to the future
An MSP should not just be managing your IT systems by just doing standard care and feeding for the day-to-day operations. They should also be looking to make your operations better and more efficient. A great MSP provides comprehensive lifecycle management by integrating new capabilities and technologies and understanding where the industry is moving. Look for an MSP that is continually innovating and can offer you consulting around new technologies specific to your agency. A great MSP also continues to innovate on their service delivery capabilities and methodologies. As technology manufacturers continue to innovate, great MSPs are looking at new capabilities from those manufacturers and bringing new services to agencies.
With those three requirements at the forefront, make sure to find an MSP you can trust. Prospective MSPs should always be transparent when discussing a plan of action to truly figure out an agency’s requirements. A good MSP shows they’re more interested in building a partnership than just selling a service. Likewise, agencies should be able to clearly articulate their requirements and expect specific examples of how an MSP has met similar requirements through their managed services.
At Iron Bow we understand this. We have some of the best talent in the industry focused on everything from networking to WI-FI to cyber security, ready to manage the most mundane to the most complex IT tasks. We’ll listen to your needs and make sure a partnership is the right fit for your mission.
For more information on Iron Bow’s managed services offerings, visit our website.
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