responsiveness. Unlike other vendors you work with, responsiveness from your Managed Service Team can literally mean life or death to your bottom line. I don’t need to paint the terrifying reality of waiting forty-eight hours after a system crash to hear from your support team. In today’s world, having a two-hour emergency response protocol is vital to your success AND your peace of mind. After all, the days of pulling out a manila folder and having a history of documents, ideas slots and client notes are nothing but a distant memory.
In fact, the back-up system has become both our life jacket and our pulse, beating silently underneath our day-to-day activities and keeping track of everything from emails to million-dollar contracts. So once you have that great, responsive Managed Service Team in place, having them do an in-depth analysis of your back-up system becomes your number-one priority. Remember, your best choices may not be the most obvious to you, as a client. So a knowledgeable, vibrant and certified team become very important in the IT world. For instance, has your current provider set you up with a cost effective virtual disaster recovery service yet? How about remote off-site backups? After all, the old “back-up tape” may keep you safe from a power surge or a virus, but what about a flood?
And if you have not been set up with an off-site system, what ELSE are you NOT doing? The right Managed Service Team will provide some serious insights – like industry-specific software to increase your efficiency and operational uptime, for instance.
Immediately after your new team comes on board, they should analyze your infrastructure, systems security and put a program into place (if you don’t have one already) to manage and maintain all the technology equipment. That means that they should perform a detailed review of your existing IT environment. This should include, but not be limited to, documentation of all servers, desktops and associated peripherals in all of your offices, at all locations. Once that review is in place, ask for a documented outline of the necessary steps (and an estimate of what will required) to elevate your existing technology infrastructure to a complete managed service program. This is definitely an investment in your success and a safety net against failure.
The final piece to your IT puzzle is niche and cost. Make sure, if you are a small business, that the Managed Services firm you hire specializes in small businesses – and preferably has other clients within your industry. This will save you from having to give endless explanations about who you are and what you do. Be sure that you are comfortable with the people on our team, and that you feel they have an understanding of your goals and environment. It is vital to your Managed Service Team’s effectiveness that they understand you and your business needs – that you are NOT just a number.
Finally, be sure that your team is certified in all areas that conform to your business and industry and that it maintains its edge by constantly assessing emerging technologies. The bottom line is that a great Managed Service Team should be made up of individuals who help you overcome obstacles, meet deadlines, communicate easily, and do not accept anything less than perfection from themselves. Take your time and choose wisely – THIS vendor, unlike all others, is a partner in your success, and they should provide not only the basics, but some pretty strong input on how to make your internal operations a profitable part of your business.