Understanding the IT Service Provider Onboarding Process

Posted by Corrin Jones on March 26, 2019

What actually happens when you engage with a managed service provider (MSP)? An MSP's goal is to bring your current infrastructure up to date, resolve any current risk factors, and target inefficiencies your organization may be struggling with. Frequently, these issues may not be obvious internally; it may take an external service provider to uncover them. Once risk factors have been identified, the MSP will work to provide and implement solutions.

Here's a complete overview of the onboarding process, from start to finish. 

Stage 1: Planning

After a contract has been signed, a meeting will be held to discuss the client's goals and expectations. It's important that, before moving forward, the IT service provider fully understands the client's needs. MSP services can vary in scope: Some MSPs provide just basic services, while other MSPs will handle virtually everything for a client.

During the planning process, the IT service provider will develop an understanding the client's current IT infrastructure and will tailor their plans accordingly. Once a roadmap has been created for client development, a timeline will be agreed upon.

At the planning stage, it's critical that the IT service provider and the client communicate effectively with each other. The IT provider is going to have to investigate the company's current capacity while also comparing it to industry standards. At the same time, the IT service provider will need to keep in mind the client's budget and current capacity for both growth and change. 

Stage 2: Assessment

Once the initial planning stages have been completed, a more in-depth assessment of the client's capabilities will occur. A managed service provider will completely analyze and report upon the current IT environment of the client, looking for key inefficiencies, risk factors, and opportunities for development.

A client should supply to the MSP:

  • A map of their current network infrastructure

  • Current vendor contracts and licenses

  • A complete inventory of their IT assets

  • Documentation of business processes

  • Any major pain points the client is experiencing

Through this, the managed services provider will gain further understanding of the company's current assets and its business processes. The managed services provider may also request further information from the client as they continue to explore the company's current infrastructure. It's especially important that the client outline their current pain points, as this gives the MSP provider a direction in which to work.

At this stage, the onboarding team will be looking for:

  • Any major security issues, including password hygiene issues and mobile device management

  • Out of date software or hardware that could be holding the company back

  • Solutions to the company's core problems, as outlined by the company

  • Redundant systems, such as applications that are performing the same task

  • Inefficiencies, such as having to import or export information from system to system 

During this assessment, documentation is incredibly important. Not only will the managed services provider be relying upon the initial documentation to assess the company's current capabilities, but the MSP will also be providing thorough documentation regarding the company's suggested modifications.

Stage 3: Deployment

After the planning stage, the client will review the solutions that the MSP provider puts forth and decide whether they want to move forward with these changes. At the beginning of the deployment stage, the MSP will create an active plan for deployment, after which, existing services will be migrated. An organization's infrastructure may need to be redesigned from the ground up, while data will be migrated and preserved. 

Depending on the size of the organization's infrastructure, deployment could take as little as an evening or need to be completed over the course of months. Lengthier deployments will have a full roadmap, complete with milestones.

During the process of deployment, clients will be notified of the progress and any issues that arise. The goal of the MSP, during this phase, is to update and upgrade the system as much as needed to meet the client's goals — without making any unnecessary changes.

During this transition, employees will be trained by the MSP provider on the new technology. The MSP will provide continued customer support and training support for these changes, in addition to training key advocates who understand the technology and can disseminate this knowledge throughout their departments. Once the changes have been successfully deployed, the MSP will switch to a support role. 

Are you ready to start the onboarding process? Does your organization need a technology update? Whether your organization needs an in-depth infrastructure overhaul or just needs the services of an MSP provider, CWPS can help. Contact CWPS today to get started

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Topics: MSP