Tips for Choosing an IT Managed Service Provider

The number of businesses that don’t outsource IT needs grows slimmer by the month. Unlike a decade ago, when delegating network functions to a managed service provider was often done on as-needed basis, businesses have become proactive about using an IT managed service provider to help improve the bottom line. However, before visions of cost savings start dancing in its head, a business should focus on choosing a managed service provider that has the specialization, experience, and reputation to properly handle the functions it needs to outsource.


The world of information technology is one of compartmentalization. Although a computer network is the sum of its parts, most infotech companies don’t possess expertise in each discipline of information technology. Some specialize in virtualization and web-based applications, others emphasize in network monitoring and security systems, and the list could go on. For customers, the key is to choose an entity that specializes in the function(s) they need to outsource. Because many infotech companies offer more than one type of assistance, it helps to evaluate their specialization by determining where their core competencies lie.


Asking a company where its competencies lie may not yield a straightforward answer. After all, no business wants to seem as if some of its offerings are more desirable than others. If you unsure of where a company’s specialties lie, ask it which services it has offered the longest. Most businesses specialize in disciplines in which they have the most experience, as experience naturally leads to specialization. While a managed service provider needn’t have years of experience in a discipline to practice it well, a wealth of experience demonstrates something important: for years, customers have found that the company practice the discipline proficiently.


Because companies are poor judges of their own reputation, you should evaluate an IT managed service provider based on what its references and record at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) indicate. Because even the worst businesses can have a few good references, you should request to speak with more references than a company originally offers – preferably a total of eight. Examining the BBB record of a company will give you an insight into how it treats customers. If an entity has unresolved complaints on its record, this means that some its customers feel they were mistreated, and have never had the problem made right


Before you outsource to an IT managed service provider, it should determine whether the business has the specialization, experience, and reputation to handle the job. This can be done by speaking with the entity directly, consulting its references, and evaluating its BBB record.