Information technology is complex – and it isn’t getting any simpler. Yet exploiting it to the full is essential for a business’s competitiveness. That’s why so many businesses outsource their IT needs. But how to choose a managed service provider?

It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. A managed service provider quickly becomes a vital business partner, delivering business-critical services and capabilities essential for the smooth and efficient operations of the business.

Once, businesses might have used different outsourcing partners for different pieces of their IT jigsaw. These days, they’re increasingly opting for end-to-end technology providers who can meet all their needs—making the question of how to choose the best even more important.

At Aspire, we’ve got the inside track when it comes to selecting a managed service provider.

Here are five critical considerations to think about when making your choice.

  1. How long have they been in business?

Your choice of managed service provider is important. The firm you pick is one that you are going to be relying on for the smooth delivery of vital services.

You’ll want them to have been around long enough to build up a decent amount of experience. And you certainly don’t want them going out of business and ceasing to trade: longevity demonstrates a certain resilience.

  1. What sort of response time can you expect?

When things go wrong, you don’t want to wait a long time for a resolution: you want to be able to report the problem quickly, and just as quickly have the staff engaged on providing a solution.

Obtain a written specified response time as part of the contract, and make sure to measure them against it.

  1. How happy are their customers?

Any managed service provider worth their salt won’t have any difficulty providing references—so ask for them. Make sure, too, that you ask for references that are comparable to your own circumstances, either in terms of industry, business size, or the breadth of IT services required.

When things go wrong, it’s too late to realise that there are plenty of other dissatisfied customers as well.

A good thing to check is their Net Promoter Score (NPS), a proven measure of customer experience. At Aspire we’re not ones to sing our own praises… but we do consistently achieve a NPS of 80+ (which is deemed no less than world class!).

  1. What exactly are you getting?

Within your selection, it’s important to establish exactly what the provider’s capabilities are. Do they provide all of their services themselves—or do they outsource some? And if everything is in-house, is staffing and resourcing geared to being able deal with peaks in demand, or are they already ‘running hot’?

Check too what proactive monitoring is in place to detect emerging problems in advance, before they impact your business. And if a 24/7 capability is important to you, probe exactly how that is delivered.

Customer portals can be very useful too, as a means of accessing relevant information, raising and tracking support tickets or quotes and monitoring performance. It’s worth noting that the level of service varies across providers, so it’s worth checking exactly what you’ll receive.

  1. Can their service provision expand as your needs grow?

Finally, when selecting a provider it’s important to make sure that they can meet all of your needs in the future, as well as now. It’s not just that technology changes quickly and it’s important to keep up to date, it’s also very much the case that businesses’ needs evolve over time: what you need in future might not be want you need now. So think ahead.

As a starter, these service offerings are all relatively commonplace—yet few managed service providers offer the full range:

  • IT ServiceDesk
  • Self-service Customer Portal
  • Remote Monitoring & Management
  • Cyber Security
  • Back‑up and Disaster Recovery
  • Communications including Connectivity and Voice
  • Consultancy to help with Digital Transformation projects
  • Public & Private Cloud Services
  • Infrastructure design, implementation and support
  • Data Centre Services
  • Service Delivery Management

Making the decision

At Aspire, we’ve been in business since 2006, and we’re one of the fastest-growing managed service providers and internet service providers in the UK. North-east based, we have a nationwide customer base.

I’m confident that our answers to all of the above questions will more than meet your selection criteria, So, when thinking about the best choice of technology partner for your business, feel free to reach out for a conversation.

We speak ‘business’, not technical jargon, and we’d love to hear from you.