What Does Your MSP (REALLY) Do?
Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be a great feeling. They have presented themselves as your IT superhero who is here to save the day, allowing you to never have to worry about your IT again! That’s the experience we all have, right?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way for everyone. According to a recent study by Cloudbolt, 80% of businesses are searching for a new MSP because they feel let down.
Many have found that their IT superhero has over-promised and under-delivered their superpowers, leaving their clients wondering what the heck they were even paying for. In this blog, we will discuss common traits of a frustrating MSP partnership, and how you can make sure it’s successful.
Is Your MSP Frustrating? You’re Not Alone
Partnering with an MSP can be an important business decision that can help you outsource the IT support you don’t have the time, experience or personnel to complete on your own. Think of your current IT team, between dealing with hardware, internal IT requests, and cybersecurity, it’s easy to see why they could use an extra hand. However, you need to have the right partnership in order for that relationship to work. Here are a few examples of the wrong kind of MSP:
1. Your MSP Doesn’t Listen to You
One of the main pain points of working with an MSP is the simple fact that they are not part of your team and may not understand your business. Being able to listen well can be an MSP's greatest advantage. Because, when they fail to really listen to your needs, you end up paying for solutions you never needed in the first place, or the solutions they deploy are missing business value context. This is especially frustrating because cookie-cutter solutions and tactics flat-out don’t work. When outsourcing your IT, you need an MSP who will sit down with you and really listen to the specific challenges you are dealing with and create a plan to address them.
2. Your MSP Doesn’t Create a Long-Term Plan
Every business is complex, with lots of moving parts. The lack of a clear technology strategy, aligned with business goals, leaves businesses exposed to making poor decisions.
Why is a technology strategy so important? A technology strategy lets you know why you are going to do what you are doing and aligns your tactics to meet your business goals. It also allows you to look at the bigger picture, so you can decide what should be priority for this month, this year, or 3 years from now. In the end, your strategy allows you to make better decisions.
Without a clear long-term plan, you will end up feeling like none of your goals are being met. Even if your MSP is executing a bunch of tasks and looking busy.
The lack of a long-term strategy can create issues, including misaligned investment, or implementing solutions that don’t fit the bigger picture. This is why having a custom strategy that includes your goals, a timeframe, and a budget is vital to your MSP partnership.
3. Your MSP Isn’t Flexible
When it comes to technology, there is no “one-size-fits-all” option, and for good reason. Your typical MSP will love the “set it and forget it” model because it gets copied and pasted for all their clients. It’s easier for THEM.
Why is this model flawed? Businesses and technology can change on a dime, and only a flexible MSP can help you adapt to that change. Here are some examples of reasons why you may want to talk to your MSP about flexibility:
- Budget cuts
- Newly emerging security threats
- Personnel changes
- Advancements in technology
- Changes in business direction and strategy
- New regulatory compliance requirements
Technology can represent one of the largest line items on your budget, and you need to optimize your investment. Having a healthy MSP partnership that allows you to adjust your budget, like a volume dial, can help you get the support you need when you need it.
4. Your MSP Doesn’t Focus Enough on Security
Whether it is ransomware, phishing, or any other trending security threat, cybersecurity is a huge concern. MSPs can be great at getting you started with security, but oftentimes they only focus on one piece of the puzzle. This can leave you with having to juggle multiple solutions, vendors, software, or even multiple MSPs to ensure that your information and systems are fully secure.
To avoid the confusion and cost associated with creating your own security solution platform, you will want to find an MSP partnership that thinks about all of your cybersecurity needs, all in one.
What you need in an MSP Partnership
If you’ve experienced any of the pain points we’ve detailed above, it can be easy to swear off MSPs altogether. While we acknowledge these struggles, there are still advantages MSPs can offer when done by IT professionals who care about your success. These advantages include:
- Cost savings: Outsourcing your IT can be more cost-effective than hiring and managing an entire in-house IT department.
- Expertise: MSPs typically have the knowledge and experience in many areas of IT, including cybersecurity and new technologies, and can provide support and guidance.
- 24/7 monitoring: Unexpected technology disruptions don’t always happen during the workday, and can leave organizations vulnerable to additional downtime or security threats. MSPs have the ability to monitor your network at all times and can alert you when potential issues arise.
- Scalability: When an MSP is focused on your business goals, they can create plans that will help you scale your business, and adapt their services to match it.
So, what should you be looking for in an MSP partnership? You need an MSP that will:
- Listen: Like actually listen. When you are explaining what your business needs are, you need an MSP that understands your needs and creates solutions that will help you achieve them.
- Create a custom strategy: This includes a budget and a timeframe to achieve the unique goals you’ve set.
- Have a Security-First Mindset: Everything they do, or recommend you do, should be designed with security in mind. They should provide you with a complete security platform, to simplify protecting your information and systems, so you can sleep sound.
- Be Flexible: IT is never finished and you need a partner that will schedule regular check-ins with you and your team, and dial their service up or down based on your needs.
An MSP partnership that doesn’t work out as expected can be disappointing and expensive, but it shouldn’t deter you from the advantages that come from working with an MSP. When speaking to a potential MSP, use these pain points and benefits to determine if it is the right MSP partnership that will create success for your organization.
You may even find that a co-managed service provider (C-MSP) is a better option for your business. These types of partnerships won’t lock you into a long-term contract and will allow you to only pay for the services you need instead of the “all or nothing” approach.
Working with an MSP or C-MSP doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth. Determine your needs, what’s important to you, and know what red flags to look out for when discussing your IT partnerships.
ABOUT INSITE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS:
InsITe helps businesses and manufacturing companies get the most out of current and emerging technologies with a customized IT approach to maximize growth, efficiency, insights, and productivity. InsITe is not a typical IT company selling products for short-term, short-sighted fixes. We invest in long-term solutions for a company’s growth by taking the time to learn its products, process, and business goals before bringing tech into the conversation. In this way, we become much like our Clients’ very own internal IT department with familiar faces who understand the business.
If you have any questions about this post please leave a comment. We read and respond to all comments. Or better yet, give us a call and ask to talk directly to our Founder and CEO Mike Schipper 616-383-9000.