Step 1 - Consider resolving issues with your IT Support providerStep 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 3 - Map Out the Required IT Services

Now it’s time to get into solution mode, and work out what IT services you want potential MSPs to actually quote on. At this stage it’s best to just focus on the tech (i.e. hardware, software and services) to be supported, and really there are two parts to this:

  1. The new stuff (which will be an outcome of the IT initiatives you’ve identified in Step 2)
  2. The tech that’s left over


The New Stuff

You’ve got some new ideas as to how IT can support your business going forward, and you can either translate that into an actual solution now, or let the MSPs come back to you with solutions later when they quote. Looking at that in a bit more detail:

  • Option 1 - Engage a few MSPs for ideas on the solutions they’d provide regarding your IT initiatives. If they come back with the same solution, then that’s probably your solution! If they’re coming back with different ideas, then you might need to do some more digging around re the pros and cons of each option, including ROI, and perhaps get some demos. Remember, the more specific you are on the required solution, the easier it is to compare offerings from MSPs.
  • Option 2 – Don’t worry about specifics now – just wait to see what the MSPs come back with as a solution later when they quote. It will mean though that you’ve got to compare the different offerings later on, and that makes it a more complex decision.

The Tech That’s Left Over

Have a think about what tech will be replaced by the new stuff, and don’t include those as items to be supported. Then map out everything else that needs to be supported by the new MSP. For example, that would be things like Internet connectivity, WAN links, cabling infrastructure, wi-fi, backups and restores, databases, printers, desktops, laptops, networking devices, security devices, phone systems etc. Map out types and numbers for devices, operating systems, hardware, contracts, staff, data stores, and how you want it all supported.

If you’re don’t manage to find everything, you’ll find that the quote does not represent the actual contract price the MSP comes back with. That’s because the selected MSP will go through a discovery phase to understand your setup in detail, and find extra components that need to be supported. Then you need to make the decision about whether you go back out to market to compare the pricing for other MSPs.

The Next Step: Build the Request for Proposal...

 

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