A recent MarketsandMarkets report stated that the cloud managed services market size is estimated to grow from USD 35.54 Billion in 2016 to USD 76.73 Billion by 2021, at an estimated CAGR of 16.6 percent from 2016 to 2021. This trend confirms that the IT services space continues to evolve – especially for MSPs as they offer the expertise and resources to get the job done smoothly and without disruption to operations. However, not all MSPs are considered top-performers and there are certain criteria that customers should be looking out for when making this decision.
Below are some MSP best practices that will help guide you towards an MSP that complements your IT needs:
Every business has different IT needs; there is no standardized solution. One company may want to mix new technology with existing technology while another may be in search of an MSP to effectively implement data recovery and business continuity or an ERP system.
No matter what your IT goals are, you’re going to want a flexible MSP that can provide customized services. Your IT requirements today are not going to be the same a year from now – you need an MSP that understands that you are a growing business and that is prepared to grow with you to scale your applications and environment.
95 percent of managed service providers acknowledge that successful partnerships are needed to effectively support customers, and provide additional products and service offerings. Finding the right partner can truly pay off in dividends for an MSP and its customers.
For example, partnering with SAP would allow an MSP to offer functional and development application support, which would ultimately help companies optimize business processes and allow them to focus more on the business value of their solutions. Other partnerships like Oracle allows for MSPs to offer extended value of a company’s Oracle investment – Oracle applications like cloud services, business analytics, database managed services, business intelligence, and data warehouse support would all be leveraged with the knowledge and capabilities delivered by an MSP.
If a managed service provider is certified it shows that they are committed to servicing their customer, able to offer alignment with your company’s business strategy, a management perspective on program delivery, better control of projects and tangible benefits for the business. With regulations constantly changing, a service provider should be able to prove its certifications, so that you can trust it has the most up-to-date practices to make your data management adhere to industry standards.
An IT Dream Team. Having a full IT team in place with all of the necessary skillsets can really make or break your experience with an MSP. Make sure you have a lineup that is set to win.
- The networking maverick who handles racking your servers for your foundational private cloud infrastructure;
- The security expert with the expertise to employ additional public cloud access controls, data privacy requirements and additional security / compliance measures;
- The server and storage guru (because built-in redundancy and back-up is always essential);
- The application database prodigy to manage your operational systems; and
- The developer dynamo to make sure all things web development are ready for show time.
At the end of the day, there should always be someone available from your MSP who is qualified with the specific talent and skills to meet the task at hand, no matter what the problem is. That requires a deep bench – so ask the right questions to know that your service provider can scale to meet your needs across the board should you need to expand the services you outsource later on.
Managed DevOps Services
As mentioned above, developers are the cornerstone to your IT success, because they need to work with your network engineer to scale operations as needed to meet higher volume requests. They work closely with your in-house developers and systems architects to guide your team to successfully leveraging the benefits of the cloud and ensure your environment runs efficiently and effectively.
Keeping up with the latest and greatest technologies can be a huge undertaking. Whether your IT team is overburdened or you have a growing company, bandwidth and specialized knowledge constraints can make it difficult to feel confident you’re making the right IT choices for your business. This is where top-performing MSPs can really shine – they come to the table with a comprehensive understanding of various IT challenges and solutions due to previous experience with a variety of clients. MSPs will make recommendations on how to spend your IT budget, which solutions are the best fit for your company and how to navigate through your IT obstacles. The ability to implement new technologies quicker – like analytics and mobility – can result in true business value.
A Proactive Approach
A proactive MSP can not only see IT issues coming before they occur but will also systematically maintain the health of your infrastructure at all times. Proactive MSPs build redundant systems and monitor them in such a way to prevent downtime from causing as much as a hiccup.
Not all MSPs operate this way, however; some have a more reactive approach, only focusing on proper backup after excessive downtime has caused a problem. This is not ideal, because it will be more difficult to get to the bottom of what caused the occurrence and downtime will continue to persist.
Some simple signs to distinguish proactive MSPs from reactive MSPs include:
- Making sure automation is built in thoughtfully;
- Sophisticated alert mechanisms are incorporated and
- Other back-end technology is set up to reduce human error while increasing productivity and quality.
While there are other traits that you can watch out for – 24/7 support, accountability, security, strong Service Level Agreements and disaster recovery – the seven listed above are important ones to separate an average MSP from a top-performing MSP. Don’t get discouraged with these things in mind, you’ll be one step closer to finding a top-performing MSP that will be a true partner for all of your IT outsourcing needs. They’re out there if you know what to look for.