No matter how complex your IT environment is and who is managing it, at some point, you’ll need to buy new hardware or software.
However, if you have a managed service provider (MSP) handling your IT, you have a resource to help you find the right and best solutions for your needs.
One question clients frequently ask The KR Group’s managed services team is if they can buy technology on their own while they’re under contract for IT support.
While the answer is yes, there are many benefits to going through your MSP for your technology needs instead, including:
- Your MSP knows your IT environment.
- Your MSP has recommended technology for other similar companies.
- You know you’ll get the right product.
- New solutions can be billed with your monthly invoice.
If you’re an MSP customer, all of these apply to you, and many of them will apply to you if you handle the majority of your IT environment but partner with an IT consulting company.
Your MSP knows your IT environment
Managed IT services engineers spend multiple hours a week monitoring and maintaining your IT infrastructure. They are working with you to get to know what you like about the technology you use every day, as well as what drives you nuts.
This puts your MSP in a position to know what technology will and won’t work with your existing infrastructure. Since they also know your wants in addition to your needs, they can recommend solutions that will be the best fit.
As an expert in technology, managed IT services engineers have a breadth of knowledge on the subject. They’ll know the most recent, most reliable, most trusted solutions.
However, the latest and greatest technology isn’t always right for your environment. If you have older technology you need to integrate with or simply have unique needs, your MSP will know the best solution for you.
One of the reasons many customers turn to an MSP in the first place is because they want to stop worrying about their technology. Allowing their MSP to help them with hardware and software purchases is just another aspect of that assistance.
Your MSP has recommended technology for other similar companies
Since MSPs serve multiple clients, they are aware of common problems across the board and within different categories of customers.
Take industry regulations for example. MSPs have multiple customers who are in the financial sector, healthcare sector, and manufacturing sector. When it comes to software like antivirus, anti-spam, and multi-factor authentication or hardware like firewalls, servers, and storage, your MSP will know what has worked for other customers who need to abide by the same rules and regulations you do.
This back-tested knowledge is beneficial when it comes to specific requests as well. By serving a variety of customers, your MSP knows about a variety of technology.
You know you’ll get the right product
The most common problem customers have when they try to order hardware or software on their own is they buy the wrong solutions.
When it comes to hardware and software, customers frequently miss the difference between consumer and business editions.
Making this mistake means you’re paying for equipment that won’t be capable of handling the larger traffic demand of a business and the stricter security protocols required for business needs.
With hardware, a common mistake is not buying equipment that’s compatible with other technology within your environment. Everything needs to work together to create the best experience for your users. Choosing the wrong hardware can make a mess of your IT environment.
For example, if you choose a consumer-grade router, it won’t have the capacity to handle the business of an office environment.
Both of these mistakes prolong the time it takes you to get your new solution implemented into your IT environment and address your problem or need.
New solutions can be billed with your monthly invoice
Regardless of how you purchase new hardware or software, it isn’t included in the cost of your managed services contract.
MSPs recommend that each year you budget 10% of your annual contract price to purchase equipment.
These charges aren’t included in your contract, but if you purchase through an MSP, it is included on the bill.
From an accounting standpoint, this means there are fewer invoices to keep track of, which saves you time.
Now that you know why you should consider purchasing through an MSP, we want to answer your next question: How do you purchase technology through an MSP?
Purchasing equipment through an MSP
As we’ve already shown, purchasing through an MSP provides a straightforward option for purchasing hardware and software.
There are two options when it comes to how you purchase IT solutions through an MSP.
1. Your MSP orders technology on your behalf.
When your MSP helps you determine what technology you need to purchase, they can place the order for you.
Some of the pros of this options are:
- It’s one less thing to worry about.
- Your MSP can have the order delivered to you or their office.
- They’ll make sure you get the right technology.
On the flip side, you’re giving up some control, and it can take longer since you’ll need to communicate to your MSP what you want to purchase and then have them order it.
2. You can order your equipment through your MSP’s e-commerce site
More and more IT consulting companies and MSPs are offering e-commerce sites for their customers. This allows the customer to order directly from the MSP’s site instead of making phone calls or emails back and forth for information and finalization.
This option will feel familiar to you because it’s similar to any online purchase option.
You can take a list of recommendations from your MSP and browse and purchase online through their site.
Once you find what you need and add it to your cart, you’ll create an account and check out like you would on any other online store.
Even though you’ll be purchasing online, you’ll still get some of the benefits of going through an MSP.
- Your MSP can recommend products on their e-commerce site.
- You can purchase immediately and be billed during your normal billing cycle.
- The e-commerce site has products that your MSP and IT consulting company know and recommend.
- You don’t have to worry about accidentally buying consumer-grade products.
- Shipping is customizable, quick, and easy.
Additionally, you’ll be able to instantaneously make the purchase instead of having to coordinate with your MSP. If you want smaller, miscellaneous items, like mice or keyboards, you can also purchase them through the site.
Regardless of how you buy new hardware or software, you’ll have less to worry about if you go through your MSP. It’s just another one of the benefits of having a managed services contract.
For more information about purchasing hardware or software with an MSP check out our articles, “How to Budget for Managed IT Services” or “3 Benefits of Managed Service Provider Hardware Standards and Examples.” And whether you’re an existing MSP customer or not, you can browse our e-commerce website.