If you’re reading this, you most likely decided your organization needs to outsource tech management. You researched the type of managed IT services provider (MSP) that will be best for your business and you’re ready to start working with your new MSP. Even if you haven’t pulled the trigger yet, you are probably curious about what the MSP onboarding process looks like.
The onboarding process is crucial and will set the foundation for success between the MSP and the Client. While every onboarding process will look a bit different, there are some common steps most MSPs follow. This article explains the steps before, during, and after the onboarding process.
Step 1: Information Gathering
Strategy-oriented MSPs often begin by understanding your business needs and determining the best way to address them with available services.
Before the onboarding process can truly begin, your new MSP will likely ask you for basic information, providing you with a checklist of information they will need. Often, these checklists include domain passwords, staff directory lists, and a high-level summary of the business-critical applications and software your company uses. These checklists will also ask for any other processes that are important for your business to succeed.
In most cases, if your new MSP can obtain domain-level credentials, their team can gather most information on your IT environment themselves. For what cannot be independently gathered, your new partner will come prepared with questions to address. There will also be a period of discovery, where your new MSP will work to properly document, digest, and study in order to provide next-level support.
If you previously worked with an MSP and are transitioning to a new MSP, your new MSP may ask questions of your previous provider in order to make a smooth transition. Verify if the contract with your previous MSP obligates them to provide information during and after a transition. Often, your new provider can advocate for you and will seek to gather as much information as possible. They’re the experts, so they know what to ask.
If you previously worked with an MSP, they may own some of the hardware your organization is using. They should be able to provide a report of the hardware they own. Your new MSP can drive the communication to get you the answers you need and ensure that your previous MSP doesn’t leave with equipment you paid for.
Step 2: The Transition
Once critical information has been gathered, the actual transition begins. Reputable MSPs maintain clear and consistent communication during a transition. Before starting, it is important to outline the level and preferred method of communication you want during the transition. Typically, onboardings are treated as project initiatives, and your company will be assigned an onboarding team.
At Anteris, our teams come with a defined point of contact, a role similar to that of a Project Manager, who will funnel all communication to appropriate stakeholders. Our seasoned communications captains are prepared to make your life easier during the transition and understand that they can be called upon 24/7 to give you the answers you need.
While the goal is to have as little interruption to usual business as possible, onboarding with an MSP can occasionally cause disruptions. A handful of situations can result in downtime for a business. For example, your former MSP may have issued their own hardware such as a firewall. If they insist on removing the firewall during the transition, this requires a temporary window where the removal and installation of the new firewall occurs and may result in an hour of no internet access.
Downtime should be avoided at all costs, but in the rare case it is necessary, Anteris will coordinate the downtime for a time that is most convenient for you. Usually, the biggest disruption during onboarding will be seen among the staff as they learn how to interact with the new support. To mitigate this, Anteris will assist you in training your staff to use our systems to make the process as simple as possible.
Step 3: Continuous Support
After onboarding has occurred, true support and growth can occur.
With a Strategy-oriented MSP, the onboarding process is only the beginning. The onboarding process is simply where your new MSP will get to know as much about your business and IT environments as possible. Then, the work begins. As documentation and understanding of your business develop, a strategic plan can put that in place. Detailed documentation and an understanding of your business enable the cultivation of a strategic plan.
Technology is not a one-and-done installment. Rather, IT efforts require intentional planning surrounding business needs and budgeting, which in turn impacts ROI and business continuity. A strategic approach covets a spot at the table for each of your executive planning meetings, so your MSP may understand and advocate for how technology can be leveraged to meet your business goals.
Navigating onboarding with a remote or hybrid workforce
With the changes over the past two years, it is not uncommon for many workforces to be working in a hybrid or a fully remote capacity. Adaptation within IT is the name of the game.
Anteris is not afraid of change. There are many options available to remotely onboard. A simple internet connection to a remote employee’s computer is all we need to install essential software during onboarding. We use video telecommunication to achieve that personal connection we believe is vital as partnerships develop between our team and yours. Organizations still need to function and make a profit, and a top-tier MSP will be able to provide a flexible game-plan to achieve successful onboarding during these demanding (and strange) times.
Depending on how each office and employee is connected, there may be automated approaches to help streamline the process. Either way, we will develop a strategic approach to onboard all employees efficiently and keep communication and coordination with your team at the forefront.
How Anteris can help
IT systems and environments are complex, no matter the organization's size. That said, Anteris has dialed in the onboarding procedure complete with an extensive checklist that outlines everything we want to know about your environment. The challenge is how quickly and thoroughly we can complete that checklist. We will translate the information gathered from this checklist and allow it to drive efficient and meaningful support of your systems.
Remember: any decent MSP may gather a list of all software your company uses. But an excellent MSP will document this same list of software, and go further by gathering additional details such as the software support contact information, the software licensing information, and note why each particular software is important for your business.
With this in mind, it will require a few days to know enough about your environment to complete the onboarding process. But, like we mentioned earlier, it is after the onboarding that the real work begins. Anteris understands that we must continuously develop that next-level documentation to support your systems—not just adequately, but beyond your expectations. That depth of familiarity may take months to achieve, but it is worth it.
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.
Our primary goal during onboarding is to get a solid understanding of your IT environment so we can fully support you. Complementary to our primary goal, we seek to keep communication with all parties in the spotlight, so nothing is missed.
We want to avoid inconveniencing your staff as we intake their computers into our system, so we are flexible with how we make that happen. Effective onboarding is the beginning of a strong relationship built on trust. Schedule a meeting to find out how easy it is to onboard with Anteris and find out how we make technology freeing, not frustrating.