The ABC’s of IT part 1: Managed Service Providers (MSP)
Not sure what a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is, or how to choose one? Our new series is all about understanding the ins and outs of IT and OT so you can accelerate your business’ performance.
SMEs generate approximately 30% of South Africa’s total turnover; but when it comes to investing for success, your Managed Service Provider (or MSP), is probably not a priority.
Marketing, personnel, legal, rent, and stock often get the nod when it comes time to do the budget. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much for IT.
IT is considered a luxury. But in truth, it can improve operating efficiency, security, and customer experience. And it doesn’t have to break the bank.
There are a thousands of affordable IT tools aimed specifically at smaller businesses. One of the most powerful is a Managed Service Provider. But what is it, and what do you need to know before choosing an MSP?
Managed Service Providers in a nutshell…
An MSP is essentially a subscription to an IT department.
Instead of investing in infrastructure, hiring an IT team or buying expensive software and devices, you subscribe to these services which are managed by a team off-site.
It’s a huge advantage. Apart from reduced cost, different subscriptions can also help with you can enjoy everything from offsite data security and storage to payroll, HR, and Cloud services.
In addition, the same team handles all of your needs. That means no more worrying about compatibility problems or training new staff.
Sound good? The only “problem” with MSPs is that there are hundreds of different options to choose from. Your biggest problem may be finding the right partner for your needs.
But what sets one provider apart from another?
A CTO KNOWS: Subscriptions can unlock savings over time, but migrating to a new system may require some capital.
RMM + MSPs = Results
There are two key considerations when looking for an MSP: their technical capabilities, and their suite of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools.
The RMM is a secret weapon that allows the MSP to monitor all of your networked devices in real-time.
This performance data gives you instant alerts when there’s an issue. Plus it enhances your ability to make key decisions needed to keep key systems working.
That means a more efficient, secure, stable business, and more time being productive.
Despite these advantages, most MSPs don’t have their own RMM – they partner up with external suppliers.
That means you’re not only subscribing to the MSP, but their RMM supplier, too. Look for the right combination. The RMM brings the technology, while the Managed Service Provider brings the expertise and services. It’s a partnership that needs to work seamlessly.
A CTO KNOWS: A smooth sales pitch is pointless if the tech isn’t there to back it up. Look for the best of both worlds.
Can the Managed Service Provider help you scale up?
Another thing to remember as you search for an MSP is that most offer different subscriptions based on your need.
But your needs will change as your organisation grows.
While it may be tempting to get the package that covers your current IT needs, your business will (hopefully) be growing very quickly. Your MSP needs to be able to help you accelerate that growth.
Try to look beyond the price tag as you make your choice. Assess the MSP to ensure they have experience managing the technology that’s already in place, and that they can support the tools you plan to use in future.
A CTO KNOWS: Choose an MSP that’s skilled in today’s technology, and ready for tomorrow’s