By Neelesh Kripalani, Sr. VP & Head- Center of Excellence – Clover Infotech
It is imperative to contemplate and consider all angles while choosing a Managed Services Provider (MSP). It isn’t as simple as buying groceries. Choosing a B2B vendor requires a lot of thought, more gestation, elongated management level talks, and a good enough market know-how.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are specialized IT Services companies hired to monitor and maintain a company’s IT environment that constitutes Infrastructure, Applications, and Security. Managed services enable organizations to augment competencies that they lack, or to replace functions or processes that incur huge recurring costs. These services optimize in-house IT costs, transform IT systems, and automate business processes, thus, enabling enterprises to attain their business objectives.
And like all other businesses, the number of MSPs has proliferated over the years. And if you are on the lookout for an MSP for your organization, it’s a swarm out there. Hence, it is important for you to know how to differentiate a great MSP from the rest. Here are 4 hallmarks of a great MSP:
- Aligned with your business objectives – A great MSP will treat every customer exclusively. They won’t consider your business as another hot lead that closed. They will take time and effort to understand your business, its objectives, operations, technology landscape; and will create a plan that best suits your needs. A great MSP will always treat each customer differently.
- Prompt response – Another hallmark of a great MSP is a faster response time. The reason organizations engage with an MSP is to ensure seamless business continuity. MSPs are responsible for continuous monitoring and ensuring uptime at all times. But if due to some unprecedented events, the business faces a downtime, the MSP should be quick enough to respond and troubleshoot the issue. Great MSPs will always have a strong commitment to fix issues with minimum downtime possible. Also, if there is a need for an emergency on-site support, or audits, the MSP should always be proactive enough to respond quickly and be there for you.
- Data and System Security – With the recent Work From Home (WFH) mandate, data breaches and cyber threats have only multiplied. It is now imperative for organizations to have a robust data security system in place to predict and prevent cyber-attacks which might, at times, lead to irreversible reputational damage. And a great MSP is incomplete without security provisioning. Always look for an MSP that can offer security services for your IT environment. A great MSP will always provide you the best-of-breed data and system security products and services that will suit your needs. It is beneficial for an organization to leverage such capabilities of MSPs to secure their data, perform rigorous tests, and create a robust and resilient security ecosystem. A true MSP will help an organization to build cloud security rules of engagement and design a secure and compliant environment that protects services and data seamlessly.
- Round-the-clock support – You should be their only focus. A great MSP is available 24×7. Always lookout for a provider which can provide round-the-clock support for your business-critical applications, and its databases, a vendor that can support your business in unprecedented events such as system failure. Always choose a vendor that can deploy on-site support whenever your business needs.
- Modernization and Automation – A great MSP will possess strong experience and expertise in terms of understanding the current landscape of applications and technology and chartering a path for “Application Modernization” and modernization of the underlying infrastructure. They must recommend the applications and infrastructure elements that can be migrated to the cloud. They must also modernize processes and embed automation technologies to make it more seamless and less human dependant. They must also leverage concepts such as serverless computing, containerization, micro-services, etc. wherever applicable to create a robust and efficient technology landscape for the organizations that they serve.
In conclusion, a great MSP will always serve as an extension to your existing business and will help you realize benefits across cash flows, revenues, bottom line, and also factors such as customer loyalty and brand recall.