Whether you are the owner of an established organization or starting off as an entrepreneur, being a business owner means always having your hands full with one thing or the other. In such a situation, having a Managed Service Provider (MSP) monitoring and handling your company’s infrastructure, network, security, and applications, can prove to be immensely beneficial, as it will allow more time for you to focus on your core business operations.
In this article, we will discuss other benefits of hiring an MSP to oversee your business needs and, since choosing the right MSP can be a complicated process, we will also address the factors that you should consider before recruiting an MSP.
Benefits of Managed Service Providers
Most MSPs boast an experienced team of experts that are available to help you in whatever way you need them to. MSPs make sure that a company has all the required resources it needs in order to keep functioning smoothly and efficiently. And, of course, the more confident customers can feel about your technicians and support staff, the more likely they are to form long-term relationships with your business.
An MSP can optimize your business functions by leveraging its expertise. Although you might have to pay a premium for this expertise, it will assist you in reducing trial and error and saving more money in the long run (more of that below).
An MSP adds efficiency to your workforce programs and other services, making sure that business processes are streamlined and that there is no wastage of resources, leading to tremendous cost savings and ease in administrative burdens for your organization.
Business data and intelligence
In today’s business world, data is king, and without access to crucial business intelligence, it will be nearly impossible for you to outdo your competitors. Managed Service Providers can equip you with real-time data, such as spending patterns, program management, and vendor metrics.
Not hiring an MSP means that you are responsible for managing multiple contracts and pricing structures, which can be time-consuming and complicated. However, once you sign an MSP, you will only have to concern yourself with handling the MSP’s contract, while the vendor contracts and other obligations shall be taken care of by the service provider.
Working with a managed service provider for, say, your digital marketing needs, can help you establish regular, high-quality content, publish case studies, and even send out periodic emails. This consistency will help you strengthen your marketing presence, leading to more leads which will ultimately translate into more earnings and customers.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Managed Service Provider
Though a newly established provider might not shy away from a challenge, your business will be better off being served by an experienced MSP.
So, for instance, if you own an accounting firm, you would rather have a professional service with accounting industry experience rather than someone who is more familiar with, say, the food industry.
With experience comes the ability to accurately predict problems and deal with them before they become a hindrance for the organization.
Scope of services
Before you sign the contract, make sure that your chosen MSP provides the full range of services and products needed for your business operations. These requirements might include laptops, computers, tablet devices, and even payment systems and cloud computing.
Before selecting an MSP, make sure that they are covered by insurance, as it will allow you to ascertain that any mistakes that the MSP makes will be paid for. Ensure that they have an ongoing insurance policy.
Since business requirements are constantly changing, you do not want to put pen on paper for a contract that feels rigid or ties you down too much. Go for flexible contracts that allow space for the addition, removal, or even elimination of services without too high a penalty.
If the MSP is unwilling to outsource services, do not forget to enquire about their staffing capacity and levels. Your managed service provider should have sufficient personnel to handle your business needs effectively.
If a service providing company is well-established, it is likely to have set procedures and protocols for its major tasks and services. You could ask them about their standard practice for troubleshooting a client’s problems.
Ask for a few references that will help you verify the MSP’s customer skills and industry experience.
Understanding the billing structure has more to do with the impact it has on your accounts payable – how the company charges for its services might provide a window into the company’s integrity and ethics.
For instance, you should stay away from companies looking to charge hourly rates for everything, and instead, sign with an MSP that has a flat-fee structure for specific services. Companies that have a flat rate would have more incentive to get things right the first time around, and this will, of course, benefit your business as well.
You would not want to enter into a long-term contract with a firm whose long-term existence is in question. You can assess the company’s stability by going through its financial statements, press releases, or verifying through references.
To conclude, an MSP leads to time and cost savings, as well as increased consistency. However, if you decide to go with a service provider, avoid hiring one that has a standardized package – you would want a company that is malleable, innovative, and adaptable to your changing needs and situations.