There is an old chestnut in the business world that says you have to spend money to make money. And while bringing on yet another vendor may feel like a “been there, done that” proposition, doing so with an MSP partner is different.
MSPs are rapidly becoming the gold standard for outsourcing day-to-day IT operations management responsibilities of businesses worldwide.
An MSP can act as a true business partner, involved with day-to-day operations, helping you handle any crisis that arises and an integral member of the team. More importantly, working with an MSP lets you focus on scaling, innovation and strategic thinking, and keep business humming along.
Partnering with an MSP is an investment, and getting the most for your money is important. While it might seem advantageous to find the cheapest MSP, set them up, and never look back, price isn’t all that matters.
First, Compare Apples to Apples
Because MSPs have wildly divergent service offerings, you can’t get the whole story from the number on the price tag. It’s crucial to ensure that you’re comparing each MSP’s services apples to apples. Then you can easily focus on the value of what you are getting, for the price in question.
Here are some key factors to look at, compare and consider when choosing your MSP partner:
- Around-the-clock support
- Local tech support
- Expertise in emerging technologies
- Strategic, proactive approach to your IT support
- Experience (and happy clients) in industries like yours
#1: Around the Clock Support
In this era of constant connection and customer access, an important question to ask a prospective MSP is, “What are your real business hours, and when will you be available for your customers?” In order to make sure that your business needs are going to be met, ask all MSP candidates what hours they are available for support and if they offer 24/7/365 support for emergencies.
Then you will need to ensure that the MSP you select will cover all the bases during service hours, including system monitoring, alert monitoring for all workstations, servers, network devices, firewalls, routers, and switches, regardless of location.
A comprehensive, around-the-clock approach means fewer headaches for you in the long run.
#2: Local Tech Support
Can anything beat homegrown support? An MSP that is right here in Chicago with you, and offers both remote AND onsite support gives you the best of both worlds — and convenience well worth paying for.
While remote support can help resolve small issues quickly (before they become big issues), there is no replacement for face-to-face time with a hometown technician who understands Chicago’s unique business landscape.
The convenience of a “minutes away” instead of “hours away” technician — and having a team of specialists familiar with your needs rather than a massive pool of ticket-takers — offers peace of mind beyond price.
#3: Expertise in Emerging Technologies
Once you have the basics covered (monitoring, service support, etc.), will your IT partner be ready to address future technology needs, and have the knowledge of these advancements that will help your business thrive?
An MSP shouldn’t just offer a Band-Aid for what is going on now; they should have an eye on the future of the field, too. For example, your technology partner should provide you with answers to the following questions, tailored to fit the specific needs of your business:
- How often will your MSP review your hardware and software?
- What is their procedure for recommending upgrades or introducing new solutions?
Working with an MSP should free up your big thinkers to grow your business, with the managed service provider creating a true support system for your growth, helping to keep your company at the forefront of technological advancement.
#4: Find A Strategic Partner in IT Support
Strategic business decisions can make or break a company, which is why you surround yourself with the best advisers. Establishing a focused, forward-thinking approach to your IT operations is one of these major business decisions, so it only makes sense to find an MSP who acts as another business partner — not just a vendor.
Choosing an MSP with a depth and breadth of experience in your industry is a crucial step in building that partnership.
A proactive MSP will make recommendations for improvements beyond upgrading your hardware. They will suggest technology upgrades and best practices for improved workflow, training, and software systems.
This decision is all about trust and hiring the right people, so that your business can run efficiently and grow. Strategically selecting an MSP will eliminate the need to divert internal resources to solve the inevitable problems that come with technology use.
#5: Proven Experience (and Happy Clients) in Industries Like Yours
Having industry-specific insights can be invaluable when trying to run a profitable business, so it is important to find a partner with experience in your field. Remember to ask yourself:
Does your MSP have experience in your industry?
Regardless of which industry your business occupies, it has specific technological concerns that others don’t: for example, document security for law firms; HIPAA concerns in healthcare; FINRA and SEC compliance in financial services.
In order to keep your business and your clients safe, make sure your MSP knows the ins and outs of the hardware, software and regulations and standards of compliance for your industry. As you vet potential partners, ask to see case studies or call on existing customer references ⎼ you should not have to pay for your MSP’s learning curve.
Could a Chicago-Based IT Services Provider Like YJT Solutions Be the Right Fit for You?
Price is important, but so is service. Paying less for underwhelming support doesn’t solve your problem — and, in the end, getting less than you bargained for isn’t really a bargain at all. An MSP partner should offer 24/7 monitoring and support, know your industry, help you save money in the long run by being on top of your technology and offer the onsite support you need.
Establishing an IT partnership with a local, Chicago-area service provider is becoming increasingly attractive to many local businesses. In this shifting market, it is important to be able to efficiently pivot toward new ideas, stay flexible for client needs, and adopt innovation. For many businesses, transitioning the daily grind of IT infrastructure, maintenance, and security off of your plate and onto a partner’s is ideal.
Choosing the right MSP partner can help you do all of these things and even more. Download our Businessperson’s Guide to IT Service Providers, and begin to discover whether YJT Solutions is the right IT partner for your growing Chicago business.
To start a discussion with us about your business’s technology needs, and learn more about how YJT can help to simplify your IT infrastructure, contact us today!