Managed Services Best Practices: How to Work With an MSP

Posted by Gary Utley on April 28, 2020

Managed Services Best Practices: How to Work With an MSPManaged IT providers will always do their best to work with their clients. But clients can also do a lot to ensure that their relationship with an MSP is a productive one. It's important for clients to take action to manage their MSP relationships from their end. Here are some best practices for effectively working with an MSP.

1. Start with Finding the Right MSP

Working with an MSP will always start with finding the right MSP. Begin with the services and functions you want the MSP to provide, and look for an MSP that will fulfill those needs. Connect with MSPs and find the ones that have the right values and missions to mesh well with your business, and the ones you can communicate best with.

Once you have found MSPs that provide the best services for you, you need to make sure they have a good reputation. Third-party reviews and Better Business Bureau listings will give you a feel for whether the MSP is right for your business.

2. Be as Communicative as Possible

Work with the MSP to analyze your infrastructure and have regular meetings to keep in contact. The more you communicate with your MSP, the better the advice they can give. Your MSP will need to be able to communicate with you regularly to guide you, and even if they offer 24/7 monitoring and support, they will also need to be able to connect with you in the event that major issues occur. An MSP cannot work with you if you don't work with them!

3. Identify What Is and Isn't Working

Don't be afraid to tell your MSP if there are things that aren't working. MSPs frequently find that there may be issues that they need to adjust, as there are some businesses that need to manage their operations differently. You need a solution that's tailored to you, and the MSP is going to need to work with you to make those changes.

Be open, honest, and precise about the things that aren't working for you, and the MSP will be able to adjust accordingly. One of the most important managed services best practices is simply to be open to talking about things that need to be fixed. By the same token, highlight the things that you value most about your MSP service, and let them know; this will let them know which areas you want them to lean into.

4. Be Open to Making Your Own Changes

Often, companies can get into the habit of ignoring an MSP's solutions. They may ask the MSP for help, but ultimately may not have an interest in following the advice. Either an MSP is trustworthy and delivering the correct advice, or the MSP isn't the right MSP for the client — if a client finds that their MSP's advice is often "not for them," it may be the result of a mismatch between what the client wants and the MSP is able to deliver.

But if you trust your MSP and understand their suggestions, it's better to be open to making changes. Otherwise, there won't be a clear path to improvement for either the client or the MSP.

Your business may not be able to make changes because it's an issue of time or resources. If that's true, your MSP can still help. Tell your MSP what the barriers are to making changes, and let them give you additional guidance regarding how to best make those modifications.

5. Foster a Team Relationship

MSPs need to know who to contact, just as your own employees need to know who their own primary contacts are. By fostering a team relationship, you'll be able to communicate more effectively. Make sure your MSPs have some level of continuity in who they are interacting with, and if employees leave, make sure that their new replacements also connect with your MSP contacts.

Employees and MSPs have to be able to work together rather than seeing each other as barriers or adversaries, and the best way to do this is to make sure that employees are working with the MSPs and engaging with the MSPs rather than simply taking and giving direction. 

MSPs will always do the heavy lifting in the MSP and client relationship, but clients need to be able to communicate effectively with the MSP regarding their needs, and need to be responsive if they want to see results. 

For more information about finding and working with the right MSP, contact the experts at Red River.

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Topics: managed service provider