IT Governance

How to Get the Most from a Managed IT Services Provider

Managed service providers (MSPs) have become a trusted component of IT operations for many. They take care of messy and mundane stuff so that business IT can focus its time and resources on strategic work. A relationship this fruitful for the business should be managed to be as effective as possible. In an article for CIO magazine, Thor Olavsrud shares some tips to get there.

Managed to Excel

MSPs are growing at a regular rate, and the ones that incorporate SaaS are doing even better. MSPs are being relied upon to manage email hosting, backup and recovery, customer relationship management, and other expected functions. But notably, some businesses are choosing to take on MSPs to handle more sophisticated services too, like business process outsourcing and cloud infrastructure management.

When selecting the right MSP for your business though, you should not make cost the beginning and end of the discussion:

“Look for MSPs that understand your business and that speak less about the technology,” [Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA] says. “I think that’s important across the board. You want a partner that can talk about business outcomes and how their services are going to help further your goals from a business perspective, not a technology perspective.”

Here, April says a proven track record is key — especially customer testimonials from existing customers. She warns that it should be a red flag if an MSP offers you a cookie-cutter service-level agreement (SLA). It’s a much better sign if they seek to craft a customized contract based on your business and needs.

It is critical to view MSPs as a strategic partner in enabling IT success, as opposed to being just a bunch of people who are cheaper than your own IT department. MSPs support, augment, and enhance what IT is already doing or wants to be doing. The fact that MSPs cost less has almost become an ancillary benefit. The discussion now is directed more toward how IT can use MSPs to help them create new value. If your organization is using MSPs in this way, then you are headed in the right direction.

You can view the original article here:

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