8 signs it's time to change to a new IT managed services provider

By Robert Half on 1 February 2022
Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes

Today, the pace of digitisation means companies are increasingly relying on IT managed services providers to help them transform their business for the future. Importantly, because the primary role of an IT managed services provider is to drive businesses forward with the latest technology and expert resources, relationships between companies and their providers usually work best when they are formed with a long-term view.

As an extension of a company’s long-term business strategy and trusted business partner, an IT managed services provider is well positioned to offer sustained tailored expert consultancy and solutions supported by robust resource augmentation. An ongoing close and collaborative relationship can drive cost savings, competitiveness, and efficiency as companies work towards strengthening and developing their IT function.

But like with any long-term partner or vendor arrangement, it's important to regularly assess whether you're still getting the best service and value you need from your current provider. When choosing the best managed IT service providers, you need to regularly review your current arrangement and pay attention to the signals that indicate it's time to switch providers and move on.

1. Falling short of mutually agreed deliverables

When initiating your partnership with an IT managed services provider, you’re likely to have established a service level agreement (SLA) which holds your provider accountable for meeting expectations and delivering on agreed outcomes. Your SLA may have even been designed to be flexible and adaptable to account for changing business needs in an evolving environment.

By familiarising yourself with the terms of your SLA and regularly assessing the progress or outcomes from your partnership, you’ll be able to quickly identify any areas where your IT managed services provider is underperforming or failing to meet your business needs.

2. Surprise invoices

Budget management and accurately forecasting costs is essential for any business. An IT managed services provider should be prepared to work with your business under a fixed-fee pricing model which has been agreed and tailored to the services and deliverables your business needs. Continuously increased pricing or ‘surprise’ inclusions on your invoices might be an indication that your provider is no longer aligned with your business needs, or that they are not communicating or collaborating in the most efficient way possible with your leadership.

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3. Not aligned with your industry or specific technology needs

To work with your company most efficiently and offer highly customised solutions, your provider should understand every facet of your business’ technology needs and how they function in the context of your industry; and most importantly, this should be an ongoing learning process. If you are no longer receiving support across the range of services and solutions you require, then it might be time to switch to a provider that offers more targeted expertise across your entire IT function. A generalist approach puts your business at risk of missed opportunities and lagging competitiveness.

4. Missing out on the most current technologies

While the technology needs of individual businesses will be different, there are several core technologies that are key in today's market. For example, while cloud solutions are giving companies easy and cost-effective access to some of the most sophisticated business tools and functions, Microsoft 365 is essential for optimising workforce collaboration through enhanced integration and up-to-date software and features. The absence of any of these technologies in your business could be a sign that your IT managed services provider is failing to optimise your IT infrastructure to your best advantage.

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5. Your working relationship starts to feel transactional

The best managed IT service providers are fully immersed in your operation so they can truly understand your business needs and how they can be met over time. Working alongside key stakeholders and becoming part of your business is also what enables your provider to identify and prepare for new or emerging opportunities that are relevant to your business. If your relationship starts to feel like a vendor arrangement rather than a collaborative partnership, this could be a sign that you’re not getting the full or intended benefit of an IT managed services provider.

6. Communication is minimal

Customer service in the field of IT managed services is about much more than assisting with problems and providing help, it's about finding genuine and specific tailored solutions that will have a positive effect in the immediate and long-term. If you are not confident that this is happening or how, this could be because your IT managed services provider is failing to communicate their strategic approach to working with your organisation. If you are struggling to understand the impact that your IT managed services provider is having on your company, it's advisable to seek out an alternative that prioritises full and sustained transparency and continuous communication within your working relationship.

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7. A lack of bigger picture thinking

With so many different layers all working together to improve operations and achieve business objectives, there are many different moving parts to a company’s overall IT strategy. Even if your IT managed services provider has been engaged to focus on a specific area within your IT function, they should demonstrate that they are mindful of the interplay between various aspects of your IT services and solutions, and how they impact your business to ensure their services stay relevant and yield strong results.

8. Experienced subject matter experts aren't visible when you need them

The best managed IT service providers should be on hand to help businesses overcome complex challenges when they don't have the skills or expertise in house; this is achieved by providing expert consultancy supported by finely tuned resource augmentation services to assist with developing functions and implementing initiatives. At no point in your relationship should you feel there is a lack of visibility of experienced subject matter experts for your needs, or that work is being inappropriately delegated to junior consultants.

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If your business could benefit from a reliable IT managed services provider, offering access to consulting services as well as experienced subject matter experts and targeted skillsets, get in touch with us for a confidential consultation to discuss your individual business challenge.

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