A managed service agreement is more than a vendor simply delivering a service to you; it’s a partnership built on a unified vision of success. After hiring a Managed Services Provider (MSP) for your business, there will be a significant transition that affects not only your internal IT department, but also your end-users and your organization as a whole—both day-to-day and long term. It takes time to build trust in any business relationship, but it is the key to the success of the relationship.
Here’s how you can build a long-lasting and successful relationship with your MSP partner.
Revisit your internal processes
Your MSP will help you improve your processes, but to do so, they will need to assess your current workflows. Ensure that your current processes are documented before you engage. This will allow your MSP to identify problem areas quickly and help you with concrete suggestions for improvement.
Set clear goals
Your MSP will appreciate specific details about your most important pain points, as well as the benefits you hope to achieve through your partnership with them. Further, set clear timelines for your goals so that your MSP can help you prioritize your goals and implement services appropriately. Your goals should be aligned with those of the MSP for your organization.
Have boundaries between your MSP and internal IT
Your internal IT team and MSP should establish shared goals, but the only way to increase productivity of both your internal IT team and MSP is by establishing clear boundaries. Your MSP is responsible for managing certain IT tasks and projects so that your internal IT team can focus on higher value tasks and business-focused competencies. It is therefore important that you clearly delineate the projects your MSP is responsible for.
Think closely about SLAs and KPIs
To ensure that you are receiving quality service from your MSP, you need to have solid Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in place. SLAs are agreements between the MSP and your business, indicating the level of service expected from the partnership. SLAs are best defined mutually and are often re-evaluated on a yearly basis depending on the MSP's performance. KPIs, however, allow regular measurements for evaluating trends and making adjustments to the MSP’s service delivery. SLAs and KPIs are important because they help you and your MSP determine the initiatives that are working well as well as the services that need to be reviewed.
By building a successful relationship with your MSP, you can turn a simple service engagement into a long-lasting partnership. Importantly, this will open the door to more meaningful continual service improvement efforts down the line.