Onboarding an IT Provider: What’s Realistic?
When you hire a managed service provider, you want instant results: you want all your technology to run faster and more smoothly, and everyone to be more productive. And there will be no problems again, ever, right? But that’s not realistic. Managed service providers are pretty great (even if we do say ourselves), but we’re not miracle workers. So, let’s discuss what you might realistically expect when onboarding a new IT provider.
Sometimes, quick wins are achieved. The managed service provider (MSP) may be able to immediately get that server powered up again or fix that printer on the second floor that’s only been taking up space for the past three months. Yet there is no magic wand that allows these IT experts to solve every issue instantly.
What should you expect?
If there is a pressing issue, the MSP will start there by looking into what has gone wrong. Then, they’ll be able to make plans for addressing the concern. Maybe a part failed, or your hardware has reached the end of its life. They’ll look into how you use that technology and provide suggestions to make a fix.
Otherwise, if nothing is immediately wrong, your MSP will begin the engagement by learning about your business tech. They’ll want to talk with your stakeholders to discover:
- where you are now;
- where you want to be the future;
- how you use your IT;
- what your IT budget looks like.
In getting up to speed, this outsourced IT team should be making a great impression on you. This is the beginning of your relationship. They have won your business, but you can expect them to be proving that you made the right choice. Still, this doesn’t mean they can get everything perfect right from the get-go.
The timeline depends on the context.
There could be issues that will take longer to resolve. They may need to do diagnostic work to get to the root of the problem. Solving the issue could take creative problem-solving and a lot of research legwork.
We’d love to say that every business we work with comes to us with pristine IT. Everything is in great shape, and we can immediately step in and make everything work even better. But there can be lingering or unidentified concerns. The business may not have the IT depth to recognize the problems that the MSP will quickly diagnose. Perhaps you’ve been ignoring security warnings or network errors or you’ve been bombarded with access requests from malicious IPs. The MSP is going to have to take on those outstanding concerns.
Again, there is no magic wand. The MSP can’t instantly turn the ship around if it’s been sailing toward a massive iceberg for the past year.
Expect to give your MSP team some time to learn your business and get up to speed with your IT. However, don’t give them forever. If it has been six months, and they’re still “figuring it all out,” you may want to reconsider that partnership. But be aware that cutting those ties means starting from scratch to build a relationship with a new MSP.
The better approach is to expect ongoing, informative communication from your new MSP. They should be letting you know what they are learning about your technology needs along the way and making suggestions to improve usage, boost security, increase productivity, and drive efficiency.
One thing you can realistically expect? Your MSP will make a real contribution. These experts should be more than a vendor and more like a partner in your business success.
Contact us at 508-617-1310.