Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) can deliver a wide range of benefits to your organization.
Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) can deliver a wide range of benefits to your organization. And while the MSP may be managing elements of your IT infrastructure, you still need to manage the relationship with the MSP. In order to get the most value from that relationship, you want to set the MSP up for success. Here are four best practices for maximizing the value of a managed services engagement.
- Establish clear roles.
Even though you are outsourcing day-to-day management to the MSP, there needs to be a clear understanding of what the hand-off points are and where accountability lies. Spell out exactly who will be performing which functions and define the reporting structure. This will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and that you and the MSP both know exactly who to go to when questions or issues arise.
- Tell them what you need.
The MSP has expertise in technology, but you need to help them understand your specific business requirements. Define your goals up front and set metrics to measure what’s important. At the same time, you should establish the baseline – the current level of performance on key parameters – and set goals for improvement. And then review reports on the KPIs together on a regular basis.
- Be transparent.
In order to be effective, the MSP needs to understand your operations thoroughly from the inside out. Even if the majority of services are provided remotely, you should treat the MSP like an internal department. The more they know about the ins and outs of your organization, the more effective they can be.
- Communicate early and often.
Make sure you meet regularly with your MSP. This can help you identify and address potential risks before they become critical issues. And make sure that communication is a two-way street. Keep your MSP informed about changes to the organization, processes, technologies, and personnel so they can prepare for anything that could affect service delivery. You should also keep them updated on your strategic plan. The MSP will need adequate time to prepare for any adaptations and they can even lend their expertise to help you shape the technology component of your strategy.
Your MSP isn’t just a vendor – you should treat them as a partner. Establishing a well-defined relationship characterized by open and frequent communications will enable the MSP to deliver you the best possible service and will ensure that your goals are met, or even exceeded.