Top 5 Considerations when Choosing an Information Technology Managed Service Provider


By Jinal Patel posted 04-19-2022 09:20 AM

In the modern world every organization depends heavily on their Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and multiple software applications to keep their businesses running and growing. Wherever you are on your digitization journey, the task of managing the infrastructure, the applications and the user experience has become increasingly critical. In addition smaller organizations struggle with limited budgets to bring in multiple skills to manage these various platforms and applications. This is where Managed Service Providers or MSPs, make a significant contribution to the well being of many businesses.

According to the MarketsandMarkets report, the global Managed Services market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.9% to reach USD 354.8 billion by 2026 from USD 242.9 billion in 2021. The primary factor for this increase is the need for secure and safe IT infrastructures for all businesses.

Who are Managed Service Providers (MSPs)?
MSPs are technically-talented and skilled professionals that support and manage your business. Few MSPs also provide additional value-added services such as hosting solutions, operations support, cloud systems, cyber security solutions, and many more.

MSPs reduce the pressure from IT teams by taking over the monitoring and management of IT infrastructure and end-user systems. It is important to ensure that you have the right MSP supporting your organization. Here are 5 considerations when choosing a “Managed Service Provider” that fits your organization.

1. Experience & Expertise
An MSP must be highly-qualified both in terms of technology skills and experience in providing such services. The MSP must be well-equipped with the latest technological advancements, and have experience in troubleshooting. With their industry expertise, they must be able to ensure that every customer’s application and infrastructure is safe and secure, detect any malicious activity and minimize the impact of any high-end risk on the business. The expertise and experience combined bring you quick and accurate responses when your users are facing problems with the application or infrastructure.

2. Examine the SLAs
Your MSP could be your organization’s long-term support. Therefore, it is mandatory to be on the same page with the MSP regarding the goals to achieve and tasks to be done. A detailed study of service level agreements (SLAs) can set MSPs' response time based on your organization's needs ranging from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Problem resolution time, Performance Standards, Preventive Maintenance, Performance Maintenance and the hierarchy for escalations determine the timeframe for delivery of their services. Ensure that MSPs' offering is in alignment with your expectations with no compromises.

3. Global Support in your Time Zone
An efficiently managed service provider must be able to support your organization during your time zone. They must also be in tune with the company’s work culture, ethics, and values to match with the organization’s strategic and business goals. They must be actively engaging with the team in monthly calls, reviews, etc. Providing Monthly custom reports of your application and infrastructure performance is essential.

4. Budget vs. Price
You know your business better. Therefore, evaluate the offerings of the MSPs based on your specific needs along with the associated cost to finalize what best suits your business. Always remember that stringent SLAs and dedicated services come with a cost. Most MSP models that are cost effective are based on a shared services model. This model assumes that you don’t need a dedicated person with each of the skills you need. Evaluate cost versus benefit when making these decisions. While many MSPs offer standard pricing, there are a few (like NexInfo) who offer a cost-effective price tailored to your specific needs.

5. Breadth of Services
One other key reason for engaging with an MSP is to get a breadth of services with deep expertise. You need multiple deep skills but not multiple people. Why pay for a dedicated person when you need the person to do 20 hours of work every month? Ensure that your provider actually has deep skills in multiple areas that are all required to support your applications. Be sure to seek End-to-end Support, Project Management, Delivery, Maintenance, Upgrades, Data Migrations, Product Support, Functional Support, Operational Support, Re-configuration & re-design etc.

Finding the right managed service provider can be challenging. But, a strategic partnership with an IT MSP can help businesses to: 
  • A. Improve flexibility and scalability, control costs, and increase competitiveness. NexInfo is a specialty consulting firm that specializes in multiple business systems including ERP, supply chain management, planning & budgeting systems, product lifecycle management, human resources systems, and quality management systems..
  • B. Improve usage of the software and provides a sustainable path to scalability with NexInfo’s three tiered approach in its services
    • Application Support
    • Development
    • Sustainment & Enablement

NexInfo’s success is in its unique approach - BASCIL, standards for Business Application Support & Continuous Improvement Lifecycle. The solution is cost-effective and efficient at the same time to adopt.

Today, there are many Managed Service Providers offering a plethora of services and making delivery of advanced expertise for one specific aspect of your business-depth. We will leave you with these set of questions that, when asked internally, should kindle discussions internally to improve the overall performance of your organization.

  1. Do we have a quarterly release plan that improves our system performance, stability and usability in some way every quarter?
  2. Do we conduct regular adaptive maintenance, corrective maintenance & preventive maintenance on our system?
  3. Have we identified repetitive issues and addressed the Root Cause?
  4. Do we know the trend of our incidents / issues reported along with mitigation plans for an upward trend or a spike?
  5. Do our users feel that the system is more stable than 6 months ago / 1 year ago?
  6. Do we have visibility to new functions / enhanced features relevant to us that the software vendor is releasing in the next 6 months?
  7. Have we addressed cross system processes and improved/automated them with data integrations.

If any of this is a no, then you need to start working towards putting together a plan that will help your organization achieve excellence.