7 Tips to Conquer I.T. Managed Services Challenges

Hint: The answer lies in selecting the right partner, right from the get-go

Key Takeaways:

How to verify an MSP's expertise in supporting technology ecosystems?
Risks of an MSP with opaque pricing; how to mitigate?
How can businesses assess an MSP's commitment to long-term relationships?
What are key communication practices for successful MSP partnerships?

Partnering with an I.T. managed services provider (MSP)  makes good business sense. If successful, you’ll reduce your I.T. costs by 25% to 45% and increase operational efficiency by up to 65%. The key is in the word “successful.” Running a business has its own set of challenges, but working with an MSP shouldn’t be one of them.

The wrong partner causes frustration, confusion, sneaky hidden costs, and opaque operations making you wonder what you’re paying for. The right partner takes a strategic approach, is responsive, transparent, and has the deep expertise needed to keep downtime to a minimum and business humming.

As with any vendor, finding the right MSP takes careful vetting to avoid a relationship that does more harm than good. In this article, we’ll look at the common challenges you’ll face with the wrong MSP and how to ensure you’re partnering with the right one. Let’s get started.

1. Lack of expertise and trained staff.

You’re collaborating with an MSP to leverage their specialized knowledge, whether it’s to address a skills deficiency or receive guidance in revamping or modernizing your existing system. Alternatively, you may be looking for cloud-based services, cybersecurity, or help desk support.

Whatever you’re looking for, ensure the MSP you hire has proven expertise in your business’s technology ecosystem. You can do this by checking out their website for testimonials and case studies and reviewing and interviewing their technology partners.

2. Surprise! There are unexpected costs.

Typically, businesses prefer to avoid surprises, particularly those impacting their budgets. A reliable MSP will assist you in budgeting effectively by providing clear and predictable recurring fees. On the contrary, an unreliable MSP may lack transparency in its pricing model and highlight that certain elements are not covered in the contract.

Transparency should be a core value for any MSP you hire. Read contracts carefully and ask for pricing for additional products and services.

3. Providing value is an alien concept.

Providing value means helping your organization meet its goals in a measurable way. For an MSP, that means delivering exceptional results by paying attention to detail and understanding the business’s goals.  If your business wants to save time, increase productivity, or reduce costs, your partner should understand and be prepared to deliver on those.

Your MSP should possess the ability to understand your perspective. Proactive engagement and commitment to continuous improvement are essential for any MSP. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and be sure to request references for added assurance.

4. Long-term strategy? What long-term strategy?

Technology must be future-ready. In addition to offering ongoing support, the right MSP will focus on how they can help your business grow over time instead of a single project. Of course, your MSP can assist on specific projects, but they should partner long term in mind. 

A test of a prospective partner’s commitment to long-term relationships could begin with getting to know its staff. You should look for MSPs with long-tenured employees, as this can indicate how they value relationships and suggest stability and depth of expertise within their team.

Check case studies, success stories, and client testimonials. Look for keywords such as “proactive,” “respond,” and “have done more.”

5. Internal security isn’t just a buzzword.

You know how dangerous today’s digital world can be for business. Often overlooked is the security used by business partners to safeguard your information. It’s important to understand what processes your MSPs are using for their own security to ensure that they are keeping your information safe.

Ask probing questions such as: do they have a zero-trust network architecture? Are they constantly gathering threat intelligence? Do they consistently monitor their network infrastructure and software for threats? Do they have real and sufficient insurance coverage that protects you? You can’t trust an MSP to manage your cybersecurity if they can’t manage their own. 

6. Poor communication.

Most MSPs do a lot of their work remotely, so they aren’t in your office every day. This makes regular check-ins vital. The wrong MSP will tell you to call when you need them. The right MSP provides a regular meeting schedule right from the start, is proactive in their communication, and is transparent about their activity.

It’s essential to conduct periodic reviews—ideally quarterly, semi-annually, and annually—to ensure their services align with expectations and support overall company objectives. When evaluating potential MSP partners, inquire about their client engagement practices. A vague response should raise concerns about their commitment and effectiveness.

7. Maintaining control

Reputable MSPs prioritize their clients’ data security and confidentiality. Their primary goal is to provide efficient and reliable services to support your business operations. While some contracts may include clauses that grant an MSP certain rights or access to your data,  it is ill-advised to give an MSP unchecked control.

Maintaining ownership ensures that your sensitive information remains securely within your grasp, and leaves you in the driver’s seat when contemplating significant business changes, such as selling your company, building an internal team, or when switching MSPs.

When choosing an MSP, you want one that sets expectations, follows through on clearly articulated outcomes, and delivers exceptional results. They should work to build trusted relationships that serve as the lubricant for smooth interactions that save time and increase productivity. 

Avoid MSP challenges – choose the right partner the first time

Knowing these red flags is a good start in finding the right partner. And that just could be Attentus Technologies. We provide tailored services based on your business needs, transparent and open communication and pricing, and a wide breadth of services ranging from cloud consulting to managing your help desk. 

Attentus provides personal service that builds long-term relationships and 24/7 support from experts with world-class I.T. solutions. Book a no-obligation consultation today.