25 February 2022

Best Practice Reviews – what they are and how they keep your IT on track

Best Practice Reviews – what they are and how they keep your IT on track

When developing a coherent IT response to changing conditions, there are many ways to identify and respond to opportunities. One of the most familiar is the Best Practice Review (BPR).

A BPR isn’t a feature that’s unique to First Focus. Many different MSPs offer BPRs as a part of their solutions packages – not to mention other managed service industries. They’re popular because they can help ensure that your IT solutions and environment align with industry best practices. The outcome is a set of recommendations that help ensure your IT environment stays ahead of the competition.

However, a BPR’s value only becomes realised when the client and the provider work together to deliver productive outcomes.

What goes into a BPR?

Because every organisation is different, it’s impossible to nail down a definitive process that works 100% of the time. Instead, it’s better to develop an approach that considers the differences inherent in the client company and the capacities of the service provider.

Here are the top four steps involved in prepping for a BPR:

  1. Mapping the existing IT environment and interdependencies
  2. Understanding risk & developing plans to reduce it
  3. Identifying opportunities to use technology as an enabler
  4. Budgeting projects, cost optimisation, & lifecycle management

At first glance, an MSP BPR doesn’t look different from other evaluational updates. And it’s not – your BPR should focus on ensuring the technology stack you have in place is up to speed, same as any quarterly assessment. The key differences lie in the fact that it’s IT-focused – and that an external agency will be doing most of the heavy lifting.

This external focus means that an MSP BPR is significantly less taxing for the client than other kinds of review. You provide the details to your MSP, and they do the rest.

A wake-up call to refresh your tech stack

In practice, you can even pair your BPR with an Annual Business Roadmap (ABR) for a mix of strategic planning and tactical management. The strategic ABR document should align IT with your core business goals, while the BPR gives you the option of checking off best-practice improvements as you progress.

Your BPR is an excellent opportunity to talk about the future. You can recap what’s happening in your industry and find out how IT has responded. These insights are handy for organisations with a clear separation between C-level responsibilities and the delivery of IT services – as executives can deliver excellent breakdowns of your organisation’s goals but may not be aware of how IT can deliver these outcomes.

One easy way to get better organisational buy-in for your MSP BPR is by framing it as a service delivery alignment session that involves IT. You’re helping IT take a step back from daily operations and see the big picture.

Other vital points for conducting a BPR:

  • demonstrates the value of your IT partner to executives
  • shows that you understand and care about internal clients
  • shows how IT can enable and support a range of business opportunities
  • grows trust between different stakeholders and departments

In turn, this outline helps offer value by giving people who might not otherwise get face time with IT providers the opportunity and means to work directly with the MSP, ensuring that they can appreciate how the IT environment helps meet organisational aspirations.

What does a BPR workflow look like?
The result = aligned outcomes

Like any other assessment, an MSP BPR only aligns goals when the review generates action. But it can sometimes feel like a BPR is coming with the intent to sell. One way to check if your MSP has your best interests at heart with a BPR is to ask if they have salespeople, commissions, or lock-in contracts. If they don’t, then your MSP is relying on good work over the long term to keep their clients satisfied – rather than sales techniques, kickbacks, or expensive termination clauses to raise profits.

When aligning outcomes, both the client and the provider benefit from the actions outlined in the BPR. Any activities listed that help the client eliminate unnecessary maintenance costs, cut down on IT noise, or support ongoing business projects will also encourage the client to keep working with that MSP – eliminating the need to use salespeople, commissions, or lock-in contracts. At the same time, any return on IT investments experienced by the clients can help further optimise the client’s environment – making them a more profitable customer to support.

At First Focus, the ultimate goal of our BPR sessions is to help our clients use technology to make a difference. Our technical account managers (TAMs) are available to take you through an exploration of what best practice looks like. For a more in-depth experience, our virtual chief information officers (vCIOs) have the depth and breadth of experience you need to make sure that your IT environment not only supports your strategic vision but actively enables you to make a move.