How can you find the best IT service provider? When it comes to choosing between reliable managed service providers, the best business advice is to understand what sets apart the best IT service providers from the rest.
If your online business plans include outsourcing IT services, be sure you're ready to do research and ask the right related question before investing your time and money. Beyond competitive pricing, the best IT service provider should be able to protect your online business and keep your data secure. It should also provide full assistance if you are in the middle of digital transformation.
Services vary depending on the service provider; however, the best outsourcing solutions and your top picks should offer a wide range of services and boast positive customer service ratings. To figure out whether a managed services provider is the right choice for you, or narrow the selection down to your top picks, ask the following questions and any other related questions before negotiating a contract.
Are You Offshore or Local?
The way the IT service provider handles their business operations is an excellent indicator of the customer experience you should be expecting. Offshore solutions usually offer lower prices but lack the language capabilities and on-site support. They can handle monitoring and ticketing remotely, but local issues that may need immediate attention just can't be solved with offshore solutions. With offshoring, there's also the issue of unreliable internet speed, which results in slow download speed and upload speeds. Online home-based businesses need peace of mind that their overall business doesn't suffer just because their offshore outsourced provider doesn't have a reliable internet provider.
On the other hand, local MSP companies will likely use business internet providers that you also use and trust. They also behave proactively and offer assistance quickly and effectively. The difference in availability and skills can influence the way you grow your business ideas. The bottom line is the best IT service providers can usually be found in your backyard.
Do You Have Any SLAs in Place?
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a commitment between a service provider and a client. These agreements are essential when it comes to response times. You want a reliable service provider that can react as soon as possible to keep your data secure and issues managed. Without an SLA in place, you could end up waiting hours or even days before your service provider responds to your request. The best IT service providers usually have some sort of SLA or targets in place that they adhere to, to make sure you're getting the support your organization requires.
What Is Your Team's Skill Set, and Does It Align With Our Business Objectives?
If you want to get the best out of outsourcing, you want your service provider to be very familiar with your online business operations. Depending on the skills of their staff, they can either completely understand your goals and objectives or, they could fall below your required standards and cause problems further down the road.
Are You Willing to Provide Testimonials or References?
The default benchmark of success has always been customer satisfaction. Go through their web page and look for testimonials and previous experiences. Even if you find something, don't stop there. Browse the internet for more information that may be found in forums and review websites. Any kind of information provided by their previous customers will be worth your while.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
MSP companies aren't something new in the market as such business models have been around for years now. Companies with a good reputation already have an established track record, so you should consider historical data. If they are in business for years and have no red flags in terms of customer satisfaction, you should consider taking a closer look.
How Do You Define Your Services, and What Is Included in Support?
Before investing your time and money on a service provider, be clear about the kind of services and support they offer. It should also be evident what kind of services you will be getting according to their pricing model. Figure out what kind of platforms, data storage, and applications they offer. Determine how and if they resonate with your online business model and current needs.
Are You Proactive?
When it comes to outsourced services, there is a big difference between a proactive and reactive approach. Proactive service providers keep a close eye on your overall situation and provide valuable information when needed. By analyzing and processing available data, they can recognize potential problems and solve them even before they become an issue. A reactive approach is entirely different and considers offering assistance only when the client requests it.
Do You Offer Around-The-Clock Coverage?
24/7/365 coverage has almost become an industry standard, but not all MSP companies offer such services. With things like network monitoring and average response times, you want non-stop availability. If a problem occurs in the middle of the night, there will still be someone available to address it even though your in-house team isn't present in the office.
Are Security and Data Backups Included?
Most of the information in your company is considered sensitive data, and you will want to protect your business data. Good outsourced solutions will include the security and protection of your data. Cyber attacks are present now more than ever, and your service provider should be able to prevent such events from happening. Ask them if they use cloud storage or data centers and how they keep them secure.
How Often Do You Test Backups?
Storing backups is great, but they are only as good as their ability to be restored. Whether the company leverages cloud storage or data centers, look for companies that take care of your backups and frequently test them.
What Is the Contract Duration, and How Transparent Is It?
Once you hire an outsourcing service provider, you will need to sign a contract. If you don't pay close attention to the details, you may end up signing a terrible deal that is binding. If you are dealing with professional businesses like Managed Solution, you should be able to test the services and cancel if you feel like it. In this case, there is a 60-day, no-fee opt-out clause that guarantees customer satisfaction.
Do You Offer Contract Flexibility?
If you are planning to scale your online business, you may require adding or removing staff members in your remote team. A flexible contract allows you to do so. However, a flexible contract doesn't always mean that you will get the best service all the time. Outsourcing companies with small teams will struggle to provide additional staff in these situations, so you should always look for solutions that aren't understaffed.
Our best business advice if your business plans to find an alternative to an in-house IT team, you should be on the lookout for service providers with updated business technology and full transparency. Start by checking their account management background and try to notice any red flags that might cause suspicion. For validation purposes and to protect your overall business, you may even want to contact other companies that use their services.
Keeping your data secure should be a top priority. Protect your business and be sure to ask any related questions regarding their data storage, data backups, business internet speeds, and the measures they take to protect your business. A reliable and skilled service provider can be your shortcut to success. Cost reduction and assistance on-demand are just a few pros of outsourcing, but they play a crucial part in staff management. But, as always, it is all about making the right choice.