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What to Look for in a Managed IT Services Provider

/ by ATSG

Managed IT Services Considerations for Your Business

There's a lot to consider when hiring a Managed Services Provider. Perhaps most important is to think of today's MSPs as a partner to your business and make sure they truly understand your organization. Also, be rest assured that they'll never replace but rather complement internal IT as well as recognize them as an opportunity for productivity.

As a subscription-based society, we’ve become accustomed to the “as-a-service” model. We rely on this format for everything from entertainment (ala Netflix and Hulu) to grocery shopping. Consuming services via a subscription-based model offers appealing benefits such as convenience, flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

The model transcends consumer considerations as well. Most modern businesses have incorporated “as-a-service” into their strategic business plans. Often this comes in the form of hiring a managed services provider (MSP). The prominence of MSPs is rapidly growing and playing a significant part in the revenue-related activities of all IT providers.

Think Partner Not Provider

The rate of technology change brought about by businesses moving to the Cloud has amped-up the need for CTO’s to find new ways of doing business. They are looking to infuse rapid deployment, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness into their organizations. Leaning on a managed services provider for all or part of IT services can put chief technologists well down the road to achieving those goals. Allowing the service provider organization to handle more than just mundane tasks and take on more mission-critical tasks is beneficial. It can free up internal staff to stay focused on new implementations, product refinement, or other strategic undertakings.

[Learn everything you need to know about Managed IT Services.]

Hiring a managed services provider, however, means looking beyond hiring the largest organization or the most familiar brand. Instead, it’s more important to seek out the one that truly understands your organization. The right provider should realize your strategic goals and endeavors. Then they’ll be able to create a “just right” pairing of technology and services to the needs of your business. In other words, they should be true partners.

Finding a provider with whom you can establish a robust and strategic partnership is essential. In considering your managed services provider, here’s what to look for to get the most out of that partnership.

Managed Services Providers Are Not a Commodity

Research firm MarketsandMarkets predicts that global managed services, which includes managed data center, managed network, managed mobility, managed communications, managed security, and other managed services will grow to $258 billion by 2022. That represents a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1%. And North America is expected to lead that growth.

The development of the industry has brought innumerable players into the market creating a seeming commoditization of providers. This may tempt IT decision makers to bargain shop for a managed services provider. Resist that tendency. An MSPs should show that they understand your business. They should speak less about the technology and more about business outcomes. The goals of the provider should be to help further your business and not just add more technology to the mix. CTOs should look for proven track records from providers as well as customer testimonials and certifications.

Meeting Growing Business Needs

Many managed services providers got their start by managing network and software infrastructure. Today’s businesses need an MSP that can deliver advanced services in addition to managing networks. This includes cloud infrastructure management, application management, and business process outsourcing.

There is also a growing demand for services around advanced analytics and reporting, business intelligence (BI), and application monitoring. While some already offer those higher order services, many are still struggling to get there. Hire a managed services provider with the intent that they will help the organization grow. Proven competency in emerging technologies seems essential to ensure that outcome.

Think Partner Not Replacement

Too often, the idea of a managed services provider sends shivers up the spines of IT staff who envision their replacement by the outside entity. That shouldn’t be the case. Instead, they should recognize this as an opportunity for productivity. MSPs generally complement rather than replace internal IT.

Companies should take the mindset of using an MSP to free-up existing IT staff to focus on more strategic projects. This provides an opportunity to elevate the prominence of the IT staff within the organization. It allows them to focus on more strategic initiatives such as a custom application development or cloud migration projects.

Consider All Benefits

While cost benefits often drive the use of MSPs, there are other advantages as well. Generating revenue and helping the company become more flexible is just as important criteria when thinking about hiring a managed services provider. Be sure to think broadly in considering an MSP. The problem at hand may be the immediate need, but the right partner can be so much more.

Check out our page to learn what you need to know about Managed IT Services.

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