Choosing the right Co-Managed IT provider starts with defining your needs
In the past, businesses either had an internal IT person/team or they worked with an outsourced IT company that provided Break/Fix or Managed IT Services. As the model has developed, businesses are finding it advantageous to have a combination of in-house and outsourced IT. For instance, they may not have the budget or need for a full-time senior network engineer but need to have that expertise on-hand if needed. The opposite is also true, where they may have a high-level IT professional, but need to provide support for the person or team to lessen pressure and expense.
In our previous blog we outlined how to determine if your organization is ready for Co-Managed IT. In this blog, we’ll cover how to pick the right Co-Managed IT provider.
In this blog we’ll be covering:
10 Questions to ask a potential Co-Managed IT Provider
The Co-Managed IT Worksheet
10 Questions to Ask a Potential Co-Managed IT Provider
These questions are meant to be difficult. Coming prepared with the right questions will help you identify if a Managed Service Provider can adequately provide Co-Managed services.
Why should we partner with you as our IT Firm?
Why shouldn’t we partner with you as our IT firm?
What is your process for keeping up with the rapidly changing IT environment?
What reporting can you provide our organization?
How many customers do you currently support that have internal IT Support?
What role(s) do you normally take on as the outsourced IT help?
Are you willing to provide 5 customer references that we can reach out to?
Do you have a customer portal? What does it include?
What is an ideal partnership with an in-house IT team?
What makes a partnership/client relationship less ideal?
Just like a job interview, you want to come equipped with questions. These are some of the best questions we’ve received as the Co-Managed IT firm. These will provide an excellent starting point when interviewing a Co-Managed partner.
The Co-Managed IT Worksheet
Every Managed Service Provider will say they provide Co-Managed IT services, but few have extensive experience with Co-Managed. They sign on the client and try to “figure it out” on the go. We recommend using this worksheet to identify which team will be accountable for which roles. Some roles can be shared, and others cannot. For instance, the CIO (Chief Information Officer) either needs to be the in-house IT or the Managed Service Provider.
Review and complete this worksheet. What roles do you want to see in-house versus external? Does the MSP have recommendations based on this worksheet?
While simple, this worksheet will eliminate any finger pointing and headache down the road!
Other Considerations When Evaluating Co-Managed Providers
There are other considerations when evaluating potential providers. We’ll list a few here, but if you have any questions or would like to learn more about Co-Managed IT, please give us a call.
When a business solely depends on a Managed Service Provider, location becomes very important. In the case of an onsite issue, you need your MSP onsite right away. However, when you have internal IT, this requirement becomes a bit more lax.
When you can only evaluate providers in your immediate area, you’re at a disadvantage. Co-Managed allows you to evaluate providers around the state or even country!
Many of the tools outsourced IT teams use can be cost prohibitive for a smaller internal IT team. However, in a Co-Managed environment, they will often provide access to most or all these tools to your internal IT. This perk alone can pay dividends! Ask what tools/programs/productivity software comes with the Co-Managed IT relationship. You might be surprised by the additional value that comes with the agreement.
This may be lower on the priority list, but we always recommend visiting the provider. Go check out their office and meet their people. Try not to get stuck in the trap of only talking to the salesperson. Meet their team, see what their inner workings look like, and check out their office culture. This should be reserved for finalists of course but could help you make the final decision.
In Conclusion: Evaluate What you Need First, Then Reach Out
Choosing the right Co-Managed IT provider can be difficult, but it’s incredibly important. The right team can truly improve your business in many measurable ways.
We are experts at Co-Managed IT at ITS and would be happy to answer any questions about these types of partnerships.