In this day and age where the utilization of technology can make or break an organization, it is critical for businesses to embrace new ideas and options. Since hiring in-house IT employees with extensive skills or seasoned experience can be costly, many ventures turn towards managed service providers (MSPs) to get the most out of their IT investments.
With the support of an MSP, you can optimize costs and leverage expertise not available in-house to recognize an even better return on your IT investments (ROI). This also frees your current employees to focus on core competencies, driving business growth.
However, hiring an IT Managed Service Provider can be a complicated process which can be overwhelming to even experienced business owners.
When Is It Time To Choose an IT MSP?
Before we address the mistakes companies make when looking for an IT partner, first we must determine when it makes sense to look for an IT partner in the first place. Knowing when to engage an IT Managed Service Provider is different for every business. Depending on where you are in the growth of your organization, your “best” time for finding an IT partner will be different from another business. Here is when it makes sense to look for an IT partner.
When You Are in a Phase of Growth
If your business is in a phase of initial or accelerated growth, you will need to access the right technologies in order to fulfill its expansion plans. That is where consulting with an IT MSP and bringing them into the fold can help in a significant way.
In addition to helping you identify your needs, the MSP can also take care of all necessary integrations and installations for your IT infrastructure. This ensures that you have all the crucial networking and business technologies in place to achieve your goals.
When You Require Specialized Expertise
Many businesses start with an IT department, even if the so-called department consists of only one or two IT professionals. While these in-house professionals can take care of your basic IT requirements, some specialized requirements may call for outside help.
By delegating certain IT responsibilities to a reliable MSP, you can fulfill any requirements or needs that fall outside of your in-house capabilities. In addition to addressing immediate needs through qualified experts, this also helps you rest assured that you can handle future requirements with ease.
When You Have an IT Crisis at Hand
A glaring reason for requiring an IT Managed Service Provider comes when you are facing an IT crisis. Whether you are suffering a network outage or have fallen victim to a network breach, some issues cannot be handled by an in-house IT team. With the help of an IT MSP that specializes in solving such problems, you can address these concerns head-on and with confidence.
With their skill set, expertise, and knowledge, a managed service provider can help your business resolve the immediate concern at hand.
Top 5 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Choosing an MSP (+ How To Fix Them)
Now that we’ve addressed some of the more common reasons to engage with an IT Managed Service Provider, it is time to address the five biggest mistakes we see when business owners are choosing an IT partner. Hopefully, you can avoid these pitfalls and find the right partner for your business.
These mistakes in decision-making are all too common but still identifiable. To help you navigate this challenge, here is a list of mistakes to avoid and points to remember when searching for the right IT firm to help your business. This list will give you the ability to recognize these shortcomings and steer clear of them while hiring an MSP for your own business. Here are the top 5 mistakes business owners make when choosing an MSP:
1. Not Understanding What You Actually Need
Hiring any service without a clear understanding of what your business needs can result in harmful consequences. This is especially true for business tech, where making any investments without a purpose or plan is a bad idea.
To stay away from the consequences of uninformed decisions, make sure that you consult with different MSPs about your specific needs. The right MSP will help guide you through the process and consult on any investments before they happen. This provides you with an idea of the suitability of specific MSP solutions and the projected efficacy of their approach.
When you have access to an array of suggested MSP solutions for your requirements, you can compare them side by side. This lets you understand what types of MSP offerings you actually require and what kinds of services you can do without. This differentiation between the categories of “must have” and “nice to have” gives you an exact idea of what hardware and software you actually require to serve an actual business need.
As a result, you are able to understand your own needs in light of professional advice. This lets you make beneficial decisions that actually contribute to the productivity and growth of your business. It fulfills your immediate specifications in an effective way while also ensuring smooth operation in the future.
2. Not Understanding What You Already Have
Another mistake comes in the form of choosing an IT firm that recommends making unnecessary investments or adopting redundant solutions that businesses already have in place. This approach spends resources, time, and effort for essentially no real benefit. For instance, if your network management is already set up or handled by your in-house IT staff in an ideal manner, getting an IT MSP for network improvements may not bring you much advantage. If anything, it will only waste your funds and time alike.
To achieve this goal of optimized decision-making, you simply need to assess your current IT infrastructure. From there, you can note down its advantages as well as shortcomings. Even when you have the basics in place, this practice can let you determine if you can benefit from any improvements. The right IT MSP will take stock of existing IT investments and help you get the most out of them.
3. Not Understanding Your Desired Business Outcomes
Last but not least, the third most common mistake comes from embarking on an IT partnership without an understanding of what your business is trying to accomplish. Without a full picture of what kind of benefits you seek and whether or not your IT partner can help reach those goals, failure can be too common.
“The next big thing” is not right for everyone. While solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI) powered software may look trendy, they might not be what you require for functions such as simple payment processing. On the other hand, some systems such as payroll and accounting may actually benefit from AI integrations, which makes it necessary for you to obtain such solutions. What does your business need? Have you communicated those needs to your potential IT MSP partner?
Make it a point to understand the type of results that different projected IT MSP solutions offer to you. The right IT MSP will consult with you on what success looks like before agreeing to be your IT MSP partner.
4. Prioritizing Cost Over Quality
Like any other business investment, when it comes to IT you get what you pay for. In some cases, an inexpensive solution is the right choice. In other cases, however, trying to save a few dollars on a critical piece of technology can often create more problems than it solves.
As an example, Microsoft Office 365 provides email and office productivity tools for about ten dollars per month per user. In light of other options that cost as little as one dollar per month, this price might seem exaggerated. However, Office 365 includes essential email and data security provisions that are not included with less expensive solutions. Saving a few dollars at the expense of security and privacy is not worth the risk.
5. Choosing a One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Your business is unique, with opportunities and challenges all its own. So why would you choose a generic or one-size-fits-all technology offering? There is a difference between “custom” and “right for you” when it comes to technology. You don’t necessarily need custom applications and integrations but you should take care to invest in technology that fits your specific business needs.
If you are working with an IT partner, be cautious of anyone offering a prepacked or “in a box” solution for your network or infrastructure. Find solutions that fit your needs, goals and interests instead of looking for shortcuts that wind up being cookie-cutter solutions that will wind up costing more money and peace of mind in the future.
Finding The Right IT Partner
Choosing the right IT MSP is as much about you as it is about them. While you should look through the reputation, credibility, and experience of each IT Managed Service Provider that you are considering, you should first take a step back to look at your own organization. This enables you to assess your critical requirements and hire an MSP that could fulfill them left, right, and center. You are looking for a partner, after all, not another vendor.
This process may seem daunting at first. But it is actually as simple as reaching out to a provider and starting a straightforward conversation. A reputable and experienced IT MSP will guide you through the process all on their own by analyzing your needs and detailing how they think they can help.
At TeraLinks, we make it a point to take all your needs into consideration before we plan or suggest the right business solutions for your organization. We view working with clients as a true partnership. When interests are aligned, we can do great things together. Contact us now to learn more about how TeraLinks might be the right IT Managed Service Provider for your business.