Smiling business professional holding a notepad, standing in a modern office with colleagues discussing in the background. Managed Services Provider team meeting.

How to Get the Most From Your Managed Services Provider

More businesses than ever are turning to a managed services provider to handle their IT requirements. The many benefits include expert advice, partners who understand the nuances of emerging technologies, and access to the latest software and hardware. However, to get the most out of your managed services provider partnership, you must foster open communication and understand your business’s IT needs. Follow these tips to get the best return on your managed services provider investment.

Ensure a Managed Services Provider’s Offerings Align With Your Business Goals

Hiring a managed services provider (MSP) shouldn’t be about ticking a corporate box or keeping up with a competitor. You should only invest in external IT support that aligns with your business goals and vision. For instance, if your current priority is cost-cutting in all departments, then hiring a full-service IT team probably isn’t a great business decision. Justifying it to your finance team will be tricky and the return on investment may be low.

Having said that, there are plenty of ways an MSP can save your firm money and help you grow:

  • Reduce the risk of cyberattacks by monitoring systems for vulnerabilities
  • Create disaster mitigation and recovery plans
  • Provide comprehensive data backups
  • Provide equipment upgrades that promote energy efficiency and reduce waste
  • Digitize documents to save space and increase security
  • Improve business email services for enhanced communication
  • Offer hosted desktop solutions to allow employees to work from anywhere

Those are just a few of the ways MSPs provide financial benefits to Houston companies. If your business goals include digital transformation or improving internal security, your MSP could help you achieve those. Most MSPs will focus on helping you maximize efficiency while minimizing your costs.

Understand Your Requirements

Managed service providers will need you to tell them exactly what you need — which means you must gain a full understanding of those requirements. Work with other team members, particularly those who use your business software and hardware, to learn what needs to change. Perhaps you’re struggling with disparate databases and spreadsheets that cause data siloes. Maybe your energy bills are sky-high due to older printing appliances that simply aren’t energy efficient enough anymore.

Making a comprehensive list of your requirements can help you set up meaningful contracts with your managed services provider. You can also ask for a full list of the services they offer to check if there are needs you may not have realized you have. For example, you may be struggling with document storage and retrieval. An MSP that offers document management services could fix those issues and improve your overall efficiency.

It’s also worth considering how an MSP can help with long-term security and financial savings. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is lending record amounts of money to help deal with disasters such as cyberattacks. The right MSP can prevent and mitigate crises, reducing a business’s debt and overall expenditure.

Research Several Competitors

Once you’ve got a detailed list of your IT needs, you should do plenty of research to narrow down the MSPs that can provide those services. There are several resources you can use, from business service comparison sites to review sites such as Google and Trust Pilot. It’s worth seeking reviews from businesses within your own industry, to see if the MSP actually understands your niche.

Another great resource is YouTube, particularly video reviews that highlight specific services, platforms, or apps offered by the MSP. You can also contact a managed services provider directly and ask them why you should choose them over a competitor. Consider setting up a short, virtual meeting with each possible contender and comparing how they respond to your questions.

Consider Local Managed Service Providers

Another way businesses can gain access to knowledgeable service providers with relevant industry experience is by looking locally. A local managed services provider will have a unique insight into business challenges and obstacles in your area. They’re likely to have worked with other local businesses, so you can easily ask around your corner of Houston to get opinions on the MSP’s services.

A local team also has the advantage of being able to get to you quickly if needed. They may offer same-day on-site services for equipment emergencies and other urgent needs. There may even be the option to drop into their office to discuss your needs in person if that’s your preference.

Be Proactive About Contacting Your MSP and Providing Feedback

Once you have a partnership with an MSP, make sure you foster open and transparent communications with them. Set expectations about how you want to be contacted and ask how you can contact them in an emergency. It’s also important to find out how you can pass feedback on, whether you want to praise excellent service or raise an issue.

Once you understand these lines of communication, make sure you use them. If you come across obstacles but don’t let anyone know, your MSP doesn’t have the opportunity to attempt a fix. You may become frustrated and even lose business simply because you didn’t contact your MSP. Remember, you’re paying for a service so make sure you utilize it as much as you’re able to.

Let Your Managed Services Provider Know About Any New Devices

Another critical communication aspect is informing your MSP about new devices. One of the biggest challenges in cybersecurity is ensuring all networked appliances are sufficiently protected. If your CEO is using a new smartphone connected to your office network, it’s critical that you set up the appropriate security and access controls. Similarly, when you install new printers, these may need networking or connecting to security software.

Many managed services providers will help you source and install new equipment, taking the stress out of these processes. Talk to an MSP about printers, copiers, scanners, and multifunction systems that match your business needs.

Work With Stargel Office Solutions — Your Managed Services Provider in Houston

With the MSP market steadily growing all the time, choosing the right one for your business has never been more essential. Get in contact with a trusted managed services provider in Houston. Stargel has served over 6,000 clients since 1987, wowing partners with the corporate values of:

  • Honesty/Integrity
  • Customer First
  • Professionalism
  • Competitive
  • Passionate

We pride ourselves on going above and beyond client expectations, offering services ranging from managed print solutions to digital signage. Ask us about Star Managed Services, including assessment of infrastructure security and threats and cloud-based backup solutions.

Contact Stargel today, and let’s start a beneficial partnership for your business.