Imagine your business or organization has a fully staffed internal IT department. What expectations would you set for them? Odds are, speedy resolve to everyday IT issues that occur throughout your company would top your list of expectations. But you’d also probably expect your IT team to proactively prevent issues from occurring in the first place, instead of just reacting to them when they do.
An internal IT department’s primary responsibility is to make your whole operation run more efficiently. So that means consistently making sure that your company’s systems are up to date, secure, and efficient.
Affinity believes that you should expect the same thing from your outsourced IT provider (sometimes called a ‘Managed Services Provider’ or MSP). But how can you tell if your provider is truly proactive or just telling you want you want to hear? Here are 4 questions to ask.
1. Is your agreement structured to incentivize proactive maintenance?
MSPs who offer truly proactive service usually offer managed services agreements to their clients – agreements that provide both proactive maintenance and unlimited support for a flat monthly fee. This arrangement brings your interests—fewer IT issues and, as a result, greater productivity for your staff—in line with the provider’s, incentivizing them to think like an internal IT team. Think about it: if your provider agrees to offer you unlimited support, it is in their best interest to make sure there are as few support issues as possible!
2. Does the provider use a set of standards to assess your systems?
Some MSPs claim to provide proactive maintenance—and they may even do it from time to time—but don’t have a set of standards they use to measure your systems’ health. They either go by a systems administrator’s best guess, or perform maintenance haphazardly. Standardizing allows MSPs to take a proven approach to ensuring that systems run efficiently and that preventable issues stop occurring in your environment.
3. Does your provider assess your systems regularly?
From servers to printers, systems generally work well right after they are first installed, particularly if they were installed by a competent professional. But as time goes on and changes are made—often unwittingly by users who just want to complete their everyday tasks—issues start to crop up, affecting your productivity. That’s why proactive maintenance is a job that is never complete. The best MSPs have systems administrators who assess systems on a regular basis, making sure that things are configured in a way that safeguards productivity and efficiency.
4. Are recommendations backed up with documented findings?
Most MSPs will recommend improvement projects for your systems. But only truly proactive MSPs support those recommendations with documented findings made during proactive maintenance visits. If systems administrators are systematically assessing your systems on a regular basis, and documenting their findings, then you are in the best possible shape for identifying high-impact improvements that can go a long way toward improving your technology ROI and helping you grow your business.
Interested in discussing what a truly proactive approach to your business’s IT would look like? Contact us today.