The managed IT services model is now the primary model for providing IT support. Across the country, managed IT service providers (MSPs) continue to proliferate, and by now have mostly replaced “break-fix” providers as the most cost-effective and impactful way for businesses to take control of their technology.
As the number of MSPs has proliferated, several national MSPs and franchises have emerged, who make the same marketing promises of the veteran MSPs near you. Sometimes, they even claim to have superior services to what a seasoned local MSP, with deep roots in your community, can provide.
Is there any truth to those claims? In most cases the answer is no, and here’s why.
The managed IT service relationship is defined by a few things: proactivity, strong win-win partnership, and responsiveness. For an MSP to truly help you take control of your technology, defend your business against cybersecurity threat, and maximize the stability of your system, your staff must be able to speak with friendly support personnel who understand your unique IT challenges, whenever they need them.
This is easily accomplished in a smaller and more agile organization, but it’s almost impossible for a larger organization to provide.
Let’s say for example that you team creates a help desk ticket for a reoccurring network stability issue. When working with a local MSP, that issue is going to get the close attention of a help desk technician who you’ve worked with before and understands your business. If that help desk technician can’t manage your problem on their own, they can easily escalate it to a more senior engineer whose office is right down the hall.
At a large MSP the situation is quite different.
Often, each support ticket is routed to a centralized help desk, where the next available technician picks up the phone. This anonymity makes it hard to build rapport, trust, or the empathetic connection that’s crucial to the outsourced IT support.
These problems intensify if the issue requires onsite attention.
When your business needs onsite support, it means that you’re experiencing major network disruption, which can seriously impact your operations. In these emergencies, having a veteran MSP nearby who can send staff already familiar with your network and staff saves you valuable productivity.
According to staffing firm Robert Half, each of your employees spends 22 minutes each day dealing with technology issues.
National chains and franchises don’t have the same feeling of responsibility or engagement that a small, regional MSP does. They’re serving customers all over the country, which provides them with anonymity and a sense of distance that can allow them to compromise on service quality without consequence.
If they’re underserving businesses in your community, a major cyberattack compromises their client, or a franchisee isn’t doing a great job of serving their customers, they easily take refuge behind the success of another office or focus on another market until the bad word of mouth has subsided.
Compare this with the relationships that a regional MSP fosters over years and decades. Unlike the national players, a regional MSP has carefully developed a reputation with your peers by providing superior service and long-term partnership. The leadership at a local MSP knows their success is deeply tied to that reputation and will do whatever they can do to protect it and help their local community thrive.
To the national MSP, your business is a number in a spreadsheet, not a close relationship to be fostered over the long term.
Take for example the support of a virtual chief information officer (vCIO), an integral part of an MSP’s offering. The vCIO should help your organization develop and maintain a comprehensive IT strategy that includes hardware and software upgrades, new network infrastructure projects, regulatory compliance consulting, and strengthened cybersecurity defenses.
To do this complex work, the vCIO team at your MSP must have regular sit-down meetings with your decision makers. These meetings are an important venue for discussing your evolving network and operations. They not only allow the vCIO team to help your organization maintain a proper alignment of your business goals and technology, but they also provide a venue to deepen the MSP-client relationship.
It’s extremely rare to build this sort of intimate, long-term relationship with a nationwide MSP; many don’t include regular strategy sessions or vCIO meetings at all.
Did you know that improper technology management means the typical company wastes up to 35% of its technology budget?
In the past, we’ve written about the importance of cultural fit in determining a successful IT services relationship, and how it’s an often-overlooked aspect of MSP partnership. The culture of an MSP determines not only how they function internally, but also the attitudes and behaviors that govern how they interact with you as a client.
That culture starts with invested leadership who can rally their organization around tasks and goals. At larger IT services organizations, the culture (if we can call it that) is defined by middle management or account managers. Not only do these people come and go from the organization, but their primary goal is to improve the company’s bottom line or a set of metrics before they move on to their next position, not to build an enduring culture of service.
This dimension also extends to vendor relationships as well. A seasoned MSP will have carefully cultivated relationships with the technology partners that it thinks are most beneficial to businesses. The MSPs management team will foster and manage those relationships strategically, pursuing advanced certifications in key areas, while dropping vendors that are not longer providing the right value to their clients.
A larger MSP is likely to push a “one-size-fits-all” approach on to your business, forcing you to use technologies, tools, and services, no matter how well they accommodate your team’s work style.
Companies with a positive culture report having employees that are 72% more engaged and invested than companies without one.
Is your business in Albany, NY, Charlotte, NC, or Bluffton, SC looking to partner with a veteran technology services provider? Complete Network’s friendly and responsive team of network engineers is here to help! Contact us any time at [email protected] or 1 877 877 1840.
We look forward to speaking with you!