If you’re among the millions of small businesses that use a Managed IT Services Provider (IT MSP), congratulations. You have more wisdom, vision and foresight than many of your competitors. It’s also likely that you’re reaping the myriad rewards of this trusted contracting arrangement, including lower costs, less downtime and greater network security. The question is, are you getting the full value that you’re paying for? Is the provider engaged, paying attention and delivering on contracted commitments? In the normal day-to-day, are they more proactive or reactive? Sometimes the answers are obvious. Other times, not so much. Here are four telltale signs (among many) that justify switching IT Managed Services Providers:
Nothing stays fixed. A reputable IT MSP uses the latest tools, technologies and databases to detect and resolve issues before they disrupt your operations. When problems do sneak through, the provider will thoroughly document the incident and recommended steps to prevent or address future occurrences. Repeated instances of the same or similar problems reveal the provider’s lack of vigilance, poor monitoring and tracking practices, or lack of professionalism or technical expertise. Whichever it is, your enterprise–and all the data residing on it–remain precariously at risk.
They’re tactical not strategic. There may have been a time when a reactive “repair person” was all your company needed. But with the increasing complexity (and vulnerability) of the modern enterprise, you obviously need much more. An engaged and proactive IT partner will understand your business, inside and out, and work to align systems and solutions with strategic goals and objectives. For example, has your provider recently recommended a complete security audit or regulatory compliance assessment? How long since you’ve reviewed your disaster recovery plan or cloud computing strategy? Offered ransomware training for your staff?
You’ve outgrown them. Many businesses start small then, through sound practices and good decisions, expand and grow. As they do, their dependence on technology increases. Evidence that your success has outpaced your provider’s ability to support it include: infrequent communications and updates, slower response times, and a growing backlog of critical upgrades, fixes and improvements.
You feel like a hostage. When a non-IT person has to interface with the IT Managed Services Provider, it can be difficult to determine whether you’re getting advice that’s sound, prudent and in your company’s best interest. When something arises that you don’t understand, you may feel intimidated or ill-equipped to question the provider’s recommendations or spending. So, instead of more communication there is less. And any sense of cooperation and collaboration between you quickly disappears, leaving you feeling angry, resentful or even trapped–hesitant to make a change because doing so seems stressful and overwhelming.
The good news is that you are not stuck and that switching IT providers may be easier than you think. But the longer you put it off, the harder a change will be. If you’re feeling even the smallest twinge that things aren’t right and could probably be better, trust your instincts. Make some calls and start exploring your options. Your success is at stake and there’s much more to gain there is to lose.