For Valentines Day, we thought we’d give you some dating tips. Well really, how to select a managed service provider:
1) Assess your need.
Write down 6-10 concise and quantifiable phrases like:
– flat monthly cost, less than hiring a full-time employee
– guaranteed response of 2-4 hours
– minimum of 10 years in business
– proactive 5 year business planning
– team of 4 or more resources for support, not just one person
– veteran leadership with education, certification, and national experience
2) Do your research.
Now with some specific needs you can eliminate the bulk of vendors and focus on just a few. Google phrases with desired keywords and your geography like “managed services Tulsa” or “cloud computing Oklahoma”. Do the same for LinkedIn and learn the education and experience backgrounds of the management. Also, most people are unaware major players like Microsoft offer tools such as Pinpoint to find qualified firms.
3) Identify true motivations.
Ignore the boasts of being on some list and the tired mantra of “Let us help you focus on your business”. Everyone gives away their true motivations. That press release about being the Dell Partner of the year says it’s all about hardware. The retail store that offers the cheap in-store diagnostic means bring it to us. The constant barrage of building pictures makes it clear renting space is the game. The 80 contract programmers on staff want your website or to build you an app.
4) Check out the offices.
The dark and largely empty floor in the downtown building or lonely offices in an unoccupied industrial complex are telling for the viability of a provider. Beyond these red flags, you really want to see if they eat their own dog food and what kind of business acumen and systems are used.
5) Vet your choice.
Website and social media testimonials are either purchased or contrived. Request and contact 5 references. Don’t fall for the trap of a significant upfront investment for an initial assessment or lease of disaster recovery hardware or software. Demand a no obligation probationary period and have an attorney review any contracts.