Engaging an IT managed service provider (MSP) is a positive step for any business and is a way of ensuring that your company’s IT systems are supported and managed by a team of experts. They will want to do a good job for you and will use their skills and expertise to do so. Advances in modern technology and IT systems move so fast that the benefits of aligning your business with an IT company are many. From providing proactive support and planning to implementing increased security measures, it will allow you to focus on running your business and your teams with the peace of mind that your IT is in good hands.
Once you’ve signed the contract and the work has begun, how do you go about holding your MSP accountable for the work that you have enlisted them to do? What are the criticalities and the things that really matter to your business? How can you ensure that you are getting a worthwhile service? Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) from the outset for your managed service provider will give clarification to both parties and set the scene for managing expectations and maintaining a good working relationship.
Your MSP’s main priority is to keep you happy by keeping your computers on and your teams working. A visit to your premises early on in the contract will allow them to see your workplace setup for themselves. They’ll have an opportunity to talk to your users and find out what they want too. This could be an expectation on the average time to answer the phone or how to avoid repeat issues and ticket reopens for jobs that weren’t sorted out properly in the first place. Whichever it is, these conversations will give them a valuable insight into how your company works and how they can make certain they support it.
There are three primary KPIs to set for your MSP, all of which will point out the important aspects which are unique to your business and help to keep the focus in the right areas.
Availability and response
Your service level agreement (SLA) is the fundamental contract and legal protection mechanism that will underpin your relationship with your MSP but you may find that it doesn’t really address service quality. More often than not, you will actually find that your MSP outdoes itself for service. At Lumina Technologies, our response time is quoted as being two hours in our SLAs but we have a track record of responding and starting work on the ticket within an average of fifteen minutes.
Essentially, you will want to know that when you call with a problem, how long it will take to respond and more importantly, how long it will take to fix the issue. Have a realistic conversation with your MSP account manager about their speed of response and whether it is aligned with your expectations. Systems do fail, power cuts happen, internet connections go down but how long would you tolerate your system being down? If the answer is half a day over a six month period, you will have a point of discussion and a measure for your MSP to work to, which will ultimately ensure customer satisfaction.
Backups and security
It is vital that you know that all of the required security measures are being taken to ensure a safe and protected IT environment in your company. You will want your machines to be available to work on safely and the data protected around the clock. Security compliance involving patching and antivirus updates and regular operating system updates are key parts of a robust cyber security plan and you should expect your MSP to keep you informed regularly with the details of how they are managing yours and give you that important seal of approval.
You should expect a level of regular reporting from your MSP depending on the service you have signed up for. A monthly report will give you an overview of the work that has been carried out and a track of the progress of any project work undertaken too. This is the best way to hold your MSP accountable for their work and by viewing their reports, you will be able to see how transparent they are being with you and if there are areas which require attention in the future.
Lumina Technologies are award winning providers of managed IT services and bring a high level of skill and resource to your organisation’s IT systems. Contact us to see how we can help.