If you’re like many organizations out there, you’re contemplating employing a managed IT services provider (MSP) to help improve technological efficiency in your company. It’s a smart choice. The MSP market is booming, as companies of all sizes are turning to MSPs to plug the IT skills gap, improve cyber-resilience and unlock the power of innovation.
However, not all MSPs are created equal. If you’re not careful, you may end up with a partner that fails to deliver what you need at a price that is far too high. With that in mind, we’ll look at the top things to consider when choosing a managed IT services provider in Calgary below.
9 things to consider when choosing a managed IT services provider
So, how do you differentiate a great MSP from an average one? It comes down to a few factors.
MSP’s offerings and service scope
Your business is unique, so it makes sense to partner with an MSP that provides bespoke services too. A one-size-fits-all approach and blanket offerings won’t help you get the results you need. Look for a partner that is willing to analyze your business, and then put together an offering that will work for you.
You’ll also need to explore your MSP’s scope in line with your requirements. For example, you may want a partner that offers remote and in-person support. It’s also wise to look for a partner that has cybersecurity capabilities, so that you don’t have to work with multiple partners to fulfill your needs.
Understand the SLA
The SLA is your service level agreement between you and the MSP. It outlines the contractual obligations and expectations you’ve agreed upon, considering factors like expected response times, metrics and the assets and services covered.
Ideally, your MSP will offer you fast response times, extensive coverage and reasonable benchmarks. Don’t little for anything less and certainly don’t sign the SLA until you understand everything that’s included. Ask questions on anything you’re unsure of.
Relevance to your business
Organizations operating in different sectors must adhere to different rules and regulations. Healthcare organizations, for example, must comply with HIPAA. In line with this, you should choose an MSP with strong knowledge of the sector you operate in.
24/7/365 availability might sound like a lot to ask for, but MSPs like us deliver this to our customers all year round. To get the best service, you should therefore opt for an MSP that can respond to your needs at any time of day or night throughout the year.
Technical expertise, qualifications, and certifications
Because the MSP market is soaring, many people are trying to enter it, often starting companies even though they don’t have solid technical expertise, qualifications or certifications. Luckily, it’s easy to weed out these kinds of businesses.
Ask potential providers about their experience and certificates. They should be able to give you evidence, in the form of documents, that demonstrates their knowledge and expertise in the field. At Dynamix, for example, we’re proud to be certified as an:
- IBM Partner
- Dell Certified Partner
- Microsoft Business Solutions Partner
- Microsoft Small Business Specialist
- VMware Certified
Beyond dealing with IT helpdesk requests, you can work with a partner that helps you to embrace innovation and digital transformation. At first, you might not think your business needs the latest and greatest technology, but being digitally advanced is a competitive advantage.
In fact, a Deloitte study found that digitally advanced businesses are more likely to achieve the following compared to average SMBs:
- Earned twice as much revenue per employee
- Experienced revenue growth 4x higher than competitors
- Created 3x more jobs per year
While we’re not saying that a brand new MSP lacks credibility, it’s often the case that more established, long-running organizations are more credible, simply because they have worked with more organizations and have had more time to learn, grow and evolve. So, look for a company that has at least five years under their belt.
Certifications and experience are undoubtedly important when choosing an MSP, but they aren’t the be all and end all. We recommend you assess a company’s credibility before starting a partnership with them.
You can look on review websites like Trustpilot or Google reviews to gain an understanding of an MSP’s reputation. It’s also wise to ask your MSP for case studies or client testimonials.
Hand in hand with availability goes responsiveness. It’s all well and good that an MSP says they’re available 24/7. However, if they aren’t able to reply quickly, this really doesn’t mean much.
Many leading MSPs offer dedicated response times, so your business can feel confident you’ll get speedy and efficient support, which is factored for in your SLA.
Benefits of working with a local managed IT service provider
At this point, you may be wondering if you should choose a local managed IT service provider or a completely remote company. There are a few reasons why picking a local company may serve you better in the long-term, including:
- Onsite support: If you need new hardware installed or want your MSP to assess your business in-person, choosing a local company is a wiser option.
- Knowledge of local regulations: A Canadian-based company like us has unparalleled knowledge of data privacy laws and cybersecurity risks facing local companies, so we can better protect your business.
- In-person training: If you want to roll out a security awareness course or train your people on a new technology solution, your local IT provider can deliver training in-person rather than over zoom, which can be more effective and engaging.
- Support local business: It’s good for the Canadian economy to shop local.
Helping Toronto & Calgary Businesses Thrive With Technology
We offer expert cybersecurity services and fully managed IT support services to Toronto and Calgary Businesses with responsibilities ranging from on-demand response to all-year-round managed IT support. Our managed IT solutions are available for both on-site IT and remote support. We help businesses reduce costs, improve IT performance, and maintain uptime.