1 activeStep 2 - Look to the FutureStep 3 - Map out the required IT servicesStep 4 - Build the Request for ProposalStep 5 - Find a suitable list of IT Support providersStep 6 - Collate, compare and questionStep 7 - Request modifications to proposalsStep 8 - Final review of proposalsStep 9 - Review contract and award10

Step 1 - Consider Resolving Issues with Your IT Support Provider

This should be the starting point whenever you have issues with your Managed Services Provider (MSP) - there's no point making a change when your issues are easily fixed.

Identify and Discuss the Issues

It's good to start with mapping out the issues, and then work through whether those issues are:

1.    Perceived vs real
2.    A symptom of using a shared service provider (i.e. you’ll have the same issue somewhere else)
3.    Fixable

Once you have a valid list of issues, it’s time to see what can be done about them - there could be issues with cost, SLAs being missed, or unprofessional communications. In either case, it’s time to sit down with the MSP and work through the issues to get their side of the story, and see where you agree and disagree. The output from this process will basically be whether your MSP sees the issues as valid, and if they care enough to do something about them!

Now you’ve got one of two scenarios:

1. They do care

If the MSP thinks your issues are valid and they’re ready to play ball and pick up their game, that’s great news! Work together to fix things up, build a stronger relationship, and keep that strong relationship. I always think it’s a great idea to implement some regular (e.g. quarterly) review meetings, and have the issues that were initially identified on the agenda as discussion items (along with other higher level strategic issues). In that way you’re keeping on top of them and hopefully making sure they don’t return.

2. They don't care enough, or at all

Not so good, but never mind - there are plenty of options out there! The biggest issue you will have now is risk. You’ve told your MSP that there are issues with the service they provide you, they’re not prepared to do enough about it, so you have to change MSP and they’re going to lose business. Like most companies, MSPs are professional and will hopefully work though a logical separation process, but you really want to keep them onside as much as possible! Be honest with them, tell them you're going to go out to test the market and see if there are any 'better fit' providers out there.

It's a good time to be pulling together all your login credentials if you don't already have them (and a lot of companies don't) - best not to leave this to the end, and find out you've got a ton of things you don't know how to log into (e.g. websites for subscriptions, licensing etc). This is a project in itself, so make sure that for every single thing you need a login for you have the username, password, link, and notes if relevant. Remember - once you leave your MSP, the cooperation factor declines rapidly! Grab a free encrypted password register like Keypass if you don't already have one, and get everything in there ready for separation, and test every single login!

The Next Step: Look to the Future...

 

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