What to Look For In a Western Canada Managed Services Provider

February 16, 2016

Managed Services

By Aimee

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Having a Managed Services Provider can be a great way to save on costs all while receiving professional support and keeping your network and technological worries at bay. For some, Managed Services is a great solution to having an expert looking after their IT infrastructure without having to employ a full-time in-house IT professional. For medium to large scale companies, it can be considered a great way to empower IT Managers to work on strategy while partnering with industry leaders on the day to day solutions. By providing IT Managers with the necessary tools and further expertise, they can come up with better solutions for your company’s IT strategy and goals.

So now that you’ve decided to explore partnering with a Managed Service Provider, what are some factors you should consider?

Transparency

Managed Services Providers usually sign a Service Level Agreement to guarantee their focus on their client’s needs. While MSP’s want to give their all and ensure zero downtime, there will always be the odd time where a network outage is beyond their control. You shouldn’t worry too much though as MSP’s offer data recovery and backup. You should however, still be asking a potential provider on their transparency and their standard operating procedures when it comes to unexpected downtimes and outages. A good MSP will already have that in place and won’t hesitate to tell you that you will always be informed (no matter the significance of the outage), what’s the cause, what solution they have ongoing, and a give you realistic timeframe of when the issue will be resolved.

Relationship Builder

Business is business. When evaluating the Sales professional of the potential MSP, look for a person who takes time to get to know the potential clients beyond the specifics they need to win them – they are arguably better in nurturing that relationship beyond the signing of contracts. Industry expertise and appropriate certifications make for a good resume but Managed Services Providers who have solid relationships with their clients make for an astounding provider. A company that cares will be a far better fit to become your technical expertise, as they provide more than expert managed services – they provide partnership that’s beneficial to the growth of your business. And one that actually lasts.

Physical Presence & Reach

The digital age has made it possible for people to communicate anywhere in the world instantly. Thus, allowing for companies to conduct business all over the world and for customer service companies to service clients remotely. While remote monitoring is certainly a good factor to look at when considering for managed services, many still find physical presence nearby to be a comfort. Cutting down trip costs with remote monitoring is definitely a plus but look for a MSP who you can meet and build a relationship face-to-face. Physical presence is not confined, however, to having a regional office nearby. It is the willingness to travel and reach out whichever way your company prefers – onsite meeting, telephone or video conferencing, email – and continue to nurture the partnership.

Industry Connections and Partnerships

A well-connected Western Canada Managed Service Provider will be able to provide your company with more options and better pricing for products and solutions. Look for a provider who has established a lot of partnerships with well-known industry brands and vendors. But don’t stop there – great MSP’s will have gone the extra mile and have in their team certified and accredited people who have expertise on the software, platforms, and solutions that they’re partnered with. Be sure to take note of those.

Long History in the Business

A provider that’s well-established in Western Canada will have better knowledge of its culture and best practices. Solid number of years in the business also means that they’ve dealt with different industries and would most likely already have a set of best practice solutions for whichever industry you’re in. Longevity also means they hold and can present a documented track record of their ability to fully manage your business’ IT needs and how they go above and beyond to keep their clients satisfied.

Flexibility

Signed agreements shouldn’t be where the flexibility ends. Circumstances change and growth (or otherwise) of your business would certainly affect the level of service you will need. If you’ve already got an IT manager on board but would still like some level of support or managed services, then ask for how much room for flexibility the provider can give. This way, your company can leverage the capabilities to the level you need and work alongside your team to meet your business goals.

Solid Reputation

It is always good to ask for references and cross check with them for how good the provider you’re considering is. Determine how reliable they are, if the service they guarantee matches up to their actual performance, how often they have gone well above and beyond for a solution, how personable they are, and how their solutions have helped with strategic growth.

Growth and Innovation

As players and members of the most fast-paced industry there is, MSP’s should always be up to date with the new technological advancements and be knowledgeable with latest security measures. The ideal provider is one who’s always laying out new innovations, constantly learning, training, and updating their certifications. This way, you can be at ease that your company will always be provided improved solutions, if not the latest, and that security measures are up to date.

Cultural Match

Once everything has been checked and they seem like a good fit expertise-wise as well as from a cost and service level perspective, be sure to review how culturally aligned they are with your company. It may seem like it shouldn’t matter as long as they deliver good results. And you’re right that it should not, but it will surely make the working relationship better if cultural match has also been fulfilled. After all, they will be your IT partner, the extension of your business, so make sure it will be a good fit to your company in all areas, insignificant as they may seem. Some may say this may even be what it really takes for a successful company-vendor partnership.

 


WHAT'S NEXT?

If you're ready to start a conversation about your managed services requirements, give us a call and we'll provide your company with solutions that are tailored to your specific needs.

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