Business partnerships between your team and a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be a powerful way to enhance your organisation’s IT capabilities. MSPs provide a wide range of IT services, including network management, data backup and recovery, security and software development. They also alleviate some of the IT burdens that small and medium-sized enterprises face and they offer technical expertise, cost savings and the ability to improve the end-user experience, as well as to improve security and to create a better employee experience. Ultimately, a healthy, long-standing partnership is what both parties are aiming for.
What might this relationship look like?
Here are some insights into what business partnerships between your team and an MSP can look like:
- Collaboration and Communication: One of the essential elements of a successful partnership between your team and an MSP is collaboration and communication. Your team and the MSP need to work together closely to ensure that the services provided by the MSP align with your business goals and objectives. Communication is critical to ensure that expectations are met and any issues are addressed promptly.
- Clear Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Service Level Agreements (SLAs) define the services to be provided by the MSP and the performance standards that will be met. Clear SLAs ensure that your team and the MSP have a shared understanding of the services to be provided, the timelines for service delivery and the expectations for service quality. SLAs also provide a framework for measuring the performance of the MSP and ensuring that service delivery meets the agreed-upon standards.
- Customised Service Offerings: MSPs offer a wide range of services and it’s important to choose an MSP that can tailor their offerings to meet your specific needs. Customised service offerings ensure that you get the services you need, without paying for services that you don’t need. Your team and the MSP should work together to identify the most important services to your organisation and develop a customised service package.
- Continuous Improvement: Technology is constantly evolving and working with an MSP committed to continuous improvement is essential. The MSP should have a process for identifying new technologies and service offerings that can benefit your organisation. Regular meetings between your team and the MSP can ensure that you are aware of new services and technologies that can improve your IT capabilities.
- Scalability: As your organisation grows, your IT needs will also grow. The MSP should be able to scale their services to meet your changing needs. A good MSP will have the resources and expertise to provide the services you need, regardless of your organisation’s size or complexity.
Tips for building a strong partnership with your MSP
Choose your Provider Wisely
We have an entire article about how to find a good provider for you â€” read that article here â€” but essentially, you need to find one that fits your needs. Like all businesses, each MSP is different and while one may suit next doorâ€™s business perfectly, it might not suit yours. An MSP should drastically impact the efficacy and performance of your IT systems, so make sure you choose one that has the right services, expertise and reputation that is important to you.
Communication is crucial to any relationship so make sure both parties are transparent about challenges, goals and progress going forward. Your MSP needs to know everything it can about your business so it can provide you with appropriate recommendations tailored to your business. You should also outline the type of relationship you expect from the provider, such as great service, timeliness and expert opinions.
Set Goals and Responsibilities
As a business, you also need to know the capabilities of your MSP, which should have been detailed to you at the beginning of the partnership. They should have also outlined a range of goals that both they and your business need to achieve to see your business technologically advancing. Ensure you are also aware of the MSPâ€™s role within your team, as they do have one, but you need to understand where their duties and roles stand. This should have been communicated to you in the contract stage.
Be able to Adapt
One of the reasons you hire an MSP, other than for them to manage your IT systems, is so you have access to IT professionals who can provide you with recommendations on improvements to your network, hardware and software. Sometimes, they would also have standards that they informed your business had to meet for them to work with you, so make sure your business is considering these so that your business can achieve its goals.
Monitor the Relationship
Like any relationship, make sure to check in regularly, whether that be in-person, via a phone call or video call, to make sure everything is running smoothly and everyone is on the same page. Meetings for updates and evaluations allow for open communication and strengthen your long-term relationship with the MSP. Relationships also change and evolve over time, and they can also potentially sour if a disagreement arises. Keeping up with communications and informing each other of issues should be a regular occurrence.
Working with an MSP is a long-term partnership. Unless you are not receiving the level of service required, you should aim to stick with the MSP rather than changing it every few years. This saves you time, stress and money and allows you to establish trust with the provider, where you can openly discuss each otherâ€™s shortcomings and where each party can improve. This allows you both to grow and prevail as businesses. This also encompasses the MSP understanding your business goals so that it can work with you long-term in achieving these and improving your businessâ€™ IT level. It might help to create a roadmap for this.
A business partnership between your team and an MSP can be an effective way to enhance your organisation’s IT capabilities. Collaboration and communication, clear SLAs, customised service offerings, continuous improvement and scalability are essential elements of a successful partnership. Choosing the right MSP and building a strong relationship with them can help your organisation achieve its IT goals and objectives.