If you’re struggling to find a managed service provider that you’d like to handle your IT, then you’re in the right place. Before hiring anyone, ask these 10 questions first. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what they can do for you and if they offer the type of services you’re looking for.
Are you looking to hire a managed service provider?
If your internet goes down, hard drives crash, or you experience a cybersecurity attack, your business might not recover without the support of a managed service provider. In fact, 44 percent of businesses report that they could lose up to $10,000 per hour if their systems go down.
If you’re struggling to find a provider that you feel is going to work in your best interest, read on to learn more.
What is a Managed Service Provider?
Before you start the process of choosing a service provider, it’s crucial that you understand what one is and what they can for you.
In short, a managed service provider takes over tasks that your company wouldn’t have to staff to handle otherwise. Essentially you’re outsourcing some of your needs to a different company.
This is common in IT departments because there are hundreds of different tasks IT has to tackle in a day, and most companies don’t have the resources to employ the necessary staff.
If you want to learn more about IT managed services, read more here.
Questions to Ask Before You Hire
You need to properly vet every vendor before you start working with them, or there could be a serious issue down the line. If you’re not sure where to start, here are ten questions to ask your providers:
1. How Will I Stand Out?
Competition is tough, will your service provider help you stand out from your competition? They should, and they should always work in your best interest.
To stand out in the crowd, you need to have a website that works, reliable services and great customer service, if your provider will ever have contact with your customers. This should be one of the first questions discussed with a potential provider.
2. How Will You Be a Partner With our Company?
You don’t want a service provider who sees you as just another client. You need someone who looks at your company as a partnership, and one that they value.
Your service provider should take the time to get to know your business, know your customer and understand the unique challenges you face.
3. How Do You Adapt to New Technology?
Technology is constantly changing, and you don’t want a service provider that’s stuck years behind of the rest of them. This will eventually make your company fall behind as well.
Make sure you ask about their processes for implementing new technology and do your research on the technology that they’re currently using.
4. How Will You Help Us Adapt to Technology?
Your service provider shouldn’t just incorporate technology into their practice, they should help you and your employees understand how things work as well.
5. How Much Will This Cost Me?
Cost is obviously a major issue for most businesses, and of course, this should be discussed with your service provider before you agree to anything. Make sure they are fully transparent on every fee you will pay. Using a service provider is generally cheaper than hiring staff, but you still don’t want to be surprised when they send you a bill.
It’s also important that you don’t simply go with the service provider with the lowest bid. Consider what each one can bring to the table as a whole.
6. How Transparent Will You Be?
If there’s a problem with your systems, do you want to know about it? Or do you want a service provider who will simply handle the problem without you breaking a sweat? These are both questions that should be answered.
Every company is different, but most executives will want a certain level of transparency with their managed service providers.
7. Will You Update Legacy Infrastructure?
Some companies bring in managed service providers because they want help updating and streamlining their current processes. Make sure both you and your potential provider are on the same page regarding how things are currently run in your company.
On the other hand, if your company has no interest in updating your IT processes, is the service provider on board with this? Laying out any and all expectations beforehand will save you from many headaches down the road.
8. What Experience Do You Have?
Not all IT service providers are created equal. Some have been around for years, others are brand new and others specialize in certain IT areas, such as cybersecurity.
Make sure you know enough about their background to make sure you’re confident in their past experience. Also, make sure that their areas of expertise overlap with the areas your business needs help with the most.
9. How Will You Fix Certain Problems?
Before you sign on the dotted line with any service provider, you need to know that they’ll have your back in the middle of a disaster.
If you’ve had an IT issue the past, bring up these pain points in your discussions with the service provider. Describe what issues you had the first time and ask them to explain in detail how they would have solved the situation.
Using hypothetical scenarios can give you a good idea if they will react in real life. You can also bring up potential disasters from past IT service providers (if applicable) and ask them how they would’ve done things differently.
10. What Are Your Company Values?
Putting experience aside for a moment, it’s crucial to understand what your IT service provider values and represents as a company. Make sure they’re a reputable company who has strong values and treats their employees well.
Employee morale is an often overlooked quality in vendors, but employees who like their jobs will work harder for their clients, which in this case is your business.
Want to Learn More?
There are a lot of things to consider when you’re choosing a managed service provider, these questions are just a few conversation starters. Make sure you screen many potential providers so you can make a more educated decision.
IT is critical for your business, so this isn’t to be taken lightly. For more information on technology, IT, business and more check out our other blog articles.