Posted On: July 2, 2014

Getting the Most from Your Managed Services Provider

Outsourcing your IT to a managed services provider (MSP) can be one of the most important, yet daunting, tasks your company can undertake.

While the benefits are clear and often dramatic, the endeavour is never without risk.

As a result, it is important to understand how to get the most from your MSP to give the relationship the best chance of being successful.

1. Build Trust

The only way to trust your provider before working with them is by engaging in an open and honest conversation with them before hiring them.  A trustworthy provider should be able to communicate with you clearly and make it easy for you to understand their services.  The less straightforward and easy-to-understand they are in their dealings with you, the more likely you will not be able to trust them going forward.  Start by asking a potential provider anything and everything about how they will help your business and see how they respond.

Another important aspect of building trust involves doing your research.  Make sure you look at alternatives online, ask for recommendations from other businesses, and follow up on references provided by the potential provider.

By starting with these steps, you should be able to accurately determine which providers you feel you can trust and weed out the ones that you don’t.


2. Establish the Relationship From a Position of Strength

A common mistake made by businesses looking to hire a managed services provider is that they wait until times are tough and there are no alternatives but to cut their IT budgets by outsourcing to the lowest bidder.  This is a recipe for disaster.  It’s important to get to know your IT partner during good times, to make sure you are thinking clearly and building the relationship from a position of strength.


3. Establish Clear Roles

Always be very specific when determining who will be performing which functions and deciding who will report to whom.  This is especially important if you have an internal tech department that will be working with the managed services provider, as it helps avoid redundant job functions that inevitably lead to weak performance and potential resource conflict.


4. Understand the Scope

If you are not clear at the outset regarding the scope of the services you expect the provider to deliver, you are almost certain to encounter issues with this down the road, such as a lack of technological capacity to meet the needs of your business.  By understanding exactly what you are getting and how much it costs, you are putting the onus on the provider to make sure they are able to deliver and you are avoiding unwelcome surprises.


5. Treat Your Provider Like An Internal Department

Having open lines of communication are a vital part of getting the most from your managed services provider.  The more your provider knows about your business, needs, plans, problems, and growth, the more they can help you.  Meet with your provider regularly for planning purposes and insist on regular reviews of your solutions.  Make sure to keep the lines open for any ideas and feedback to flow back and forth.  Always remember that in business, as in life, the best relationships revolve around open communication.


By following these industry best practices, you should be able to find the perfect Managed Services Provider for your needs while maximizing the chance of success throughout the relationship.

For more information on JD Edwards consulting and how a best-of-breed MSP can help your business, contact Syntax today.