Blog / Five signs it’s time for a new, fully managed IT provider
When it comes to the modern world, it’s imperative that organizations have a strong IT foundation. Regardless of whether you’re part of a health clinic, a municipality, a non-profit, or a straight up SMB, it’s virtually impossible to function without some kind of reliable information technology. Each sector is unique in its IT requirements, and every organization within those sectors has their own subsequent specific needs. With all that complexity, pretty much every organization needs fully managed IT from a qualified provider.
Unfortunately, not all IT companies are built equally and it’s important to recognize when your provider isn’t a good match for your needs. While most are on the level and excel at what they do, there are also plenty of MSPs who are in it just to make a buck. Worse, the technical nature of IT makes it easy for these providers to take advantage of their clients. To help protect you, we’ve developed a quick checklist to tell if it’s time for you to find a new fully managed IT provider.
- Basic critical functions
- Lack of scalability
- Lack of interest
- Transparency (SLA jargon)
1.Basic critical functions
First and foremost, your IT partner needs to be competent. Sadly, you might be surprised how often unqualified “experts” wind up offering fully managed IT services. Back in the “early” days, service providers would often give businesses free assessments that revealed real dangers such as incomplete backups, out of date antiviral software, and more. It was easy to sell business owners on the need to manage these critical elements.
The question that needs to be asked though, is has your IT provider kept up? Does your IT rely on just one critical person (outsourced or otherwise)? Oversight and accountability are absolute requisites for managing risk factors like privacy and security. If there’s no method in place to validate backups or demonstrate other critical competencies, you might want to re-evaluate your provider.
2. Lack of scalability
Pretty much no one goes into business just to make ends meet. Businesses typically aim for growth, competing for market share and to build their client base and bottom line. Even non-profits and municipalities often have growth goals when it comes to donations or service delivery.
That’s why it’s important that your IT provider be capable of supporting your business through both growth spurts and downtimes. A provider offering truly fully managed IT services should be able to scale your IT infrastructure and needs as required. At the very least they should have a plan for helping clients scale when it’s time. In any case, even if a “small team” approach was suitable in the past, growing businesses (particularly those opening a second or third office) will run into problems if their provider doesn’t have an appropriate operating model for larger organizations. If you find yourself getting frustrated with excessive wait times for critical support then it’s time to start looking for an MSP that can handle your growth needs.
3. Lack of interest
While the first two warning signs are more technical in nature, the remaining warning signs reflect more on the character of the company than their technical skills.
And as an MSP focused on business, not just technology, this one is particularly bothersome. We understand the business environment and the effort needed to get all the pieces to line up properly. You need a team that understands the business’s mission and vision. You set objectives because they matter! So it always feels like a slap in the face when a vendor you’re paying good money to doesn’t actually understand your goals and key challenges. Any fully managed IT partner that doesn’t jump at the chance to better understand their clients needs is not a partner. They’re just a vendor looking for a pay day.
Outsourcing your IT is more than just a smart business decision to reduce costs and improve effectiveness. It’s also an expression of deep trust. After all, your provider has access to pretty much everything digital in whatever system you may use. They could, if they wanted, read emails, obfuscate errors, or access business secrets and process docs. That’s why even small breaches of trust should be treated as a red flag. After all, where do you draw the line for what’s minor and what’s a serious trust issue? Every provider claims to be trustworthy (and most are) but your IT is too important to leave in the hands of providers willing to engage in or overlook even minor transgressions of trust.
5. Transparency (SLA jargon)
This one is closely related to trustworthiness, and in a way you should trust your gut on this one. Just remember that technical jargon is difficult to get away from in IT. Don’t let being occasionally confused convince you you’re being taken.
However, when your provider dodges questions or uses jargon to obfuscate what’s included in their services, you want to consider shopping around. It’s when the jargon is used to deliberately confound you that it becomes a warning sign. Your SLA can be a great tool for determining if you need a new provider. Consult your provider and ask for clarification if it’s filled with vague language that doesn’t properly define services. If they don’t at least answer your questions, or if you come away even more confused, it’s likely time to end the relationship.
Please remember that most fully managed IT service providers are on the level and just want to help you succeed. Unfortunately there’s enough bad apples out there to ruin the whole basket, so if you notice something askew, don’t hesitate to look into it. In many ways, the best way to discover your IT partner’s intentions is to just start asking questions. A good provider will answer pretty much anything. It’s the ones that say a lot without saying anything that you need to look out for.
If you’re concerned your IT partner doesn’t have your business interests in mind or you just want to ask a few questions, please contact a TRINUS account manager today. We’ll be happy to discuss your concerns and how working with a true, fully managed IT partner can help your business.
The TRINUS Team