How to effectively collaborate with your MSP

The global business community channels over USD 200 billion to Managed IT services and that figure is forecasted to rise in the coming years. Large and small businesses are eager to leverage managed services to meet their IT requirements, refine their digital strategies, and lower their IT costs.

Partnering with the right MSP allows you to make the most of your IT infrastructure and helps the business keep pace with dynamic technical demands. Here are five tips for fostering good collaboration with a managed service provider.

Define your expectations

Ask yourself why partner with an MSP in the first place — this should be the benchmark for your expectations. Organizations outsource their IT services for various reasons, such as to relieve overburdened staff, oversee digital transformations, or bring in new skill sets and specialized tools. Define what you want to get from managed services and have realistic expectations of the partnership.

Agree on the terms of service

MSPs describe their terms of service in a service-level agreement (SLA), which represents a commitment for service delivery and outlines all the associated details. SLAs do not necessarily follow standard conventions such as the ISO 44001:2017, meaning they can be open to negotiations.

Before moving forward with the partnership, agree on each party’s roles and responsibilities, and formulate fair metrics for gauging success and performance. This should create a mutual understanding, which is the basis for any productive collaboration. Remember, you can always revisit the terms of service and make adjustments at any time.

Assign IT roles

In some cases, MSPs assume full responsibility for the entire IT infrastructure, from day-to-day operations and security to end-user device management. But in most cases, the MSP will only take up some of the IT duties. Deciding whether to share IT tasks with the managed partner should depend on what you expect from managed services and the MSP’s capabilities.

Some MSPs have a narrowly limited scope of highly specialized services, such as managed security or remote monitoring. And, some businesses have unique or challenging IT requirements. In such scenarios, you should assign roles to the managed partner according to their expertise and available pool of resources.

Involve your in-house IT team

If you already have active IT employees, they may view partnering with an MSP as a threat to their jobs or a move to undermine their positions. Involve your IT staff in the merging process, and explain to them why managed services are necessary. Reassure them that the partnership is not a threat but a way to boost IT performance through inter-organization collaboration. Bringing your employees on board will help smooth out workflow transitions.

Understand the benefits

When collaborating with an MSP, it is essential to apprehend the business value it brings. Look at the big picture without focusing on just the bottom line — there is more to managed services than cutting costs and aiding productivity. Besides, the figures may only be superficial. Take an objective stand and carefully analyze the benefits of partnering with a managed service provider from a long-term perspective. You will probably find that the MSP is preparing your business for the future, opening doors to more significant opportunities, and streamlining your internal workflows — the kind of progress you cannot quantify with numbers.

Effective collaboration with a managed partner begins with a mutual understanding and aligning your expectations. Both parties must be committed to the business relationship and live up to their ends of the bargain. Find the right partner and realize the true value of having a technical powerhouse by your side.