On: 19 Jul 2017

With companies needing to work with less and prioritise more, managed services providers (MSPs) have offered a lifeline for many who need expertise in certain areas but don’t have the means to hire the necessary personnel.

Availing of such services is incredibly appealing for a few reasons. For one, it plugs the gaps a company may have a lack of expertise in, and with the fall in costs for things like cloud, hardware and software, services that were inaccessible to the smaller organisations are now within easy access.

The drawback is that some companies can overestimate what exactly an MSP can do for them. While the scope has expanded significantly, there is potential for confusion on the company’s side regarding what they’ve signed up for.

Chris Casey, the services director of PFH Technology Group, said that a good MSP will explain the differences and what you’re signing up for from the start, but the possibility of forgetting years down the line is higher than you expect.

“You get what we call scope creep, that you sign up for a certain number of services and then presume you have other services included,” he said. “That happens particularly when you’re investigating it first. If you think about it in terms of needing a car, you walk into a showroom, you look and see the best, most luxurious car and then think you can’t afford that or don’t need it.

“So you end up buying the mid-range car, but you presume it comes with all the bells and whistles that you recently saw. You need to be careful of that, and know what you bought into in the end.”

It is important to invest the time and effort required to assist your MSP to understand your business requirements. It is also important to listen to your MSP and be willing to take on board their recommendations. This does not mean giving them on open cheque book but it is important to take their advice and to work this into your strategic and budgetary plans.

Casey echoed the statement, saying “you’re handing over responsibility but you’re not [moving away] from responsibility… hence why engagement is so important to know what is that’s going to get delivered and how you measure it and make sure it’s done right”.


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