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Switching Managed IT Service Providers: It’s Time

Nick Cavalancia

This is the last blog of an eight-part series intended to help small and midsize organizations understand what they should expect from their Managed IT Service Provider (MSP), recognize signs that it may be time to switch, and identify what they should look for in their next MSP.

If you’re reading this, it’s a good bet that you’re unhappy with your current IT support. There are a wide range of possible reasons, and in this series, we covered common 6 MSP issues:

  1. They are delivering poor responsiveness and execution
  2. Their service offerings aren’t properly tailored to your needs
  3. They lack the depth and breadth of skills you need
  4. You don’t trust them to get the job done
  5. They lack vision and strategy
  6. You’re not getting enough value from your investment

It may be that you’re just not happy with the service provided. It can be for one of the reasons above, or something specific to your current situation.  No matter the reason, you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time.

So, where do you go from here?

Sure, you can just pick another MSP, but then you may end up back in this very same situation.  Or you can learn from your current MSP experience and take steps to ensure whatever issues you’re having now aren’t repeated. I’d like to offer the following steps to help you identify a potential new MSP that comes without the same issues as the last one:

  1. Identify What Your Current MSP Is Missing – if you haven’t read through the introduction to this 6 blog series defining possible reasons why you might want to switch MSPs, start there. It’s important for you to pinpoint the issues you are having with your current MSP to avoid them with your next one. Even if you already know you want a new MSP, read through the 6 blogs listed above to ensure you have a comprehensive view of where your current MSP is falling down.
  2. Become a Smart Consumer – Choosing an MSP is probably not something you do often.  Just like you would research a car before making a purchase, you should learn how to evaluate MSPs.  Here’s an MSP Buyer’s Guide that will help you become a smart buyer.
  3. Have a Plan to Avoid the Same Kind of MSP – Part of your plan should include doing diligence on the potential MSPs. Start with their website. It should be a leading indicator of how the MSP sees their relationship with their customers. If it’s just a list of technical services, you’re just a number. MSPs who have spent time to make sure their website explains their values, their services, and what you should expect from an MSP see the value of the MSP relationship and are looking to invest in your business’ success.
  4. Shortlist – if you see anything that looks like a red flag – pass – you won’t regret having high standards and being choosy. Come up with a list of 3-5 MSPs that seem to be compatible with your specific needs.  Even if you have a relatively simple environment, you want to choose an MSP that that will partner with you to achieve your business goals.
  5. Ask Lots of Questions – You want your next MSP to become your trusted IT ally.  While on the surface, MSPs can sound very similar.  But in reality they differ greatly in what they include in their services, the sophistication of their IT management tools, their level of automation, the depth and breadth of their skill set, and their responsiveness. Making the right decision requires you to ask questions that address your concerns.  Each of the blogs in this series offers up suggested questions relevant to switching MSPs. Use them to help get under the surface and gain true insight.
  6. Listen – Every MSP will tell you about why their business is the best.  Give them some time to tell you about themselves but do so with a scrutinizing ear.  Listen for anything that gives you an idea of how they approach solving customer problems, how they invest in your success, is it about them or you, etc. 
  7. Validate – One of the best ways to truly gain insight into an MSP is to listen to what customers and the industry are saying.  Speak to multiple customer references and ask them about responsiveness, customer experience, technical expertise and value.  Also, research what the industry is saying about the MSP, the awards they have won, and what they are known for.

While switching Managed IT Service Providers may not be the easiest task, it is often necessary for your business to grow revenue, increase productivity, lower costs, and strengthen competitiveness. Whether your current MSP is blatantly failing you, they are not providing the strategic guidance you need, they are not providing enough value, or you have simply outgrown them, the time has come to make a switch.  We hope this blog series helps you understand what’s working and not working with your current MSP and enables you to find an IT support partner that will be a true Trusted IT Ally.