Managed service providers (MSPs) offer a wide range of products and services meant to help your business optimize its IT infrastructure, safeguard its environment, and help convert information technology from a cost center into a competitive advantage.
However, not all MSPs are created equal. Finding a provider that takes a holistic approach to IT management through 360° Technology Reviews and defined technology standards will make all the difference for your business.
Keep reading to learn about the three things your managed service provider should be offering you as a part of your contract.
A managed service provider is only as good as the best practices it follows. A defined set of standards is the most important thing a managed service provider can offer your business because it ensures consistency across all aspects of IT management and better issue resolution.
The standards utilized by MSPs are based on a combination of industry best practices and a working knowledge of the systems and infrastructure in place. Whether it’s security policies, standard imaging for new workstations, or well-documented procedures for disaster recovery, these standards help turn IT into a competitive advantage for your business.
2. Strategic Project Planning
Project planning is a crucial aspect of any business, and having experienced project managers available from the initiation phase all the way through closing is an invaluable service that any reputable MSP should be offering you. However, having a Project Management Office (PMO) that can provide you with a strategic IT roadmap, rather than push specific products or services to fit their agenda, is what sets the top MSPs apart from the rest.
A holistic approach to project management means that before a project is proposed, the entire infrastructure is reviewed to ensure that the project aligns with the business initiatives and roadmap. If multiple projects are going on, the PMO will work together to ensure that work on certain projects doesn’t interfere with others, causing costly outages and a lack of business continuity. Projects should also align with the needs of your business, rather than the drive to sell certain products or services.
Assessing your environment as a whole is something that should be done to understand how your technology investments are aligned with your business objectives. The process allows your provider to understand the inner workings of your environment, empowering them to make suggestions to improve any weaknesses or possible points of concern.
Data gathered from technical analysis and interviews with key business resources allows an MSP to create a customized report of your environment, which can be used to define your IT roadmap. This roadmap should provide suggestions that align with business initiatives, and should provide a clear, prioritized timeline with estimated costs and effort hours.
For example, ZAG’s 360 Technology Review comprises four parts:
- Interview and assessment. This process helps us understand your technology environment. Topics may include network performance, IoT, cloud hosting, security, disaster recovery, remote access, virtualization, business continuity, and more.
- Analysis and Recommendations. Reporting tools gather information that determine the health status of each area under review. This allows us to gain a full, understanding of the environment at the time of the assessment.
- Documents and Findings. A document is created identifying areas that are high-risk, potential-risk, and success-ready. It also includes a roadmap with potential projects, initiatives and timeline to determine next steps for improving the overall efficiency and performance of your network and correct any high-risk issues.
- Planning and Strategy. Our Technology Strategy team will discuss future technology adoptions that could help accelerate business objectives and shorten the timeframe to success.
Do more for your business with the right MSP
Just because you have a managed service provider does not mean that they are necessarily doing what’s best for your business. If your MSP is not providing you with a holistic view of your infrastructure, tries to push specific products that may not be the best fit for your business, or does not utilize well-defined standards in their everyday operating procedures, it may be time to make a change.
Our team at ZAG puts the needs of our clients first. Through our dedication and commitment to providing best-in-class support, we’ve developed over 200 defined standards that encompass all aspects of our business, from onboarding to project management, security to business continuity.