It’s almost impossible to disagree with the statement that having a predictable budget is extremely important to a business. I have been a technology consultant since 1980, and one of the complaints I have heard most frequently over the years is how unpleasant it is to receive a surprise invoice for technology costs. It is NOT the way to win your client’s heart.
It is much easier to provide a client with a predictable information technology budget today because IT support organizations have developed managed service plans. Some Managed Service Providers are willing to stand by their services by providing unlimited support each month; however, others are not. When comparing services, be sure to ask about remote and on-site services. Some MSP’s limit the number of support hours they will provide in their monthly support plan. This limitation puts the burden on the client to try to not exceed the “allotted” hours each month. It’s a scenario I’ve witnessed all too frequently, employees are instructed to hold off on calling the help desk unless it’s a serious issue.
If remote and on-site charges are not included in your plan and are not unlimited, then that should tell you how confident they are that they are keeping your network stable. We have heard of at least one firm that advertises unlimited support but then incents their technicians with additional bonuses if they can get off-site quickly.
Having a single recurring monthly fee for all your technology services clearly solves the problem of receiving a surprise invoice, while sharing the responsibility for uptime with the vendor. It simplifies invoicing for the MSP and helps reduce administrative costs for both the client and the vendor. When comparing the costs and services of an IT service provider, remember to look at how your prospective vendor delivers on each component of their managed service offering. If you’re just looking at a checklist, you may be comparing apples to oranges.
Please look for the next blog entry where we continue to assess the individual features of a managed service plan and review the differences in the way providers execute those services.