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With more businesses relying on ever more complex technology to assist with or fulfil daily tasks, businesses are turning to managed IT service providers to navigate technology and use it to its fullest. To enjoy the full advantages managed IT services can offer, it’s vital that businesses develop effective relationships with their provider. We’re going to explore the importance of building a successful partnership with your managed IT service provider and share our tips to help you get the most out of their services.
Businesses seeking to outsource the management of their IT should be aware that the process is less about handing off the responsibility of their IT infrastructure entirely and more about forging a working relationship between the business and the service provider, so both sides can work in unison to achieve the desired results.
Professionals can spend a considerable amount of time trying to solve IT-related issues when things go wrong, or have their productivity reduced by inefficient IT processes, like poor calendar scheduling, slow-running programs and confusing dashboards. However, offloading the management of a business’s IT to a managed IT services provider means they are responsible for tackling issues when they arise, as well as working to find more efficient, more user-friendly systems for a team to thrive with. In order for this partnership to work effectively, clear, comprehensive communication is key between both the customer and the managed IT provider. Additionally, effective communication between both sides ensures clear communication of needs or issues, saving time and effort in eliminating any IT speedbumps a business encounters. Whereas poor communication, in which the business didn’t clearly define the issues it was facing, would result in the managed IT services provider struggling to identify exact issues in good time, costing the business money and potentially productivity.
For businesses to gain the most beneficial experience from their managed IT services, they should partner with a services provider that is knowledgeable in their industry, empathetic to their goals and has the relevant experience that proves their ability to deliver an impressive, consistent and hands-on approach to IT management. Service providers that also have experience working in a specific industry should help, as they will be better able to solve issues and come up with relevant solutions quickly, thanks to their previous work. They should also have a keen focus on where a business wants to grow, not just offering the services they need to fulfil the goals they have at present.
Communication is key in all business partnerships, but especially when technical issues arise. Regular collaboration and communication with a managed IT service provider is essential if a business hopes to uphold a beneficial level of service. They can speak regularly, to address ongoing IT needs, any technical faults that have occurred, and provide feedback on where IT infrastructure could be expanded in the future. Setting up a weekly meeting outside of any individual technical issues that need to be reported is a smart move. Then, if things are going well, this could be reduced to once every two weeks, or even less, depending on business managers’ availability and the needs they have to outline. This ensures both parties are kept well aware of the condition of a business’s IT setup at all times, so the services provider can act promptly and with a good level of knowledge.
Before outsourcing IT management to an external provider, businesses can discuss with them their specific objectives, so the provider uses their knowledge and skills to help the business reach its goals. For instance, if one objective is to boost overall productivity by 10 per cent and productivity is being lost as a result of slow or inefficient IT processes, a business can inform its provider of this so they can take the appropriate action and help meet this target. Businesses can also clearly outline the service level agreement, to ensure they will receive the service offerings they require and expect when they begin. A good example is whether or not they are expecting assistance with elements of IT infrastructure like cybersecurity or file management – needs should be outlined clearly and concisely before striking a deal, so there’s no need to redefine the deal later, which could cost time and energy.
Setting expectations and goals in advance is also a good way of monitoring the performance of a managed IT service provider over time, and offering performance reviews. Without set goals and benchmarks, it can be difficult to accurately convey dissatisfaction with a service. Outlining goals from the beginning, ensures the provider has clear visibility on what is expected from them and businesses can monitor the success of the provider’s service.. If, for example, a business onboards a managed IT service provider to assist with security, yet continues to face data breaches – and this point is discussed well ahead of time as an area for improvement – businesses can discuss this with their managed security services provider during a performance review, enquire as to why things have not improved, and develop a plan to make sure the issue is resolved moving forward. Alternatively, if a business is dissatisfied with the service it has been offered and doesn’t see any improvement, it can always look elsewhere and consult another managed IT service provider.
IT infrastructure is the backbone of a business and, with so much at stake, it is essential for the relationship with a managed services provider to be based on trust. This includes allowing the provider to use their experience and expertise to solve complex problems, without businesses needing to get involved too much on a technical level. Otherwise, businesses may cost themselves time by interfering and not allowing the provider to complete their important work from their side. Putting trust in the provider’s skillset will help businesses to enjoy greater benefits.
At Elite Group, we work with a wide range of businesses in an array of different sectors, helping them to make the most of their IT and technology. We work closely with you, to better understand your current setup, your goals, and ambitions, so we can offer a managed services model that excels your IT expectations as you continue to grow. To find out more about managed IT services from Elite Group, click here, or get in touch to speak with one of our IT specialists today.