It’s reasonable to say that almost all modern companies rely on IT to keep their core business functions moving operating as required.
The thing is, it becomes quickly apparent that you need a good company to support your IT provision – unless of course you decide to recruit an entire IT department.
Assuming you’re going to take the most time and cost-effective solution, you’ll be looking for a managed IT service provider or MSP for short. An MSP is like an outsourced IT department – with the added bonus of bringing a huge wealth of IT talent to your business for a fraction of the price you’d spend if you were recruiting the same team.
The trouble is, how can you be certain you’re bringing a partner company onboard that’ll be a good fit? With so many service providers out there – it’s important to make sure you’re working with the right one – especially since they’re likely to be a close ally as you grow and expand.
We’ve put together a few things to think about when you’re looking for your IT support provision – so you can be absolutely confident you’ve got a provider that’ll help you take your business to new levels.
Find an MSP that’ll work with your current level of IT understanding
If you have any IT experience, you’ll probably realise that it’s a complex technical world that one person will rarely understand the full scope of. Even IT engineers tend to be focused on one part of the industry – so complex business networking is a subject that is beyond what most business owners will hope to be able to master.
And that’s okay.
After all, this is what you’re employing a team to do for you – but it’s vital that they can bridge the gap between their detailed understanding and your level of knowledge – after all, their IT decisions are going to impact your ability to deliver your products or services.
With this in mind, you need to make sure you’re looking for a someone to work with that’s happy to communicate on your level. Some businesses might already have IT experts in house – which means you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to handle big projects yourself, or pass them on to a service provider. Then again, you might just need your MSP to handle everything IT related and let you focus on your core business. Both options are fine – but you don’t want to be stuck with a provider that’s not able to work around what you need.
Work with a team that understands and shares you vision
When you find a good IT service provider, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to keep them onside for as long as possible. After all, with IT being one of the most crucial parts of your business infrastructure – it can cause an enormous amount of disruption if you ever need to pass that responsibility on to someone else.
This is why it’s key to ensure your working with an MSP that you can expect to grow with you.
Well, it is – but since Jeff Bezos launched Amazon from his garage, there’s no reason to think your business can’t grow to be extremely large and successful too. If you do hit your wildest growth dreams, the last thing you need is to have to ditch your IT provider and go back to the drawing board to find another.
Make sure you talk about growth before you sign any service level agreements – and make sure your business goals are aligned.
Find a provider who’ll help you keep ahead of problems
Downtime costs businesses seriously large amounts of money each year. In fact, according to industry experts, it’s estimated to cost around £5,000 per minute.
Sounds a lot right?
Well, it is – but that does include the cost of huge enterprises losing their systems. Perhaps it’ll be a less than that for your business – but it’s worth asking yourself what you might be able to stand. Could you afford to lose all your staff productivity and missed orders for a day? Unlikely – so it makes sense to have an IT company onboard who’ll make sure it doesn’t happen.
They’ll tend to do that with a system monitoring tool – along with people staffing that tool around the clock to make sure any warning signs are picked up on quickly, keeping your network up and running.
This means you’re more likely to come into your office to find that a problem has been averted – rather than sitting down to find you and your team can’t access mission critical systems that you rely on to make money.
Make sure your provider can keep you ahead of the game – because if they don’t, your competitors will happily mop up the business you lose.
Look for an MSP with experience with companies like yours
There are plenty of relationships that breakdown because of a lack of communication or because the two parties simply ‘grow apart’ – but your partnership with a service provider doesn’t need to go down this route.
To make sure it doesn’t, you should ideally check that a service provider has some experience of working in your industry or with companies like yours.
Now, that doesn’t mean they need to have worked with a company with your staff levels, at your point of growth, and in your particular industry – but they should at least tick one or two of those boxes. That way, you can be confident that they know what to expect from your business – and they also know roughly the kind of space you’re going to be operating in.
A good way to gauge this is to get out there and talk to people who’ve worked with them before. Business networking generally makes this quite simple – especially if you don’t mind sending out a few messages on LinkedIn.
They say opposites attract – but when it comes to a company who’ll be keeping your most crucial business resources working, you’re far better looking for someone who’s 100% aligned with what you need.