In today’s technology and data-driven world, your greatest competitive asset or your biggest headache will be IT. With that in mind you shopped around, received referrals from trusted resources, studied the costs, determined your budget and decided which Managed Service Provider (MSP) your company can afford to hire. However, the answers to these six questions that have to do with workflow rather than numbers are equally important before you sign on the dotted line.
1) How are issues handled and how long is the response time?
A good MSP documents the systems in place to prevent an issue from reoccurring and corresponds with you in a timely manner. At the very least, when you ask for support, you should receive an acknowledgment immediately, and a response from a support technician shortly after that. If the issue is unsolvable by the first response, you should be notified of when you could look forward to a resolution of your issue.
2) How are response times categorized?
Every MSP has systems in place to sort out issues. The seriousness of each issue is determined and categorized by the amount of workflow that is impacted and the number of employees unable to complete their tasks.
If your business cannot function at all, there should be a response within 5 to 15 minutes after you have alerted your MSP of this problem.
If critical applications have gone offline or are not functioning, impacting entire departments or a significant portion of your business, you should receive a response within 15 to 30 minutes of your notification.
If some employees are being prevented from doing their work, due to application slowness or because of lost or missing data, a MSP technician should contact you within 1 to 2 hours after being alerted of your issue.
If only a few employees are impacted, but it is still “business as usual,” you may be asked to schedule an appointment at a later time.
3) Will you be consulted when newer, more efficient products become available?
A good MSP provider always consults with clients when technology arrives that can deliver innovative solutions and service to their customers. The recommendations should justify the cost of upgrading through increased efficiency, security or long-term savings. In addition, the recommendations should be supported by data and reports directly linked to your business functions and priorities.
4) How will you be notified of increased or one-time costs?
One of the reasons to contract with a MSP is to help you maintain your IT budget. To be able to forecast and chart fixed expenses. A good MSP will give you a detailed account of what is and what isn’t covered. It is important to make sure that not only you, but also your employees, understand what IT needs are covered in the MSP contract. If your support is contracted for a specific or limited amount of monthly time, ask if you will be notified when that contracted time is close to expiring. It should be absolutely clear to you and completely itemized regarding what is being covered in terms of time, cost and open issues.
5) Who will be handling my business?
When you call for support, knowing which technicians to ask for and trusting that they know your unique business needs is paramount to your company’s IT well-being. You should be provided a set group of representatives acquainted with your IT needs and workflow necessities. Every business has its share of employee turnover, and while it is important to understand that new employees will need time to “get up-to-speed”, it is also important to understand that you should not have to explain your business or reoccurring events every time you reach out for support.
6)Where does the proverbial “buck” stop?
Contracting with a MSP means a single company is monitoring and managing all your IT assets. Although you will still require an internet provider and probably other software applications, a dedicated MSP will have a working knowledge of the other IT services linked with your account. You should be alerted before something becomes problematic, even if it is a periphery resource. Contact us, you need an advocate that will work for you in all your IT needs.