So you’ve decided to move forward with a managed I.T. services provider. Now, you’re wondering – what’s next? How long will it take for them to start taking calls? What does the first 90 days looks like?
After hiring a managed services provider (MSP), the first step in establishing your relationship is the client onboarding process. Bringing your business into the fold needs to be done carefully and methodically, so that your MSP can optimally serve you now and for years to come.
Kickoff and Environment Assessment
Typically, a quality MSP will have a kickoff meeting with your organization, in which they explain their specific onboarding process. The MSP should share their process with you in detail, as well as what the outcome of the onboarding will be once finished. Sharing an example of how an existing client was onboarded is a terrific way to do this.
Once the kickoff meeting is held, the next crucial part begins – assessing and understanding your business environment so that the team of engineers and other professionals on your service team can help you and your organization. Cooperation from the internal I.T. staff is extremely helpful, whether they are sticking around or moving on, as they understand your environment well, and can explain the ins and outs of your technology to your new MSP.
Wondering if you should keep some internal I.T. when switching to an MSP? Read here.
Your managed services provider needs to come in and understand your entire environment, from servers to routers, switches to security posture, 3rd party vendors, and more. Having a comprehensive understanding of everything that makes your business work ensures they can monitor all assets for maintenance, optimization, and troubleshooting. They should inquire on and understand the software you are running, especially if you have a proprietary or organization-specific software. They should understand your cloud vs on-premises solutions, and of course your user base. Knowing the number of employees your MSP will serve ensures that an adequate number of resources is assigned to you.
This is not a completely comprehensive list of everything involved in assessing your environment, as each organization and each MSP is different, but this gives you a good base for what to expect during the client onboarding process.
Next Steps and Your Future Relationship
Once your MSP has assessed your organization’s current technological state, they will determine a plan to get you to a more optimized state over the next 60 to 90 days. After all, this is one of the biggest benefits of a managed services provider. With their level of expertise and years of experience serving many clients like you, they know what best practices are common and make the biggest impact in your industry. This plan should include a detailed roadmap of how they will get your organization to this new state and should give you an estimated budget.
This 60 to 90 day plan and the overall onboarding assessment kickstart the creation of a 3 to 5 year plan of where the company should be technologically. By considering both your business goals and technological trends, your MSP can build a strategy to get your business to where you want to go.
The Culture Shift
Switching from an internal I.T. staff to an MSP typically causes a large company culture shift. Employees from the top down are use to a certain method of getting I.T. assistance, and oftentimes it involves simply walking over to the I.T. person’s desk. Obviously, when using an MSP, the process is different, and some employees may be confused or hesitant at first. Management should be diligent about using the new MSP and should educate every employee on what steps to take to get help. Many MSPs supply outlined documents and swag for both end users and executive team members during the onboarding process, so they understand how to contact your I.T. provider. This may involve everything from a document describing the escalation process for more complicated issues, to mousepads or cards with information on the best ways to get service from the MSP’s help desk.
Making the decision to move forward with a MSP is not easy. It’s important to understand every step of the process in order for a partnership to be successful. The MSP will thoroughly explain the process and accurately assess your business so you can have a thriving partnership from the beginning.
While the client onboarding process may seem daunting, it’s critical to the success of a lasting and quality partnership with your new MSP.