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Picking A Partner: 6 Criteria For Selecting An MSP: Part 1

May 14, 2010

Master MSP, MegaPath, Managed ServicesBusiness today is more competitive than ever, and you've made the decision to implement managed services to meet the challenges of the marketplace. You've identified that you need to lower operating costs, and help your bottom line. You know that at the same time you need access to leading technology platforms so that your business can stay in constant contact with your customers, partners and employees. You need to increase the level of support you are receiving on your network, but you are not looking to add more staff. In fact, what you need to do is make the IT budget within your business very predictable. You also need to be able to adapt to changing market conditions, so that when your business takes off, you will be able to scale your voice and data capabilities, all while keeping sensitive data safe and secure. You know that if you are free to focus on the core business, and don't need to worry about running a next generation communications platform, you will have the ability to execute and accelerate growth. The only question remaining is: How do you choose a managed services provider (MSP)?

When it comes to such an important decision, it is a good idea to have some criteria in mind, so that you can compare and evaluate the options available to you. In part 1 of this post, I am going to cover 2 of the 6 selection criteria that you should consider when picking a strategic outsourcing partner for your business. You are serious about your business, and you need to know that the partner is, too. You need to make the correct choice, and pick a partner who will work with you and help you increase your profitability.

1. Service Offerings

Whether you are running a small business, or a larger enterprise, you need to make sure that the services you need are available from the MSP you choose to work with. Does the MSP provide a full spectrum of access technologies, from DSL, Cable and Wireless to DS3, Ethernet and Satellite? Does the MSP provide voice solutions that support your current phone system or PBX? Does the MSP offer a hosted voice solution that is fully managed, and scales to meet your needs? Does the MSP offer managed security services and virtual private networks that can interconnect your multi-site business? Do they offer project management services to ensure peace of mind during implementation? Can they install, support and manage any required equipment?

2. Network Coverage and Capabilities

Your business needs to stay in touch with customers, partners and employees no matter where they are located, and no matter what device they are using to communicate with. You need to make sure that the network your MSP is operating is up to the task. Does the MSP have a national footprint that is able to provide the coverage you need? Does the network have Points of Presence in multiple locations, so that you are never far from the core of the network? Does the MSP provide robust interconnectedness to the Internet? Can the network integrate your voice and data traffic, saving you money? Does the MSP offer multiple classes of services that are capable of making sure your calls always get through? Is the core network using next generation optical technologies to ensure the fastest delivery of your communications?

In part 2 of this post, I will provide 2 more selection criteria you can use when choosing the right partner for your business. I will discuss the last two in part 3. Taken together, you will be able to evaluate the capabilities of your potenial patner, and make the best decision for your business.

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