More businesses than ever before are seeing the value of outsourcing their technology management to a managed service provider (MSP) and it’s easy to see why. The size of the IT industry is expected to touch $557.10 billion in 2028 at a growth rate of CAGR of 12.6% in this period.
With a more hands-off approach to technology management, businesses can focus on delivering quality goods and services instead of worrying about their technology.
If you are considering jumping on the MSP wagon, consider asking the following questions to make sure you understand what you are getting from your provider.
Aaron Hawke, CEO, Xari Group, says about a managed service provider, “Choosing an IT managed service provider is an important decision. The best approach is to compare several potential choices and ask relevant questions about their business, technical abilities, and service.”
1 – What Services Do You Offer?
It helps to know what services your managed service provider is capable of offering to your organization, specifically because it helps to establish expectations and inform your ability to add or remove services according to your specific needs.
For example, if you can foresee a situation where your business wants to move to a more cloud-based infrastructure environment, you want to ensure that your provider offers services like cloud hosting and cloud migration. Otherwise, why would you consider them?
2 – How Experienced Are Your Technicians?
When it comes to your technology, you don’t want some greenhorn handling it. You want a seasoned and experienced technician who has had their fair share of time working with business technology solutions.
This is especially the case in a world where security needs to be at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. You want technicians who both know what they are doing and are knowledgeable enough to distill complex ideas into easily-understood concepts.
3 – What is the Service Level Agreement?
The service level agreement, or SLA, is an agreement between your business and the managed services provider which dictates the services rendered and the costs associated with them. It might include information such as how much you pay, which services are included with that payment, how often you pay for your services, and so on.
Basically, asking this question helps to determine what kind of expectations you have from your MSP and the services they provide for you based on what you pay.
4 – Do You Have Client Reviews?
Even in this digital world, word of mouth continues to be a heavily relied method to find a good service provider. Client reviews and stories are a great way to find out how reliable and efficient your managed services provider is and what are its industry credentials.
5 – How Big is Your Company?
You don’t want to be doing business with a company that promises big things but delivers below your expectations. This is why it is important to know their technical staff and whether they are capable of handling your projects.
6 – What are Your Company Values?
Compatibility is an important factor when you partner with another company. It is a good idea to check the company’s values and whether they match yours. You don’t want to be at loggerheads with them, which will only waste your time, effort and money.
7 – Red Flags for Not Hiring the MSP
Most companies highlight their positives and the reasons why you should hire them. But it is also good to understand their weaknesses. See if your managed services provider is ready to have an open discussion about their weaknesses. This will give you an idea of how honest they are.
8 – How Much Do You Charge for Your Services?
Budget is one of the most important deciding factors in any IT company. The same is true for an MSP. You must check how much they charge for their services and choose the one that fits your budget.
9 – What is Your Onboarding Fee?
Certain companies charge an onboarding fee, which is in addition to the service charges they take. Usually, the onboarding fee depends on your requirements, however, it is always better to get clarity on the actual price. You must also decide if you wish to pay extra.
10 – What is Your Rationale Behind Your Charges?
No company will ever give you the entire breakdown of their fees and charges, however, they should be able to justify certain aspects of it. If they are hesitant about justifying their price, consider that they lack transparency, a big red flag.
11 – What Extra Fees do They Charge?
It is always better to clarify everything regarding the overall fee and respective fee structure before finalizing the contract. ” If you’re being quoted a fixed rate, you need to get an itemized list in the contract and you have to be sure you understand what each item covers,” says Aaron Hawke, CEO, Xari Group.
Ask them what services are charged and what is the overall package so that you have complete clarity. You must also ask if you would need to do monthly and annual payments and yearly rate hikes.
12 – How Long do You Take to Complete a Project?
Time might not always be on your side when you are looking for a managed services provider. You might want to start immediately or get certain things delivered urgently. Knowing how much time the IT company will take to finish their tasks is a good way to start. Also ask if they offer customized solutions.
13 – How Long do Onboarding and Offboarding Take?
Sometimes, it can be a pain coming on board with a company as their processes are too long and cumbersome. An easy and hassle-free onboarding and the offboarding process is a sign of a professional approach.
14 – What is Your Response Time for Critical Matters?
You just can’t afford lengthy downtime, delayed response, data management, data leaks, regulatory compliance requirements or slow disaster recovery action from your MSP. So, clarify how they respond to critical situations and how long they take to fix them.
This is a critical aspect to maintain business continuity. A quick response time, especially to disaster recovery is a mark of professional service.
15 – How Soon Can You Start Onsite Services?
Onsite services are one of the most important additions to your business needs and workplace requirements. You must ask your service provider how soon they can start the onsite work and how efficient they are with it.
16 – Will You Provide Reports of Your Services?
Evaluating how well your managed IT service provider has done its job is a critical piece of information that you must be privy to. And different reports will provide you with that data. Ask your MSP about the reports they will deliver so that you can calculate your ROI.
17 – What Kind of Customer Support do they Provide?
An IT service desk team is a must that your right managed service provider should provide. Check how easy it is to communicate with them and what communication channels they are on.
Also check if they are available twenty four hours or not. This will be really helpful in times of urgency.
18 – What are Your Future Plans?
Having a proper future plan ready is extremely important. Your business will change and so will your IT requirements. Your MSP must have a future plan ready so that they are able to meet the evolving requirements.
19 – Can You Handle All Our Services?
The most obvious answer to this question will be a yes. However, an honest company would tell you if there are certain services that they are not efficient with. This displays their honesty and professionalism.
20 – Can You Provide Some References for Additional Services?
Asking for references is another way of finding out if your MSP has connections and industry knowledge. If they are not delivering all your services, you can connect with any of the references they provide.
Get Started with Managed Services Today
If your business is considering working with a managed service provider to fill the technology skills gap that so many companies find themselves with, we encourage you to think local and work with Point North Networks for your needs.
Our trusted and trained technicians can work with your team to ensure that technology is never a pain point for your business again.
Plus, depending on your specific needs, we can either fulfill the roles of a full-fledged IT department, act as a consultant, implement new technology solutions, operate as a help desk, and so much more. Our services are truly customizable to suit your company’s specific needs and IT infrastructure needs.
To learn more about how we can support your business goals, call us today at 651-234-0895.
Frequently Asked Questions About Your IT Service Provider
Why is it important to ask questions to your MSP before finalizing their services?
The right questions to ask managed service providers is a good way of finding out how well-equipped they are to handle your needs and how efficiently they can manage your IT infrastructure. This can be a deciding factor in a company’s success.
What are the things I must know before hiring an MSP?
A few of the most important things that you must be aware of before finalizing IT service providers are its size and IT infrastructure, workforce, can they host multiple clients, how many team members providing such services are there, what kind of experience the technical staff carry, strategy towards data leaks, if they have their own data centers, data management and correct size to handle big projects, what new technology developments do they work on, their values, the time they take to deliver projects, prices and fees and if there are any extra charges involved.