Top Qualities of the Best Managed IT Service Providers [Updated 2023]
Editor's note: This post was originally published on July 15, 2020 and has been revised for clarity and comprehensiveness.
Technology has become an indispensable part of modern-day businesses. That’s why more and more organizations face increasing pressure to keep up with the latest advancements in information technology (IT).
But with limited resources and expertise, it can be challenging for many to manage their IT needs in-house.
As a result, many companies are turning to managed IT service providers (MSPs) for support.
If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely one of them. It’s a good thing that you realize this need on your own, but because MSPs have diverse service offerings, selecting the one that best fits your business can be challenging.
At Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS), we understand how critical finding the right IT partner is to your success. We are committed to providing you with the expertise, support, and suitable solutions you will need to achieve your business goals.
In this article, we’ll go over the top seven qualities to look for in an MSP, namely:
- Technical expertise
- Industry expertise
- Leverages advanced technologies and processes
- Flexibility and scalability
Looking for these qualities can help significantly narrow down your choices.
1. Technical expertise
Fundamentally, an IT team is responsible for two things:
- Taking a strategic view of a business’s IT environment
- Aligning technology-based solutions with goals and opportunity development
An MSP with substantial technical expertise can fulfill this role for you.
They can take the strenuous task of managing your IT infrastructure from your hands, and their certified technicians can impart advanced or specialized knowledge to your in-house IT team if you have any.
Partnering with an MSP is the easiest way to improve your team’s security, networking, and communication capabilities without burning a hole in your pocket.
2. Industry expertise
If an MSP has a deep understanding of your niche, they are better equipped to implement strategic IT solutions that would meet your industry’s unique operational and user expectations.
Many MSPs, like ITS, are industry-agnostic. They often don't serve a single line of business—instead, they have acquired the necessary experience and expertise to cater to several industries. To find out if your potential MSPs can meet your needs, here are the steps you can take:
- Examine their past and current clients in your particular industry.
- Read reviews and testimonials.
- Look up past projects and see how well they were implemented.
- Find out if they have effectively handled an environment similar to yours.
Getting to know an MSP’s processes will also give you a good estimate of their capabilities.
3. Leverages advanced technologies and processes
A great MSP keeps abreast of emerging techniques and technologies, enabling them to offer sophisticated solutions to help your business cut down on manual tasks. And you won’t have to worry about decoding all the technical jargon - an MSP will ensure complex solutions are easy to understand.
Because of this, your business not only gets to implement the latest tools and processes quickly, but you also won't have to spend a lot of money to acquire these. MSPs are the ideal partners for companies seeking to grow their business while saving on costs across the board.
4. Flexibility and scalability
All businesses are different, and a good MSP will take the time to understand your unique requirements, challenges, and needs rather than offer a cookie-cutter approach. Similarly, their services must suit you, from data plans and telephony options to business applications and hardware.
Don't be duped by a long list of inclusions; you could end up paying for a dozen services you don't need.
What’s more, you should be able to select the type and level of service you want from your MSP—whether you require consultation services or fully hosted solutions with 24/7 support. And, as your requirements change, your MSP must also be able to scale up or down, providing you with all the services and support you need, when you need them.
Related reading: Types of Managed Services and How Can They Help Your Business?
To make the best decisions for your business and clients, you must see the entire picture, both internally and externally. And that includes having complete visibility into your IT environment.
You should know at a glance what your MSP has done, is doing, and will do to your infrastructure. This encourages openness and accountability and is critical to data security, as well as long-term IT planning.
Any MSP you partner with must be transparent with their culture, approaches, processes, and tools, as this helps ensure better visibility and streamlined collaboration.
A good MSP makes IT management invisible. Rather than reacting to issues as they occur, a reliable MSP will do all it can to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
For instance, they must monitor and detect network bottlenecks long before users experience difficulty connecting to your network. And if your systems slow down, your MSP must know how to bring them back up swiftly. Additionally, they should let you know of any issues that arise before they significantly impact your users.
Receiving proactive support from an MSP is vital to success not simply because this prevents technical issues from escalating, but because it helps your business keep systems secure and maintain a competitive advantage.
A proactive MSP will help you make the most of the latest technologies and continuously find new opportunities for improvement, optimization, and innovation.
Likewise, a good MSP actively communicates with its clients. They take the time to engage with their customers, regularly touching base as well as providing and seeking feedback.
By celebrating a client’s successes and reassuring them when something doesn’t go as planned, an MSP effectively demonstrates their commitment to a business.
The ability to respond to and resolve issues quickly is perhaps the most desirable quality of an MSP.
The best MSPs provide round-the-clock support and monitoring services through a team of on-call technicians who can deal with tech-related emergencies remotely. But a reliable MSP also delivers prompt on-site servicing when necessary.
Many MSPs implement automated support solutions, such as a help center, chatbot, or other artificial intelligence, which enables them to always be available for clients.
However, just because technology can replace a human worker doesn’t mean people are always going to want that. While many like the convenience of automated support, many still prefer good old-fashioned phone calls when they need assistance. That is why we still answer our phones live at ITS.
Should you partner with a managed IT services provider?
It may sound contradictory, but having your own staff manage every aspect of your IT infrastructure can prevent them from focusing on tasks that more directly contribute to your bottom line.
Augmenting your IT team by hiring an MSP will allow your team to zero in on increasing your business’s efficiency, productivity, and innovation. What’s more, the right MSP can be there for you in the long haul, enabling your business to reach greater heights.
ITS can help you leverage the benefits of current and emerging IT solutions and ensure that your company prospers. Call us today for a FREE technology assessment, or read through the following additional resources:
- eBook: 5 Big Ways IT Outsourcing Can Boost Your Company Productivity
- eBook: 20 Questions You Should Ask an IT Support Company Before Hiring Them
- Ultimate Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Managed IT