The idea of switching to a new MSP can be daunting, but sometimes, that change is necessary and might be the best thing for your organization. There are several factors you should keep in mind when deciding if a switch is an ideal option. In this article, we will provide a framework to decide if you need to switch to a new MSP and what the transition will look like.
Identifying the issues
The first step in deciding if it is time to switch to a new MSP is going to identify the issues. Poor communication is a top issue, but there could be performance issues that provide a clear indicator that it’s time to switch. These are some of the other complaints we hear from Clients transitioning from another MSP:
- Absence of adaptability. Technology is always changing, and your organization isn’t stagnant, either. Your MSP needs to be versatile enough to meet the goals and needs of your organization.
- Disconnect on values. Your current MSP doesn’t seem to understand your business needs, and the IT “strategy” they offer doesn’t align with your goals. Perhaps your organization needs a more proactive posture, one that finds innovative ways to improve your technology instead of only focusing on issues when they occur.
- Failure to deliver. The Service Level Agreement outlines how your MSP will provide support for your IT. There are promises to respond to all issues, regardless of size. Lately, your calls to their support line go unanswered and you get that frustrating voicemail box. Support emails and tickets take days to get a response, and when you get a response, they are full of “fluff” and no actual resolution.
- You are an afterthought. Perhaps your MSP has other clients they prioritize, and they push your organization to the back burner. For the money you put towards their services, you know you aren’t getting the value you expect.
If any of those scenarios sound familiar, you’re at a critical crossroads. Instead of accepting mediocrity, it’s time to have a candid conversation with your MSP.
The start of the transition
Informing your current MSP that you are parting ways can be a tricky conversation. Regardless of your personal opinions, it is helpful to be as professional as possible when having a conversation. Check your contract to see what sort of notice is required to submit to your current MSP. The new MSP should be more than happy to advise on managing this conversation as your IT advocate. Your current MSP is most likely contractually obligated to work with the new provider and maintaining a professional atmosphere will encourage them to cooperate during the transition.
You know the nuances of the relationship with your current MSP; sharing these nuances with your new MSP will be valuable information. The goal of your new MSP is to ensure no details fall through the cracks. Set clear expectations on which MSP will handle day-to-day support needs until the transition is officially complete. With two providers operating in the same space, there must be flexibility and cooperation. We believe honesty and transparency during the transition yield positive results between all parties.
Hardware ownership is an important topic during service transition. Your current MSP should be able to provide a report, often within minutes, of what hardware they own. If you have questions, your new MSP can and should help drive communication to get your answers, so your current MSP does not leave with equipment you paid for.
Your new MSP will provide you with a checklist of basic information needed before the transition begins. These checklists include domain passwords, staff directory lists, and a high-level summary of business-critical applications and software your company uses. In most cases, your new MSP can obtain most information once with domain-level credentials. There will always be a period of discovery, regardless of how extensive the documentation provided is. This discovery period can take several weeks to document, digest, and study to provide that next-level support. The new MSP should strive to resolve as many outstanding questions as possible before the transition period comes to a close.
Maintaining consistent and clear communication during a transition is a top priority for successful onboarding. Effective service providers treat onboarding as a project initiative. Your organization will be assigned an onboarding team. At Anteris, our teams come with a defined point of contact, a role like that of a Project Manager, who will funnel all communication to stakeholders.
The attitude and actions of the MSP you are disengaging from is an unknown variable for transitions. You may experience problems, like old software not being removed from the network or the old MSP will react slowly to relinquish control of your systems. Those instances are rare, however, and most MSPs will behave professionally.
Your organization should be briefed on any inconveniences that can arise during a transition. A handful of situations can cause downtime. For example, some MSPs issue their own hardware, such as a firewall. If an MSP insists on removing a firewall during the transition, a new hardware will need to be installed. For your organization, this may cause an hour of no internet service, which may affect your ability to do business.
We should avoid downtime at all costs, but in the rare case it is necessary, we will coordinate the downtime for a time that is most convenient for you. Interaction with your staff is another important facet of transition. Effective MSPs will work with your team during the transition and teach them how to interact with their new tech managers.
We also want to take a moment to speak about security credentials. After the transition is complete, your new provider must change security credentials. This prevents the departing MSP from retaining access to your IT environment. Ask your new MSP if they put active monitoring in place so they can detect and counter suspicious activity.
After the transition
IT systems and environments are complex, regardless of organization size. Effective MSPs have a standard onboarding procedure with checklists and outlines of everything the MSP wants to know about your IT environment. The checklist should be completed with speed and thoroughness. After completion, the new MSP will build on the knowledge they have gained. A decent MSP may gather a list of all software your company uses. But an excellent MSP will document this same list of software but go further to gather additional details such as the software support contact information, the software licensing information, and note why each software is important for your organization.
It could require just a few days to know enough about your environment. Your new MSP has a role in continuously learning and developing next-level documentation to support your systems—not just adequately, but beyond your expectations. Depth of familiarity may take months to achieve, but it is worthwhile. When seeking a new MSP, this continuous learning mentality is critical. You do not want an MSP that becomes lazy when tasked with understanding your environment. Technology is always evolving, and you want an MSP that is at the top of the pack keeping pace.
How Anteris can help
Anteris is a forward-thinking MSP, and we know the onboarding experience is only the beginning. As documentation and understanding of your business develops, we can propose a strategic plan. In our experience, MSPs that lack a strategic mindset cannot see beyond the transition. Technology is not a one-and-done installment: rather, IT efforts require intentional planning surrounding business needs, budgeting, and understanding how these decisions affect a return on investments. Our strategic approach covets a spot at the table for each of your executive planning meetings, so we best advocate for leveraging technology to meet organizational goals. We treat your goals as our own.
There are three basic parts of a transition to Anteris:
- A dedicated transition team committed to a smooth and rapid transition process. A Transition Manager runs the team, a responsive point of contact who will keep you updated based on your preferred frequency of communication.
- A template process that accounts for the big picture and the minor details that make up your IT framework.
- And a robust document that catalogs all the features of your IT framework, including details such as the software support contact information, the software licensing information, and notes why each software is important for your organization.
Anteris has a goal to simplify the transition process for new Clients. Learn more about closing out a contract with your current MSP. Need help thinking about your IT needs? Consider spending an afternoon brainstorming with your senior leadership team. If you’re ready to seek a new MSP, check out this article on the key things to know about working with Anteris.