Choosing the right Managed IT Service Partner is a highly critical business decision. If you make the wrong decision, not only would you be losing the money you spend with them, but also all the time and effort you have invested in setting up the IT operations with them – not to mention risking your entire business IT operations.
This is why it’s worth spending time interviewing such potential business partners. So, before you start working with a Managed IT Services Provider, you should set up a meeting with them to discuss what they are really bringing to the table and how your business can benefit from their partnership. In this article, we have outlined 10 of the most important questions that you should ask a potential Managed IT Services Provider before deciding to sign a contract with them.
Question #1: What Does Your On-boarding Process Typically Look Like?
In all likelihood, there will always be learning curves and adjustments required before the new processes and systems can be tested and implemented. Therefore, before signing a contract with any Managed IT Services Provider, it’s important to ask them about their on-boarding process, just so you know what you can expect in the weeks or months following the agreement.
Question #2: What’s Included in Your Managed Services and What’s Out of Your Scope?
Having a clear idea of what services they will provide can save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run. Does their service include regular server upgrades, software upgrades, network monitoring, help desk support, etc.? Is there anything missing in their plan which could potentially be a deal-breaker for a business like yours? What add-on services do they provide for an extra cost? Knowing all this will help you make a better decision.
Question #3: How Will Your Services Help Us Become More Competitive?
Here are some good questions along these lines that will help you make a better decision:
- How will they help you make your business operations more efficient?
- How can they help you win more business by leveraging the latest, state-of-the-art technology that’s available to other key players in your industry?
- How quick are they at adapting to emerging market trends?
Question #4: How Will You Help Us Reduce Our IT Operation Costs?
Working with a managed service provider should typically cost your business less than setting up in-house operations. However, this doesn’t always mean spending less money. Think about it in terms of long-term ROI and meeting business objectives.
Question #5: Will You Be Able to Help Us Scale Our Operations When Needed?
If you are an SME and have plans for expanding your operations in the future, you need an IT partner that can keep up with the growing needs of your business.
Question #6: How Would You Typically Respond to an IT Disaster?
In the cyber-centric world of today, IT disasters are commonplace. This is why it’s important to know how well-prepared is your potential IT partner for such disasters and what measures they will take in case such an unfortunate event does happen. Your business operations should be least affected by such events and be up and running again as quickly as possible.
Question #7: What Measures Will You Take to Prevent Cyber-attacks?
Ask them about the kind of incident and penetration monitoring mechanisms they have in place when it comes to being vigilant and proactive about noticing and eliminating potential cyber-threats. Ensure that their proposed incident response plan and service restoration plan is adequate and takes into account the nature of your business operations.
Question #8: Do Your Services Include Remote Management and Proactive Monitoring?
Prevention is always better than cure! You would want to work with an IT company that offers 24×7 monitoring, follows a proactive approach when it comes to IT management, and takes action well in time to prevent avoidable problems that would potentially disrupt or halt your business operations.
Question #9: How Does Your Helpdesk Support Work and What’s the Average Response Time?
When you call the IT support help desk of your IT partner, you would want to reach the same few top-of-the-line IT experts they have working for them – the ones who are familiar with your business needs and know what kind of issues you could possibly run into. Also worth asking them is what their average response time for high-priority is in comparison to low-priority issues, and what hours they are available on weekdays vs weekends for responding to and taking care of any issues that may arise out of the blue.
Question #10: How Processes Will You Have in Place for Reporting and Troubleshooting?
Make sure your IT partner will keep you in the loop and seek approval when it comes to making any significant changes to your company’s IT operations. Ask them if they have any set procedures for keeping you posted about their work progress, which will include:
- Regular reporting and/or meetings
- Access to an admin portal which can give you an idea of what’s going on behind the screens at a quick glance
- Troubleshooting and Issue Tracking Systems for reporting and management of ongoing IT issues
This questionnaire is by no means comprehensive, but it will certainly provide you with a solid foundation when you are ready to interview the prospective IT partner for your business. It all comes down to having an open, honest discussion with them and figuring out how well they can cater to your organisation’s needs and take your business to the next level.