How to choose the right managed service provider

By Robert Half on 1 February 2022
Estimated Read Time: 6 minutes

As technology plays an increasingly critical role in today's economy and work environment, a trend that has only accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies are turning to the expertise of managed service providers. A managed service provider manages a company’s technology products and services to help them overcome the complex business challenges they face when they lack the internal expertise and skills to address them – an increasingly common scenario with today’s fast pace of digital transformation.

By partnering with a managed service provider, you can delegate all or specific aspects of your company’s IT services and solutions. Why companies use a managed service provider relies heavily on businesses benefitting from tailored expert consultancy, supported by robust resource augmentation services to assist with developing functions and implementing major initiatives. Some of the most common IT services offered by managed service providers include cloud migration, security services, and support with developing new digital products and experiences.

Why use a managed service provider?

While a managed service provider will help your company strengthen its existing IT services and solutions, as well as provide the skills and expertise to leverage new opportunities and functions, the partnership can deliver several additional benefits. Key advantages include cost savings associated with sourcing and onboarding hard-to-find skills in areas that your business has no or limited prior experience in, ensuring that the development and implementation of new technologies and systems will lead to optimised accessibility, reliability, and security; and will help transform your organisation to gain a competitive edge in the market.

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How to decide what managed service provider is right for you

Your managed service provider should always be considered an extension of your company's long-term business strategy, so it's important to choose the right partner.

Here are some of the key considerations to help you decide:

Are they a true technology partner rather than a quick fix service?

Any managed service provider should be prepared to approach your business as a genuine business partner with long-term objectives in mind. Right from the outset, ask questions about their strategy and look for evidence that demonstrates the provider will take the time to understand your business in the context of specific industry dynamics. A sustained and deep understanding of your business and its interplay with the market will provide the foundation for highly customised solutions that meet your needs both in the short term and future.

Related: Searching for agile design, development, and implementation of innovative business solutions?

Are they specialised in the areas where you require help?

Avoid generalists and look for a partner who can offer specific expertise within your industry and the services you require support for. Ensuring your managed service provider can provide support across the whole suite of services and solutions you need, as well as understanding how they function within your industry sector, will be key to developing your IT capabilities while optimising operational efficiency and competitiveness.

Ask for details about the skills and experiences within their pool of subject matter experts. This transparency will help you determine whether they’ll have the dynamic capacity to take on an advisory role, as well as identify, anticipate, and solve problems that are unique to your business.

Do they take a holistic view?

A high-quality managed service provider should never look at your immediate IT issues or challenges in isolation, but rather, dig deeper into your overall IT environment and business operations to develop a long-term plan. By gaining an understanding of how IT solutions can support broader strategic objectives in close collaboration with your IT leadership team, you're more likely to experience strong and continuing returns across key performance metrics, including efficiency, customer satisfaction, and revenue.

Does the provider offer the necessary flexibility?

To gain maximum value, it's important to find a managed service provider that will offer your business the required level of service and skillsets when you need it most. Whether it's receiving advice at specific times, ongoing operational support, or your demand for custom-built teams, business needs vary and often change over time which means there’s no room for a one-size-fits-all approach. You should choose a managed technology solutions provider who offers you the flexibility to choose the service levels you require, when you require them.

Related: Need help with managing IT projects or outsourcing technology support?

Is the provider scalable?

For growing companies that have a long-term view of their partnership with a managed service provider, it's valuable to look beyond whether your needs will be met in the immediacy and consider whether they will have the capabilities and resources to offer the required levels of service as your business evolves.

Do they offer a fixed pricing model?

To avoid any surprises on your invoices, check that your managed service provider can offer your business a tailored package for a fixed monthly fee based on deliverables you’ve agreed.

Is the provider sufficiently secure?

When developing IT services and solutions, companies need to choose providers that will protect them against the increased risks of cyber-attacks. You must ensure your chosen managed service provider will be using the latest technologies to keep your business data safe and secure long into the future. At the same time, your provider should be able to demonstrate that they are always up to date with government regulations to ensure your business continues to meet IT security compliance requirements, especially as your IT functions become more sophisticated and complex.

Once you've decided which managed service provider is right for your business, you should take steps to guarantee they deliver upon your expectations by setting up an appropriate service level agreement (SLA). The SLA will ensure they remain accountable for the services they provide by setting the standard for the scope of work and outlining any relevant delivery timeframes. To account for the constantly changing business environment, you might also agree to initiate and maintain an adaptable and responsive SLA that evolves with your needs.

Related: Looking for deep technical security competence with executive-level communication and management?

Why choose Robert Half’s Managed Technology Solutions?

Robert Half is the world’s leader in specialised talent and consulting services. Our 70+ years’ experience, reputation for excellence, and industry leadership position enables us to provide the most qualified professionals for all your business needs. In 1994, Robert Half began providing technology-based talent solutions to the market. In 2002, Robert Half moved into the consulting services industry with the launch of the Protiviti brand, onboarding assets from Arthur Andersen LLP’s U.S. internal audit and business risk consulting practices. Today, Robert Half is the only company in the world with origins in the staffing industry and decades of specialised global consulting capabilities.

Managed Technology Solutions (MTS) is a fusion of the strengths of Robert Half and Protiviti, which enables our clients to leverage the combined knowledge and expertise of our firms. We draw on thousands of successful consulting engagements, more than 7,000 direct consulting staff, and one of the largest networks of independent technology specialists to deliver results for your employees, customers, business, and shareholders.

We offer the only single solution that brings world-class calibre consulting and one of the largest networks of specialised talent solutions together to address our clients’ information technology needs. Our specialisation across multiple technology domains provides our clients with a broad portfolio of solutions to help solve their business challenges.


For a confidential consultation about your business challenge, contact us today.

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