Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are essential for businesses in managing their IT infrastructure. As a business owner or decision-maker, you most likely already have your IT systems managed by a provider. There are times, however, which you may have already encountered, when it may be necessary to consider changing your MSP. Considering an IT provider should be driving your business forward with the latest technology and expert resources, you both should be on board with developing a long-term relationship as you really should not be switching providers every two years.
It can be a hassle for a business to change, which is the main reason many companies stick with providers that they are unhappy with. Thereâ€™s also the worry of the new provider not being any better than the old one, but if you do your research and find a reputable MSP that works with companies of your size, you will find that the level of service is well worth the switch and will have you scratching your head thinking about why you didnâ€™t change earlier. If youâ€™re perfectly happy with your provider and have a great relationship with them as well as a detailed and collaborative action plan for the future, then feel free to skip this article.
If thatâ€™s not you, though, here are ten reasons why you should think about changing your MSP:
You should know what is happening in your business, even if processes are outsourced. Your MSP should provide reports on what is happening and respond whenever you have questions or concerns. Importantly, they should be responding quickly, especially in cases of an emergency. When time is money in business, you donâ€™t want to be waiting on an unresponsive IT provider when all systems are down. Make sure your provider values communication.
Part of working with a client is understanding their businessâ€™ technology needs as, this way, theyâ€™re able to provide your business with the most effective and customised solutions for your industry. This is an ongoing process as technology changes but if you find your MSP not educating themselves and adapting their services to your business needs, you might not be with the right provider. So, while your MSP might lack expertise in specific areas that are critical to your business, they should have at least some knowledge so they can give you guidance and IT consulting. If they have very basic expertise or none at it, you might want to consider a provider with a more comprehensive skill set.
Your relationship with your provider should not feel transactional. It should be one where they are fully immersed in your business to allow them to understand what exactly your business requires. This allows them to meet these needs over time and change these as new opportunities arise that will help your business grow further. Technology is meant to help your business evolve and as your business grows, so does your tech, so they should be collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure youâ€™re receiving the full benefits of an MSP.
When you initially began working with your IT support services provider, you would most likely have established a service level agreement (SLA) with them which holds the provider accountable for meeting the agreed expectations and meeting the agreed outcomes. If your MSP fails to deliver the promised level of service or doesn’t meet your expectations, the SLA will help you identify where they are falling short which then gives you a framework to pull them up on it.
Technology is constantly changing and the fact of the matter is, sometimes, you donâ€™t need the latest stuff. Despite that, while the technology needs of each business are different, there are core technologies that are crucial in this day and age. Your company should long ago have switched to Microsoft 365 as itâ€™s essential in optimising workplace collaboration, and your MSP should be discussing the possibility of shifting systems to the cloud as itâ€™s an easy and cost-effective way to access business tools. If youâ€™ve heard of other companies in your industry working with technologies that are immensely benefitting their business operations, it might be time to find an IT provider that is looking out for your best interests in the long run.
Lack of scalability
For most businesses, your long-term goals often include growing and expanding, and alongside this, you need to ensure your IT strategy is growing with you. You canâ€™t be trying to work around software that caters to only a dozen users when you now have 50. Even if your IT provider focuses on specific areas in both their business and yours, they should be working alongside you in your growth and updating your systems and needs as you go. An MSPs services must stay relevant and show strong results but if they are unable to scale their services to meet your business’s growth, it may be time to consider a provider that can handle your changing needs.
As a Chief Financial Officer or decision-maker in your business, budgets and managing costs is a regular part of your role. Your MSP should be transparent about its fees, which should be a fixed-fee pricing model which has been tailored to the services and deliverables your business needs. You should not be receiving additional fees for services you thought were included or be receiving constant pricing increases. If this happens, the MSP may no longer be tailoring its services to your business needs and its lack of communication with you is a sign you might need to switch providers.
Lack of security
Sadly, itâ€™s now part of life that scammers and hackers are trying to infiltrate your business. Your MSP must be implementing effective security and Cyber Security measures into your business, especially since last year the government implemented new legislation that means companies can face fines of $50 million if they fail to adequately protect peopleâ€™s data. Your MSP should be having ongoing conversations with you about security and Cyber Security that are integrated into your long-term planning.
Lack of backup and disaster recovery
Data loss can have a devastating impact on your business, such as reduced productivity, lost revenue and even lost customers and reputation. With risk management an essential part of running a business, it goes without saying that your IT provider must have processes in effect that regularly back up your data, whether that be daily, weekly or monthly backups and you should know where those backups are stored. If your MSP doesn’t have a robust backup and disaster recovery plan, it may be time to switch to a provider that can ensure your data is protected.
Poor value for money
This should have been a part of your research at the proposals stage when searching for an IT service provider in the first place, but if you have been in partnership with your provider for some years and feel as though youâ€™re not receiving services that correlate with the amount you are paying, it might be time to browse other providers and see if you are receiving what they are offering. Cost should not be the only reason you change your MSP as you will generally find others with similar pricing. You might even be happy to throw money into your IT as long as issues get fixed, but when youâ€™re seeing no outcomes, it may be time to consider a provider that offers better cost-benefit.
Changing your IT service provider can be challenging, but ensuring that your IT systems are in good hands is crucial. Hopefully, these ten warning signs are that final push over the edge to get you to switch your provider if youâ€™re experiencing fluctuating levels of bad to good service, because really, whatâ€™s the point of having an MSP if youâ€™re not receiving the benefits?