Choosing a managed IT services partner that is built for the future
Establishing a strong, strategic partnership with a trusted managed IT services provider is essential to your future growth. Konica Minolta examines how to choose a partner that understands your business and can help you achieve your strategic goals.
You have the green light. Your business case for implementing a managed IT services strategy has been approved. Having struggled for so long with rising IT complexity, cost and compliance, you can finally shift responsibility for day-to-day services like cloud hosting, infrastructure monitoring, helpdesk support and disaster recovery to a trusted, third party.
This agile operating model enables small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) like yours to simplify IT, shifting resources from ‘keeping the light on’ towards innovation and digital transformation – all at lower cost.
Now comes the hard part. How do you choose a managed IT services partner that’s right for your business? It’s an important decision. The partner will be responsible the availability, performance and planning of your organisation’s infrastructure. They may even have responsibility for your data – the essential DNA of your business. With so much at stake, you want to be certain your partner has the credentials to deliver long-term value.
What SMEs want from a managed IT services partner
Recent research by Konica Minolta, conducted by the marketing agency Kingpin, asked SMEs what capabilities, or “superpowers”, they would look for in a managed IT services partner. Some 13% want the right expertise, 7% want a roadmap for the future and 5% want a provider to help them migrate services to new environments.
The respondents were also asked what criteria they would choose to shortlist a managed IT services provider. Some 49% would want to partner with “a recognised brand”, 48% want “prior expertise” and 34% would use “peer recognition”.
Make no mistake, the research makes it clear that SMEs trust managed IT services providers that reflect a proven delivery capability, innovation, domain expertise, long-term viability and similar values.
Due diligence checklist
However, we live in uncertain times. Rapid technology change, the IT skills shortage, economic uncertainty and other factors make it more important than ever to perform rigorous due diligence on your chosen partner.
This due diligence checklist can help ensure you collaborate with a trusted partner that is built for the future:
- Financial strength: Audit the partner’s financial performance over the last three years. Moreover, verify the stability of the other underlying IT vendors that the partner uses to deliver your service.
- Services portfolio: Does the partner possess the complementary services portfolio you are looking for? Will those services scale in line with your growth? Are they robust, with guaranteed service level agreements? Are these services based on industry best practice processes and standards such as ITIL?
- Partner size: Large, global IT service providers may lack the flexibility and personalised service you require, while smaller providers may not have the coverage, scale and financial security to withstand challenging market conditions. Choose a partner that blends the assurance of a global IT service provider with the agility and responsiveness of a smaller, niche provider.
- Flexible engagement model: Many SMEs are turning away from large, multi-year contracts to more cost-effective arrangements that flex and scale as business needs change. Ensure the model you choose reflects this agility.
- Services across the lifecycle: Are the partner’s services backed by expert, qualified teams at every stage of the IT lifecycle – from IT consultants and architects to project management, implementation, software development and ongoing support?
- Customer experience: Talk to their complementary customers to learn about their experiences of the partner. Do those customers trust them implicitly?
- Skills: You want to collaborate with trusted, experienced professionals. Find out what people skills the partner possesses, their certifications, the size of the teams, the rate of staff turnover, etc.
- Partnerships: Who are the partner’s partners? Are they trusted, world-class technology suppliers?
- Vision: Does the partner possess the vision, insight and experience to help you deliver on your transformational goals?
Managed IT services have the potential to transform your IT services delivery: simplifying IT, increasing agility, and supporting your drive for digital-led innovation – all at lower cost. Be certain to choose a partner than can support you in these goals: one that offers freedom and flexibility, combined with the security and reputation of a global brand.
You can read the full research report here.