Are you losing money and time to a low performance IT provider?
Because Managed Services typically means the provider receives a predictable, monthly payment for services from the customer, the term “Managed Services” has become popular with IT providers who don’t follow the rules. Knowing the difference between real and fake Managed Service Providers can save your business time and money! Here are a few ways to uncover the impostors:
- Do they use a PSA (Professional Services Automation) software? ConnectWise and Autotask are the top 2 nationwide. If they’re worth their salt, they’ll be using one or the other.
- Do they create and update documentation using their PSA or a similar software? Documentation is the key to efficiency. Your MSP should talk about, create, update and use standardized documentation related to your services.
- Do they use tickets? If you’re getting e-mails directly from their Service Staff on a regular basis, they’re not using a ticketing system. This means they’re losing information about you. You can expect their invoicing to be erratic, response times to be unpredictable and their technicians to be forgetful.
- Do you get reports? Your MSP should provide regular or on demand service reports that show, in detail, what services were completed and at what performance level for any service date range under contract.
- Do you know who your Account Manager is, and are they a leader? Your Account Manager should be capable of communicating both high and low level details of your technology to your CEO. They should have a career history in IT leadership. If your Account Manager is one of the technical service team members, you’re not getting the strategic advice you deserve. If you don’t have an Account Manager, you didn’t buy Managed Services!
- Do they operate a NOC (Network Operations Center)? Your MSP should have staff dedicated to monitoring and responding to network performance issues and outages.
- Did you sign a Master Services Agreement? If you did, it should have contained at a minimum the following sections: Confidentiality, Service Level Agreement, Services Covered, Contract Length, Computing Standards. If those sections weren’t present or you didn’t sign an agreement, then you’re paying for services you aren’t getting.
- Do you meet at least quarterly with them to review the details of your service? What’s typically called a “QBR” or Quarterly Business Review is vital to planning for the future and understanding the value of the service you’re getting. A typical QBR will include future plans and budgets, a high level review of service performance against the SLA and a comparison of how your company is doing compared to the MSPs other customers.
- Do they operate on standards they defined? Being an effective MSP means they standardize everything. PCs, replacement schedules, meetings, service tickets, dispatching, answering the phone and more all have Standard Operating Procedures written for each. Ask for a sample of their current standards. If they don’t have any, they’re not a MSP!
Hopefully this list helps you determine good from bad IT providers. Good IT providers help you take your business to the next level. Bad ones are little more than overpaid I.T. fire fighters.
For more information, check out this article from our friends at Imagine IT in Minneapolis, MN: http://www.imagineiti.com/it-support/6-questions/