What is your MSP accountable for?
Managed Service Providers can operate in many ways, but we often see two types: The break-fix kind and the monthly fixed fee kind. Neither model is incorrect. They both serve their own purposes and there are companies that need both types of MSPs. For us, we wanted deeper relationships with our clients so over the years we have evolved into an MSP who seeks to partner with our clients to help them meet their business goals by providing additional support and a strategic planning to protect our clients in the current threat landscape.
The advantages of having a strategic relationship with your MSP
By working with an MSP in a strategic manner it means you have a greater chance of them working alongside you and your team. It also means they have a dedicated seat in your accountability chart that clearly outlines the expectations of your role. As an MSP that is embarking on our own Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) journey, this is something we want to see. It’s important to have clarity around what you are supposed to be responsible for. Clear lines of communication and clear expectations are very important for ensuring a successful partnership with a provider.
Another advantage of working strategically with your MSP is that they will help you plan for technology now and help you navigate the future as you grow. Companies evolve. Technology changes faster. As your company builds its one-, three-, and five-year plan, it is important that technology is considered a strategic tool and not an anchor holding you back. Any good MSP will take your concerns, ideas, and goals for your company into consideration before they start recommending hardware and software. This means your MSP must be capable of creating a technology roadmap and work with your team to properly plan for the future.
All of this sounds great, right? The question though is, how do you know your MSP will follow through with what they say they will do?
What will your MSP be responsible for doing?
In your accountability chart, first identify the top five items your MSP seat will be responsible for. Ideally your meeting should be structured around your business goals and can be structured to address the following items:
- Technology and Business Pain Points– Your MSP needs to understand what your aches and pains are before they can recommend how technology can be used more effectively in your business.
- Strategic Planning & Road-mapping– They should meet with your team to discuss priority items and long-term goals and build your company a technology roadmap propelled by your business goals.
- Budgeting– In any partnership budgeting should be discussed up front.
- Implementation– Once your roadmap has been created your MSP should start working on the projects they outlined.
- ROI– Your MSP should show you the results of their plan. This can be done through formal presentation of reports, project timelines, support ticket reviews, etc.
Throughout the journey you should also find that other teams are brought in. For example, a team that focuses on cybersecurity may be pulled in during some of the discovery conversations to help uncover security risks you may be unaware of. A Services team may be brought in to provide your staff with technical support day-to-day. The Solutions team may be brought in when it’s time to plan for new technology and to provide insight on hardware, tools, and solutions. The Projects team may be brought in to roll out new hardware and solutions.
Not all MSP’s operate this way and provide all of these services. For MSPs on a break-fix model, you can’t expect the level of service outlined above. Since it’s out of scope, they can’t be held accountable for strategic planning and budgeting. If you partner with Grade A, you will have a strategic partner and we will be accountable. Are you interested in learning more? If so, contact us.
Do you know how to measure your MSP and how to hold them accountable? Use our questions in this checklist to help facilitate your discussion with them so you both know where their seat is on your accountability chart and what they are being held accountable for.