Posted On: March 13, 2013
Managed Services IT Support: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Choosing a Provider
From improving productivity, reducing IT expenses and labor costs, to streamlining business processes and supply chain requirements, managed services offer a wide range of benefits to organizations of all sizes.
However, maximizing these benefits is often a matter of choosing the right partner. When searching for a qualified and dependable Managed Services Provider, make sure to ask yourself these five questions first.
1. Is your Managed Services Provider aligned with your ERP goals and support requirements?
ERP is a long-term investment for your organization, and finding the right software is only the tip of the iceberg. To truly maximize your ERP investment, you need an experienced service provider that understands the software in and out, has a clear vision of your organizational objectives and can offer you the level of support you need when planning, implementing and maintaining the software.
A good Managed Services Provider should be able to deliver 3 important things:
- Fast implementation services and tools tailored to your company’s needs
- Train your staff to exploit the software’s power to the fullest
- Help the successful integration into your company’s environment using a proven methodology that won’t disrupt your business.
2. Can your Managed Services Provider integrate Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Services?
Disaster can strike at any time. To protect your business, your Managed Services Provider should have business continuity and disaster recovery plans to mitigate damages. A business continuity plan should detail the steps your company should take immediately after a disaster, so that you have a roadmap for how you will continue operations as well as recover and restore any data that was compromised.
The Syntax team can complete an audit of your technological environment to identify its weaknesses and build a strategy to address these gaps. This audit includes but is not limited to:
- In-depth analysis of the architecture required to assure continuous access to data
- Design, development and implementation of technology recovery solutions
- Automation of repetitive tasks, thus reducing human error and effort
- Assistance in the preparation of exercises and the application of corrective actions
You can learn more about Syntax’s disaster recovery and business continuity solutions here.
3. Is your Managed Services Provider certified and able to support products beyond your core architecture?
Now more than ever, it’s necessary to partner with a skilled Managed Services Provider that can respond rapidly to changes in technology. How can you reduce data center complexity? How can you simplify server environments? What about mobility demands? Mobile technologies are relatively new to the market, but they are quickly becoming standard features in today’s business. A quality service provider will not only be able to tell you about current mobile services offered but explain how these solutions can be implemented for your business as well.
One of the most common reasons for choosing a managed services provider is to free up resources to focus on other important business matters. Your Managed Services Provider should be able to provide a holistic view of your business identifying opportunities in order to help you quickly reduce IT costs, stay current with new technologies, while helping you to maintain and improve service delivery and support levels.
4. Is your Managed Services Provider able to proactively identify areas of exposure as your business and IT environments change?
Whether your business is upgrading services or hardware has reached its usage threshold, there will come a time when the devices that store your data and services will need to be changed. With a good service provider, most of this will be performed in a proactive manner so that your business never notices.
When this happens, it is important to know how the hard drives, memory and other components that hold your critical data are handled. Your Managed Services Provider should have an in-depth plan for both planned replacement and emergency replacement of hardware that they can provide when asked.
5. Does your Managed Services Provider offer optional infrastructure solutions for production and disaster recovery?
A Managed Services Provider should be able to offer different infrastructure solutions to respond to issues or improvements that affect your data center, servers, and/or operating system(s). Managing this complexity can be a distraction to your key business objectives. Solutions like on-demand server provisioning, Cloud solutions or on-premise infrastructure should be available as opt-in to ease the burden on your information systems technology. For instance, the iSeries cloud services offered by Syntax are customizable and scalable depending on the amount of storage and network capacity you need, when you need it.
Selecting the right partnership for your business
When it comes to leveraging the power of a managed services provider, who you choose to manage your services will ultimately determine both the level of benefit that your business sees and the overall experience for you, your employees and your customers. By properly screening potential providers, you can reduce the risks of downtime, guarantee access to the latest features, receive the best possible service and know exactly what to expect should a problem arise. When choosing a provider, these five questions can help to determine the quality of service that your business should expect.
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