The problems with managed service providers and how we solve them
There are many scenarios when using a managed services provider (MSP) makes sense for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Managed IT services come with some great benefits, such as constant availability and cost-effectiveness.
As an MSP, here at The KR Group, we get asked about common problems managed services customers might encounter when they start using an MSP.
Some of the common problems and their solutions include:
- An MSP doesn’t provide an on-site engineer.
- Managed IT services are contracted, not employed.
- An MSP can’t provide constant hands-on assistance.
- Managed IT services can be hindered by aging infrastructure.
- Some MSPs focus on a size-based range of users.
If any of these situations resonate with you, you aren’t disqualified from benefiting from managed IT services. There are solutions to each of these problems.
1. An MSP doesn’t provide an on-site engineer all day every day.
With in-house IT services, an engineer is typically on-site and able to visit your desk and address your technology problems.
This is one of the things you give up when you decide to allow an MSP to oversee your IT environment. An MSP will address the majority of your IT needs remotely and does not provide an engineer to be onsite from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
MSP engineers still readily address your issues, though.
If you had in-house IT services before managed services, there is a good chance your engineer was already addressing your needs remotely. (Roughly 80% of all IT problems can be solved remotely.)
Unless you had a daily face-to-face working relationship with your IT director or engineer, it’s likely you called or emailed him or her for help, which is similar to how you’ll reach your MSP.
In addition to remote solutions, MSPs also ensure you receive some on-site support with your engineer. They offer periodic on-site time with designated engineers, where they can address your IT demands in person.
MSPs have the added benefit of offering 24/7/365 remote service.
An in-house IT engineer will inevitably miss a day of work because he or she takes a vacation, a sick day, or a personal day. With an MSP, you still have access to an engineer if your assigned engineer takes a day off.
He or she might not be in your office every business day, but they make up for it by giving you access to service every single day.
2. An MSP provides a contracted service, not an employee.
Related to the first problem, some companies want the ability to build a rapport with their IT engineer the same way they do with their employees. They want to chat with him or her in the lunchroom, the parking lot, or at the watercooler.
Contracting an MSP won’t be the same as hiring your own IT engineer who is solely dedicated to your company. You don’t get the same face-to-face communication with a managed services engineer as an in-house one.
The solution to this is to offer a personalized experience.
A reputable MSP assigns engineers to customers. Doing so allows you to build a relationship with your MSP engineer similar to how you would with an in-house engineer.
You and the engineer will have to put in a little extra work into building a strong working relationship. Since you don’t see each other every day, you need to make the most of the time you do have together. But over time, you’ll become comfortable with your engineer and feel like he or she is another member of your team.
3. An MSP can’t provide constant hands-on assistance.
Managed IT services engineers work hard answering phones, emails, and tickets during business hours. After 5 p.m., MSPs keep an engineer on call because they know not all clients operate during standard business hours.
While MSPs serve traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. businesses, some of their customer-base operates 24/7.
Hospitals, for example, don’t shut down overnight, and a problem with their system could affect the safety of their patients.
Manufacturing businesses are another example of a common MSP customer with overnight shifts. If an IT issue halts work overnight, a manufacturer’s production could back up while waiting for an engineer to respond.
The ability to reach an MSP engineer at any time is one of the benefits of managed IT services. However, there are times it doesn’t make up for the lack of hands-on service.
When this is a problem for customers, it is typically because they have a multitude of requests every day and are accustomed to reaching out to an in-house IT engineer for multiple problems within a week or even a day.
Starting your managed IT services contract with multiple, scheduled on-site visits per week solves the problem of needing frequent hands-on assistance. This will ease you into the transition from having someone able to help you at your desk the same day you need it.
There are times when managed IT services might not be a good fit for your company culture, though. An MSP might not work well if you know your company’s end users require constant or frequent face-to-face communication with IT support.
4. Managed IT services can be hindered by aging infrastructure.
An MSP can often source IT problems to outdated software or inadequate hardware. In some cases, they can offer temporary solutions, but eventually, you’ll need to take care of the root of the problem.
For example, if you’re working with Windows SQL 2008 server (and soon 2008 R2 server and Windows 7 operating system,) an MSP won’t be able to address their security or escalate support to the manufacturer. Microsoft no longer issues patches or supports them, so your MSP will have limited solutions to escalate problems.
To solve the problem of outdated infrastructure, your MSP will recommend you update to a current, supported application. This will address the root of your problems related to outdated applications.
If you don’t plan to update your outdated IT infrastructure, your MSP will constantly be working around hurdles. Ultimately, managed IT services might not make the most sense for your business if this is the case.
5. Some MSPs focus on a size-based range of users.
There are several options available should you decide to employ a managed IT service provider, but not all of them serve the same size organizations.
If you’re considering The KR Group, you should know we specialize in providing managed services to small and medium-sized businesses in the 10 to 100 user range.
Falling on either side of the 10 to 100 user range doesn’t automatically disqualify you from utilizing our services, however. We have clients above and below that range, and overall, it largely depends on your IT needs.
If your problem is you don’t fall within the range for KR Group managed services, our answer is for you to reach out to us to see what we can do for you.
Good MSPs solve these problems.
Along with the 10 to 100 user range, lack of an on-site engineer and frequent hands-on assistance, contracted services, aging infrastructure, and user range can impede managed IT services. Good MSPs will meet these challenges with solutions, though.
Managed services may not be problem-free, but they are a good solution for businesses looking to outsource their IT services.
If you’re interested in what other options you have for your IT or why managed services might be right for you, check out our article, “Managed IT Services vs. In-house IT vs. Augmented Services.”