When you originally hired your managed service provider (MSP), you had certain expectations. Unfortunately, it’s possible that these expectations aren’t being met—and now you feel stuck. You know that making a change is the best thing for your business to move forward, but the thought of rocking the proverbial boat makes you sick to your stomach. Will it even be worth it? And will the next managed service provider be any better?
Questions like these are valid. If you weren’t asking them, it would actually be more concerning. But here’s the deal: All growth comes out of change. Whether it’s personal growth or business growth, change is a necessary ingredient. Changing managed service providers might be the kickstart your company needs at this precise moment in time.
It can be difficult to know whether or not your MSP is living up to their responsibilities. When you hired your current managed service provider, they walked you through a host of services that they would provide.
This most likely included some combination of managed cloud services, data security, cloud security, systems integration, mobile integration, IT risk management, disaster recovery, and some form of remote support. If you’re unsure of whether to make a move, here are several signs that it’s time to switch MSPs:
When you originally went through the process of finding a managed service provider, there were certain conversations you had with the MSP in regards to expectations and outcomes. They nodded along and made some promises. In other words, there are mutually agreed deliverables that they’re expected to satisfy. (If you can’t remember what these agreed-upon deliverables are, go back and review your service level agreement, or SLA, and they should be outlined in this document.)
If your MSP isn’t satisfying the mutually agreed deliverables, this is an objective and quantifiable sign that the partnership isn’t working. It’s time to move on and find a new provider that can help you achieve your company’s biggest IT objectives and goals.
A good managed service provider is fully bought into what you do. They’re immersed in your company, your mission, and your success. They care about seeing your business succeed. Unfortunately, many MSPs fail to live up to this expectation. They get too focused on acquiring as many clients as they possibly can and forget to treat their existing clients with the care required to be successful. The working relationship becomes transactional – everything else slips away.
Another way to identify a transactional working relationship is to think about it in terms of vendor versus partner. If your MSP feels more like a vendor providing a service than a partner that’s invested in your business, that’s problematic.
A managed service partner is proactive. They reach out before there are problems/issues and propose solutions. They work with you on contingency planning to ensure you’re prepared if disaster strikes. A good partner also helps support your long-term needs (meaning they can handle your business whether it grows from 100 to 1,000). If your MSP is acting like a transactional vendor, rather than a proactive partner, it’s time to make a switch. It’s as simple as that.
While your managed service provider isn’t technically in your industry, they should be aligned with your industry. In other words, they need to do their research and understand every facet of your business and your technology/networking needs as they exist within the context of your market.
If you’re not receiving the sort of tailored services that are necessary for your unique industry, this is an issue. A generic approach is a recipe for long-term disaster. If you sense this is the case, we highly recommend shopping around for a new managed service provider.
How is the communication between you and your MSP? Go ahead and rate it on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being exceptional). If the communication level between you and your partner is a six or lower, this is a clear sign that it’s time to move on.
Communication matters in any partnership – personal, professional, or otherwise – but it’s exceptionally important when issues like servers, cybersecurity, and IT workflows are involved. Technical problems can undermine your business and you need to have quick, around-the-clock access to your MSP. Otherwise, even the most minor issues can explode into major problems that threaten the integrity of your business.
A good managed service provider will agree to a fixed-fee price when you partner with them. (There might be some additional add-on services or variable fees, but they’ll bring those up at the time of signing your SLA.) Having an accurate idea of how much your MSP costs is important to managing your budget, forecasting costs, and calculating your ROI and profitability.
If your MSP suddenly starts hitting you with surprise invoices, fees, and added costs, this is an indication that your provider isn’t to be trusted. They’re no longer in alignment with your business needs and might even be attempting to take advantage of you. It would be wise to make a change sooner rather than later.
Fear of change or upheaval is not a good reason to continue with your current MSP. While it will require plenty of energy and effort to switch providers, it’s something that will benefit your organization for many years in the future.
At BL King Consulting, we’re a New England managed security service provider that specializes in helping businesses solve security problems. We aren’t one of the new kids on the block—so if you’re looking for some flashy startup that will make wild claims, you’re in the wrong place. We’re practical problem solvers bringing veteran energy to the IT industry.
Want to learn more about how we leverage integrity, teamwork, discipline, and unrivaled work ethic to solve our clients’ most pressing IT challenges and needs? Let’s have a conversation!