Once you choose a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for IT, you might think that all of your worries are behind you. There are times, however, when switching to a new MSP is the best decision. Whether the partnership has only existed for a short time or for several years, you may have found yourself at the point where your MSP isn’t providing the greatest value.
In our twenty years in the industry, we have seen plenty of reasons that frustration grows between Clients and their MSP. And the good news is that you aren’t stuck. The biggest challenge is to determine when and how to change. In this article, we will discuss how to specify your dissatisfaction with your current MSP, how to start a conversation with them, and, if necessary, facilitate a transition to a new MSP.
Identifying the issues
The first step in deciding if it is time to switch to a new MSP is identifying the issues. Some issues may result from miscommunication, while others are going to be a clear indicator that it’s time to switch. These are some of the top issues we’ve heard from Clients coming from another managed IT services provider:
- Absence of adaptability. Technology is always changing, and your organization isn’t stagnant, either. Your managed services provider needs to be versatile enough to meet the goals and needs of your organization.
- Disconnect on values. Your current IT provider 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 hard conversation
After determining the issues you are having with your current MSP, it’s time to communicate what you’ve found. Be honest: do not be shy about holding them accountable for what they agreed to regarding supporting your IT environment. Regardless of the issue, whether you are experiencing a breakdown in communication, or the MSP is simply ill-suited for your organization, the goal is to develop a path forward.
During the conversation, ask that they provide reports on their response times (SLAs) to your support requests. These reports provide concrete examples of how your needs are unfulfilled. An effective MSP will acknowledge your concerns, identify ways to improve, and create a roadmap for rapid improvement.
Let’s assume you agree with the plan, and you see a temporary improvement in performance. Response times to support requests improve, downtime for servers and critical systems decreases, and you believe you have a partner working with you instead of against you. You must stay aggressive with your expectations. The MSP may improve its self-accountability, but you need to let your IT partner know you are paying attention to their work and have expectations they must meet.
See how long this season of improvement lasts. Below-average MSPs cannot maintain this posture for a long period. Those below-average MSPs will fall back into their underperforming ways. Even if you give them a second chance, if you are already at this point, it is unlikely that your MSP will turn things around.
Making the switch
After the hard conversation, if you determine your MSP is no longer a good fit for your organization, it is time to search for the right MSP for your organization. There are several factors to look for in a new provider, such as:
- Company reputation and experience. What kind of reputation do your candidates have in the IT industry and with specific work in your industry?
- Company core values. The core values articulated by candidates should resonate with your organization’s core values.
- Communication processes. Candidate MSPs should be able to communicate in your preferred method—email, phone, etc.—and your preferred cadence.
- Strategic partnerships and vendor management. Can candidate MSPs manage relationships with vendors, such as your cloud provider? Can they understand and respect your cross-industry partnerships?
- Transition process. Do your candidate MSPs have experience taking over services for another MSP? Are there specific protocols or onboarding teams you can work with?
If you need more information on what to look for in an effective MSP, check out our ultimate guide to managed services.
After completing the interview process and selecting your MSP, it’s time to begin the transition. Most of the time, the transition will be civil and professional. Occasionally, feelings will come into the equation, so it is important to keep the following in mind during the onboarding process:
- Be fully engaged. Staying involved with the onboarding process reinforces your high expectations with the new MSP.
- Set clear and agreed to expectations. Your new MSP should be honest about how long the transition will take, and inform you promptly if those estimates need to be altered. If clear, honest communication is at the foundation of the relationship, it is easier to understand and adapt to changes.
- Effective communications to staff. Let your staff know about the changes and potential disruptions.
- Schedule ongoing touchpoints. Regular check-ins are a good way to stay engaged and make decisions when necessary.
- Be patient. Transitions can face unforeseen obstacles. A major system vulnerability may be discovered and needs to be resolved. A server that is set up improperly may fail. Your new MSP should effectively identify these issues and make overall improvements to your IT infrastructure.
When switching to a new MSP, minimizing risk should always be the greatest priority. This requires careful planning from both your organization and the new provider. Your new MSP should perform a detailed review to make sure they can achieve your organization’s goals. They will assess areas such as existing processes and procedures, current program functionality, and current technology. Your new MSP should also work to identify threats and develop migration plans specific to your organization and industry.
How Anteris can help
Dealing with an underperforming partner can be challenging and stressful. A beneficial outcome of the process is starting the transition to a next-level MSP who truly understands your organization. As companies look to gain an advantage over their competitors, organizations are electing to replace their MSP with only that aligns with their desired business objectives. That is where Anteris can help. As a strategic IT partner, we understand the importance of working with our Clients to achieve their goals.
Anteris is here to help walk you through the transition process. Our simplified, thorough onboarding approach provides an understanding of your IT environment—something critical for a successful and thriving partnership. We will work with you to navigate the transition from your original MSP.
Don’t just take our word for it, check out the testimonies of our client who made the switch to our elevated Client experience. Schedule a meeting to find out how Anteris can make switching managed IT services providers freeing, not frustrating.