he process of buying outsourced IT services has altered significantly, placing more responsibility on buyers to ensure they are selecting the right IT services provider for their business. Disruptive marketing, cold calling, and frequent email blasts have become white noise for businesses seeking a well-suited managed service provider (MSP) as companies have begun to rely more heavily upon independent research, social media, and referrals to direct them in their search.
Buyers of outsourced IT services should implement evaluative strategies and be wary of allowing misguided perceptions regarding MSPs to cloud their vision when comparing costs and services. Outlined below are a few ways companies can navigate the buying process without being led in the wrong direction.
“When a company is purchasing managed IT services, I believe the most important factor is the MSP’s ability to align with what their own business’s goals are. Not every IT services provider is going to be the right fit for every client.”—Jamison West (President of Arterian-subsidiary of Aldridge)
1) Evaluate your business’s IT needs
The most important part of buying outsourced IT services for your business is knowing what you’re looking for. Locate the major pain points in your IT environment and determine what kind of services your organization will need to operate at its optimal level. Utilize this information to determine the degree of IT investment appropriate for your business.
It’s essential to have a thorough understanding of your company’s internal processes in order to find an MSP that can fulfill your needs effectively. Evaluate your company’s current operational maturity level (OML), as well as your goals for the future.
Your business’s OML is essentially the experience and successful workflow your organization has achieved during the span of its operations. Naturally, purchasing an MSP with an OML matching your own is vital to its ability to provide your company with the resources and knowledge needed to manage your IT environment.
2) Research the IT managed service provider
Today, 92 percent of MSP buying processes begin online. In addition, 60 to 80 percent of the purchasing decision has been made before a company decides to contact a managed IT services provider. The method by which businesses hire an MSP has changed and it’s beneficial to your company if you do some precursory research before embarking on your search.
Utilize social media to elicit testimonials of positive and negative experiences from your peers, perform online inquiries, and visit the websites of prospective MSP candidates to gather information and analyze their potential contribution to your organization.
Most importantly, consider the OML of each IT services provider. The MSP’s financial reliability, technology, resources, certifications, experience, and client satisfaction are all notable elements of their firm, and will be helpful in assessing their compatibility with your business objectives.
3) Analyze the IT provider’s sales process
The sales process an MSP employs usually reveals how they will proceed in client relationships. A business that’s looking for more than an IT services vendor should beware of MSPs who attempt to implement immediate technical problem solving efforts during the sales process.
The managed IT services provider should focus the conversation on your business needs in a genuine, transparent manner and engage in determining what’s in the best interest for your company. If you’re looking for a long term partner to form a trusting relationship with your organization, robotic sales mechanisms and a tactical approach are signs an IT services provider may not be a suitable selection for your firm.
4) Avoid generalizations
Managed IT services are frequently placed under an umbrella of generalizations and many businesses fail to realize not all providers are the same. MSPs may employ comparable tools and support similar products, but the processes that occur on the back-end are what differentiate a partner from a vendor.
Therefore, focusing your purchasing process on MSP prices may result in inaccurate comparisons. Some businesses make the mistake of assuming managed IT services providers are charging solely for the labor necessary to address a service issue and forget to consider the extensive processes and tools necessary to provide the service well. To properly assess an MSP’s ability to accommodate your firm, it’s paramount to evaluate the level and depth of the provider’s service offerings.
In addition to cost, businesses often overestimate the amount of control relinquished when adopting managed IT services and have difficulty understanding how they can maintain their internal value while outsourcing their work. This is a common misunderstanding among companies in specialized industries concerned that outsourcing their IT services will affect their unique processes and IP.
It’s important the MSP ease these concerns with a detailed education process that delineates between the client’s responsibilities and their own. An IT services provider can deliver all of the services that are not definitive value-adds to the company (infrastructure, help desk, etc.) and work with your business to do this without interfering with in-house operations.
5) Contact potential IT outsourcing candidates
The last thing on your list should be contacting the IT outsourcing provider itself. Once you have the information you need to be knowledgeable in your selection, you’re more likely to make a purchasing decision that will be valued by your company now and in the future. If you have any personal contacts within the organization, be sure to reach out to them before connecting with the sales department.
Aldridge employs a sales and client on-boarding process that caters to the needs of the business we are serving. We work with your organization to provide the peace of mind and clarity necessary when outsourcing your IT needs. Learn more about our IT outsourcing services or contact us today and see how we can serve your business.