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Switching your IT provider doesn’t have to be risky!

17 October 2023 bluecoms 0 Comments

Your trusted IT provider or Managed Service Provider (MSP) is one of your most important assets. It can enhance your productivity and be a protector of your business and customer data – it should be the backbone of your organisation.  It is vital that you work in partnership with an MSP that meets your business needs.

You may have considered switching your MSP before but might have been worried about the risks.  However, it doesn’t have to be painful or risky if you use a structured approach.

When looking for a new MSP you should consider several factors to ensure you find the right company. There will be many IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in your locality and no two are the same. The level and quality of support varies widely. Make sure you don’t change providers to fix a current problem only to have to endure a different set of issues.

If you aren’t happy with your current support, the first thing to do is raise this with your MSP or account manager. If you have done this and it has not been addressed you should note down the specific areas, you would want your new provider to excel.

Things to do before engaging with a potential new partner.

If you have made the decision to switch to a new supplier, you should follow a structured approach to minimise the risks to your business and make the transition as easy as possible.

  • Be clear about the type of support you need – (different support levels = different costs) Choose from: Reactive; Proactive; Fully Managed
  • Look at your current contract and establish the notice period – you can then confirm when you want the switch to be effective.
  • Check Companies House records. Check the business is established, has sound finances, and has enough staff to support your business.
  • Make referral calls – Ask for a list of customers to call and don’t tell them which ones you are calling – 3 should be enough.
  • Check Reviews – most companies use a customer feedback system, this could be the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Google Reviews, Trust Pilot, or other Customer thermometers.

Once you have selected a provider (or a shortlist) follow these steps

  1. Check how much the new MSP is going to charge compared to your existing service. Whilst cost is important to all businesses don’t assume that the cheapest will be the best in the MSP arena.
  2. Arrange a preliminary discovery meeting. The MSP should ask for this and should give you an assessment of your company’s IT health, what you would need to consider in terms of a technical roadmap, and what is required to be supported.
  3. Be sure that the new MSP will improve the service support & protection of the data that your business needs. Some useful checks would be:
    • How quickly will your team get to speak to an IT engineer who can fix your problem?
      This is critical for the quick resolution of your issues.
    • Understand if the provider uses, receptionists, call queuing, or auto-attendant phone menus.
    • What metrics do they have on call answering – do they answer within a set number of rings? Do technicians answer the phone?
    • If you need a technician on-site – for a hardware or network issue – how quickly can they normally get to your business? A reasonable time would be 1-2 hours.
    • Establish how long will switching to the new provider take and what will be the likely impact on your business.
    • Ensure that the MSP is using reputable protection, backup, and monitoring software.
    • Ask how they would backup your data and what Disaster Recovery options they would include.

If possible, get service items agreed upon in a written Service Level Agreement (SLA) so your business is protected going forward.

In conclusion, make sure you are disciplined in your selection of your new MSP.  After the selection ensure you have regular meetings with your MSP and keep them updated with any changes and plans for your business.

Insist your MSP keeps you updated with new IT developments – particularly those that can help your business be more efficient and keep it secure.