Today, customer demands are ever-changing and the business environment is volatile. So, in order to maintain business continuity, consistent innovation and improvement are required. However, keeping up with all of this can make effective IT management a tedious task to do.
Managed services have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years, especially since more and more people are digitalizing their businesses. But it is also important to understand that the several benefits of partnering with a managed services provider only remain valid as long as you find the right partner for your firm according to your business requirements.
In this article, we will discuss how you can find the right managed services partner for your firm.
In order to choose the right managed services partner for your firm, you must consider the following steps:
1) Outline Business Needs
The very first step which you must take before searching for a managed services partner is outlining your business needs. Ask yourself questions like, “Why am I looking for a managed services partner?”, “What do I expect from this partnership?”, and “What are my business objectives?” to outline your business needs in a better manner.
Assessing your existing systems, finding the loopholes that you wish to cover, and knowing exactly what you need will help you to narrow down your search from the very beginning and find a fitting managed services partner. By outlining business needs, you will know your purpose behind finding the right partner. So, your search will be more precise and fruitful.
2) Pay Attention to Portfolio and Experience
When you outline your business needs, you must shortlist companies that provide managed services according to your requirements. After that, the next step would be to evaluate their portfolio and work experience.
It is important to pay attention to the portfolio of the company you plan to partner with. Have they worked on a project similar to yours? How much working experience do they have? What kind of projects have they worked on? Asking all these questions will help you to understand the working capabilities of a company much better. This way, you can eliminate the companies that don’t meet your standards and move ahead with the ones that give you enough confidence.
3) Assess Technical Expertise
Technical expertise is a very obvious yet very crucial aspect that needs to be checked before partnering with a managed services provider. Usually, companies that offer managed services describe the key players of their development teams on their websites. By assessing their teams and paying attention to the technology stack they use, you can figure out a lot about the kind of work you’ll receive if you partner with them.
This step will help you to find out their technical strengths, weaknesses, and compatibility with your use case. Accordingly, you’ll be able to point out which partner is right for you and which isn’t.
When it comes to communication, there are two facets to consider – first, communication with the potential managed services partner, and second, communication with people in your network who have leveraged managed services in the past.
Following the first three steps mentioned in this article should help you to shortlist the final few firms you may partner with. Now, you must communicate with them directly to receive information about important aspects like:
- Their support and maintenance terms
- Their availability
- Their pricing
- Their notification and escalation procedures
- Their scalability
- Their disaster recovery plans
- Their security measures and offerings
Directly communicating about these aspects will help you find out which firms fit your use case and financial boundaries the best.
The second facet is communication with people in your network who have used managed services in the past. Talk around and ask people if they have leveraged services from the companies you’ve shortlisted. Receiving genuine reviews can help you significantly in the journey of finding the right managed services partner for your firm. This step, however, can also be taken in the beginning, as you can ask people in your network if they have leveraged managed services and evaluate the partners that they recommend. You can receive first-hand information about a provider’s work quality, delivery schedules, their ethics, work culture, and suitability.
5) Review the Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Once you finalize the managed services provider that you want to partner with, be sure to review their service level agreement thoroughly. A service level agreement should include all crucial information regarding the provider’s availability, service terms, warranties, pricing, outlines of procedures and recovery plans, schedules for deliverables, and client duties. Be sure to not leave anything to mere assumptions. If the managed services provider that you choose does not provide a well-structured service level agreement or refuses to include certain aspects that you want them to include, you can understand that they may not be the right fit for your organization.
Finding the right managed services partner for your firm is a crucial task that needs to be done with focused effort. Every organization has different needs, and every managed services provider has different services to offer. Hence, while finding the right partner for your firm, there may be many more steps that you may need to take. However, the steps mentioned in this article are general in nature and must be a part of your search process to find the right managed services provider for your firm.