One of the greatest problems that every small business faces, is being understaffed for when it comes to a vital function. This is especially common in the world of IT, since hiring an experienced expert could cost you an arm and a leg. On the other hand, training someone for this position can take a lot of time, while providing them with all digital tools needed for work creates another financial problem. This is why, most startups decide to hire a managed services provider and solve this issue in the most cost-efficient way available.
Define Your Needs
Before you even start looking for someone to fill in this role, you need to clearly define your needs and expectations. For example, some people are more concerned with the immediate offer, while others are looking for a partner that will allow them to grow in time. Others highly value working with someone with headquarters in their closest vicinity, so they can meet and negotiate in person, while for the rest this doesn’t play a significant role.
Seeing how reputation is a tricky thing, some people only trust certifications and this is what they are going for when choosing the right partner. The list goes on and on and it is impossible to list absolutely everything. Some honorable mentions are application knowledge, delivery model and even vertical knowledge. All in all, most of these needs are situational and only you can decide which feature is a deal-breaker for your business.
When it comes to technical issues, managed services aren’t regular outsourcing, which leaves the issue of how to charge them. As a business owner, you need to know what to expect from day one. Ask your providers what kind of payment they expect, per device or per user. Then again, there is a cheaper option, as well. You can hire someone to take care of monitoring and alerting. In this case, they oversee everything, conduct patches and updates, but most importantly, alert members of your staff if there is any problem. Sure, this doesn’t give you as much support as those other option, but this kind of offer is much more frugal. Still, the way you pay is almost always negotiable and you can insist on the payment method that suits you best.
The Duration of the Contract
Also, you need to inquire about the duration of a contract. It is one thing to be locked in for a year or two and completely another to be able to break the agreement whenever it suits you. Apart from being convenient from a technical standpoint, it also gives you a bit of a leverage. Companies who know you can just walk away at any point are much less likely to abuse your trust and in this way, provide you with the service you agreed upon.
Look for Industry Specific Knowledge
One of the most important things to keep in mind is what kind of industry specific knowledge your provider of choice has. You see, every business niche is a world of its own and just because they were successful in one industry, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be proficient to deal with your particular problem. This is why, during the negotiations you need to demand to see references of other businesses or clients in your business niche or at least request resumes of their team members with previous experience. According to experts from Medihost Solutions, all of this goes two-fold in healthcare.
As you can see, choosing the best managed service provider is not unlike looking for a business partner. What you need is someone who can contribute to your company in reputation and function. Furthermore, like in any other form of business negotiations, you need to make sure your side is not at the disadvantage. This is why, you need to closely examine contract you are making and insist on things that matter to your personally. If that particular provider refuses to accommodate you in these particular areas, there is always someone who will.