Managed IT & IT Support Services Become a Part of Your Business
Choosing the Right MSP Is Critical
One of the things that makes IT Managed Services so sticky is that it’s a pain to switch vendors. This is especially true if your IT support service is also providing your cloud-based IT solutions, such as cloud backup, remote helpdesk, hosted exchange email, cloud file syncing, collaboration tools and data hosting. Transferring those vital business functions to another vendor is time consuming and disruptive to business continuity. That’s why is is imperative to make the right choice when selected an outsourced IT partner.
IT Outsourcing is not IT Out-of-Mind
Business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs, like it or not, are finding it increasingly important to have a hand in their information technology operations. Gone are the days of approaching IT with a laissez-faire attitude. Uptime and security are of paramount concern. As a result, the relationship between the computer consulting firm, or the managed service provider, and their clients is more important than ever. At VanTech, we are in close contact with our clients, becoming part of their cultures and forming strong and lasting relationships. If we’re going to be spending so much time together, might as well be easy to work with, respectful and courteous. This simple foundation makes the hard stuff so much easier.
What Sets an IT Managed Service Provider Apart?
There is an old cliche about your typical IT people. Bookish, introverted, superior and disconnected are some of the traits that come to mind. They are likely not the majority, but I can confirm that these people exist. I’ve seen them, and I’ve dealt with them, and after 20 years, I still wonder why they are making everything so difficult. There is a better, more efficient and more enjoyable way. Here are some differentiators between quality IT service providers and ones that should be avoided:
- Communication – Quality communication begins with identifying the clients preferred method. Managed Service Providers generate a tremendous amount of data and information and should impose no obstacles in the way of delivering that information. It’s important to remember that information technology is a service that integrates tightly with all other departments of a business, therefore we should not impose our own preferred communication methods on the client. The information should be meaningful and to the point. Over explaining or getting to ‘techy’, whether in conversation or over email, is annoying and it wastes time. On the other hand, assuming a client knows what you’re talking about is just as risky a proposition. IT services should look to strike the right balance between being silent and never shutting up.
- Plain Speak – While technically a part of communications, this is so important that is warrants its own bullet point. IT Managed Service companies and IT consultants should speak in plain language and should aim to explain complicated processes and solutions in a way that is informative and easy to understand. Gargon should be avoided, as should long expositions on the history of computing and other things that are uninteresting and tedious. The client wants to know a very few things; what needs to be done, how it will get done, how it is going to address their specific desire, what affect it will have on business continuity and how much it will cost. Almost everything else is unnecessary.
- Partnerships – Our aim is to fully integrate into your business to make it better and more efficient. That cannot be accomplished from arms-reach. It requires the managed services firm to really get to know the clients. Any IT managed support company that does not emphasize getting immersed into the client’s company, culture and operations could not possibly know what technical solutions a company requires. To see things from a user-experience point-of-view, you need to know the clients and what’s important to them.
- Right-Sized Solutions – As with most things, in IT the devil is in the details. Not only the details of today, but also the anticipated details of the future and the remembered details of the past. Computer consultants should focus on implementing systems that will offer the maximum in reliabilty and longevity at the client’s price point. Underselling is a trait of cut rate businesses and overselling is not the hallmark of a trusted IT partner. Plan, purchase and maintain right-sized solutions. The recipe for success.
- Real-time Monitoring and Self Healing – Anything less than 24/7/365 realtime IT monitoring is unacceptable. Monitoring systems that do not remediate their own issues misses the point. Realtime IT monitoring and maintenance keeps vendors in the know, and trigger systems that, in some cases, can immediately solve the issue without user interaction on either side. Without these technologies, clients will be seeing their IT support people much more often, experiencing more downtime and ultimately spending more money.
- Relatively Invisible – VanTech’s aim is to be onsite as little as possible. Our philosophy is that if we are onsite there must be a problem. We don’t like problems. We employee a number of remote IT services to ensure that our clients environments are up-to-date and protected. Patching, updating, virus scanning, health checks and optimizations are all planned to run overnight at regular intervals with limited human interaction and no downtime. Robust reporting capabilities quantifies the IT support effort from a single, integrated console. Further, screensharing, remote control and file transfer capabilities allow for remote remediation of most other issues.
- Tranparency – Clients need to know what they don’t know. Period! It’s the managed IT service provider’s duty to be honest and thorough.