Do you feel stuck in an unproductive relationship with your IT service provider? Concerns about the disruption caused when changing providers can prolong a difficult marriage. But understanding how the transition will occur, before you commit to a new Managed Service Provider (MSP), can dramatically improve your experience.
Getting to know a new MSP does take time and there are costs for both parties in the short term. However, a number of strategies can fast-track a successful migration and help establish an IT partnership that’s worth the effort.
Change is scary when there are unknown factors involved. So ask your potential new MSP about their transition process and meet the team involved. Discover whether the move will be run by a single technician or if it will be professionally project managed. Is there a standard one-size fits all process or can you influence the scope of the project?
Organisations have different needs and expectations when changing providers. Whether you just need the basics covered, require advice, or specific customisations, the process should be tailored to suit your needs – not the MSP’s.
Gathering technical information about your IT environment is the job of project managers and technicians. But it’s equally important that the team includes the business acumen to understand the impact of IT on your organisation, so this can be explained to the service teams. Examples include:
For example, if you ship goods, your new MSP may need to understand business issues like the importance of the printing function. Being unable to print the labels may hold up an entire shipment. Will your new MSP ensure their Service Desk understand that such a small device can need their highest ticket priority?
Determining whether a transition team includes the right ‘business smarts’ is like interviewing for a new employee – it’s not easy. But understanding their approach, the follow-up questions they ask, or whether there is a set check-list of bullet-points, can help you in your assessment.
The transition project is the start of your new business relationship. All MSPs talk about building a ‘partnership’, however, the priorities used to move new clients can provide an insight into which partner’s needs come first.
Most MSPs will have a plan for how they’d like to manage the transition process. What the stages are, how long they should take, how they will be delivered. What matters is how and when these processes occur to minimise risk during the move.
Professional MSPs will ask about any key events due to occur within the business during the change-over to ensure they are not impacted. During a transition, changes are made which include locking out users from the old MSP, modifying alert settings, and potentially replacing hardware. It should not be up to the business to think about the IT implications which could disrupt business as usual. Warning flags should be raised if the MSP isn’t asking the right questions needed to work around you.
Finally, the transition process should not finish when your IT details are stored away in the MSP’s database. If you’re not invited to a training session with the service desk, ask to be! You can help ensure that the service staff supporting your people know what is important to you.
At First Focus, we always first seek to understand your business so transition projects are tailored to your needs. Our teams include project managers, business and process managers, engineers and most importantly, you and your teams.