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How to ensure you have a game-changing experience with your Managed Service Provider (MSP)

As Australian Mid-Market organisations rely more heavily on their technology partners and co-innovators, we highlight what the ‘hallmarks’ of a game-changing MSP relationship are.

2023 is proving to be a tough year. “Complex global geopolitical conditions see constant announcements of budget cuts, layoffs, and tech execs’ priorities being reshuffled,” is how Forrester’s Senior Analyst, Dario Maisto, describes it. 

Yet despite these challenges (or possibly because of them) Forrester also says that service providers are expecting growth in 2023, with the focus being on, “Partnerships, delivering co-innovation, and building long-lasting client relationships.”1

We all know the reasons for this increased focus on MSP relationships: there’s the rapid advances in all technology, being compounded by the continuing IT skills shortage – this is making it harder for organisations to find the people with the skills they need. There’s also the increasing complexity, sophistication, and sheer volume of cyber security threats. Then there’s ongoing need for tech CEOs to preserve working capital, while still being able to invest in technology.

So, with more organisations partnering with MSPs to navigate these challenges, co-innovate and get more value from their IT budgets, how do organisations ensure their managed services technology partner will deliver the outcomes we all need?

Or, to put another way, “What does an MSP need to deliver to make the partnership a game-changing experience?”

1 Forrester; Jan 2023

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Ensure you get the right fit.

Getting the right fit with your MSP means ensuring they’re capable of delivering a service in apropos with your size, objectives, and culture. Sounds obvious, but one organisation’s game-changing experience might be another’s everyday hygiene factor.

If you have a medium-sized business, you’ll probably fit best with a medium sized MSP. If they’re too big for you then you won’t be important enough to get good service, and if you’re too big for them, you’ll end-up feeling under serviced and let-down.

Tecala has conversations every day with mid-sized organisations who’ve had great service from their MSP for years, only for a scale imbalance to occur on either side of the relationship, leaving the IT department and leadership teams feeling forgotten.

What’s your ultimate goal? Are you looking to ‘innovate’ or do ‘business as usual better’?

One of the first things our team will identity on our first engagement with you is whether your organisation is ‘thirsty for innovation’, or whether it’s looking to ‘keep the lights on’ and do day-to-day IT more effectively.

Both are valid, and neither is ‘better’, but knowing which is relevant for you is crucial. The appetite for innovation and / or predictability falls along a continuum, with high innovation at one end, and business-as-usual at the other.

If you see yourself needing to often flip your business model overnight and expect your MSP to respond accordingly, that insight needs to define the engagement. Likewise, if it’s predictability you love, or risk you dislike with a passion, you’ll need your MSP to respond in kind.  

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Single point of contact. To ensure you’re listened to and your questions are answered.

When you first engage with an MSP you might find yourself in different conversations with many different people talking to you about different aspects of your IT.

This is pretty normal because IT is pretty complex. But you’ll need a single point of contact in the conversations who can engage with you and guide the interactions with the wider team.

In your mind’s eye, look upon your relationship with your MSP as a large revolving circle, where you’re in the middle and your MSP recalibrates its services around you. You should always feel at the centre of the circle, connected with the subject matter experts you need, as your needs and objectives change.

Top-down, family-tree-style structures don’t work because you’ll have to navigate too many people and layers to get the expertise you need.

The right expertise, on demand.

Tecala is a relationship business, and we work to the objective of directing customers to the right person the first time they call.
So, when we engage with you, we leverage our client engagement model to ensure you’re guided, supported, and directed to the right outcome. We liken this to the role of a traffic controller.
This model is built around three key layers of experience:

The Account Executive

To focus on all your commercials, including budget planning for future requirements. This includes the products and services you’ll need to meet the challenges of your workplace.  

The Service Delivery Manager

To ensure your IT needs are delivered as planned and improvements are continually applied to the services we provide.  

The Senior Consultant

Owner of the Strategic Technology Roadmap, ultimately responsible for ensuring the tech does what it says on the box, but also what your strategy says it needs to do at a business operational level.

Because each of our clients is at a different position on the ‘innovation Vs predictability continuum’, we build our teams with the right traffic controllers in our business that you will feel most comfortable with.

If it’s innovation you crave, your first point of contact can be with our team of Senior Consultants; if you need predictability, then we can connect you with our Tecala Service Desk

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Strategy Technology Roadmap: to innovate in all directions, and remove obstacles before you see them.

Whatever the outcomes, an MSP needs to be able to understand where a client organisation is now compared to where it needs to be, and predict or foresee the barriers and obstacles that’ll hamper a smooth transition between the two.  

Tecala delivers this forward-thinking in our Strategic Technology Roadmap.

In a standard technology roadmap (which you’ll get from most MSPs) you’ll get an overview of what your current IT infrastructure is, what it can handle, and whether it is capable of supporting your business goals and objectives, plus a list of technology you’ll need to meet them.

But Tecala takes this process many steps further. We partner with our clients to ensure the technology roadmap is implemented effectively, is budgeted for accurately, and delivers exactly the business outcomes our clients need on an ongoing basis.

With quarterly STR reviews and updates, along with Customer Satisfaction surveys (CSAT), we track your progress through the roadmap to ensure your objectives are being met.

No ambiguities or misunderstandings, just absolute confidence you’re on track to getting the outcomes you need.

Security delivered as Default.

Bearing in the mind the current proliferation of cyber attacks, it’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the importance of security. Yes, you may occasionally need to engage with a specialist IT partner for a specific challenge. But for an MSP to be effective in 2023 and beyond, every service it delivers needs to have cyber security built in as default.

Through a fully integrated Cyber and ICT Security Services portfolio, Tecala is able to hunt, investigate, and stop threats before they become business disrupting events.

This includes our ability to accurately assess your cyber security threat landscape before any IT planning is done. By embedding cyber security into our managed services engagement with you, this ever-evolving threat is mitigated and neutralised. Even though it can never truly be removed.

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Empowering your people with game-changing IT experiences.

Because your people are the most powerful force for innovation and growth in your organisation, you need to ensure your MSP is the key enabler that allows them to work at their full potential, giving them the ongoing services and support they need.

Tecala’s focus is, and always will be, on making technology the most effective platform for empowering people.

We’re very much aware that what all our clients need is local services and support that can deliver rapid responses to IT issues and opportunities.

So, we made the strategic decision to own and operate our Service Operations Centre, right here in Australia. Our managed IT support and service desk is operated by a local team of IT experts, who are always on hand to provide quick and effective resolutions to all your IT incidents.

At Tecala every customer interaction counts as they all accumulate into the overall experience. So, to ensure we’ve getting it right, we run a quick ‘traffic light pulse’ and a Net Promoter Score survey at the conclusion of each interaction.

Currently our NPS is 67.65 (the highest in the industry) and our traffic light pulse elicits a 96% ‘thumbs up’.

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100% - ‘We’re in this together’

At the end of the day, make sure you get a technology partner whose culture is client relationship focused, and who shows immediate commitment to keeping your IT in lockstep with the rhythm of your business, and be fully accountable for that.

If you get the impression your existing or prospective MSP is focused completely on hardware and is less interested in the non-technical aspects of your business, then walk away.

Look for proof that other clients have a great relationship with them. From the first meeting or conversation, your MSP should be asking the right questions about your business and your business imperatives. And showing clear evidence they have a proven track record in delivering on these with organisations just like yours.

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