Five Simple Questions to Steer Your Business to Success

The ash heap of history is littered with the bones of once-successful companies that failed to keep up with a changing world. Resting on your laurels is not an option. What choice can you make as a business owner that will automatically buoy your survival rates by impacting the three largest aspects of success? This is a crucial question to ponder and take decisive action on.

Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP)

Leveraging technology effectively is not just an advantage; it’s a necessity. This makes choosing a managed IT services provider a critical decision for businesses aiming to enhance operational efficiency, security, and scalability. The right strategic solution easily enhances these three aspects of business.

To navigate this crucial decision, it’s essential to ask the right questions to reveal whether a potential provider fits your business needs. There is a lot at stake, and it may seem daunting to wade through your options. Here, we delve into the best questions to ask to make an informed choice, as well as examples of why they are crucial.

Five Pivotal Questions to Guide You:

  1. How Will You Navigate Our Cybersecurity Landscape?

A prudent business must challenge a prospective MSP on its cybersecurity strategy. As reported by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime costs businesses approximately $6 trillion annually. Therefore, it is crucial to ask, “How will you tailor your cybersecurity defenses to meet our specific industry needs and regulatory requirements?”

Take the example of the infamous Target data breach in 2013, which resulted in the theft of over 40 million credit and debit card numbers. It highlighted the necessity for robust cybersecurity measures and compliance with industry standards. A competent MSP should offer a comprehensive plan, showcasing their experience with advanced firewalls, end-to-end encryption, and regular penetration testing—services that could have significantly mitigated risks in situations like Target’s.

  1. Can You Support Our Growth with Scalable IT Infrastructure?

As a business scales, its IT infrastructure must evolve concurrently. “Can you scale your services to keep pace with our growth?” is a pivotal question. An MSP must demonstrate a history of effectively scaling IT services for growing companies.

Consider Amazon’s cloud computing arm, AWS, which has been instrumental in scaling to accommodate the growth of thousands of businesses, including Netflix. Netflix experienced massive growth, which demanded an equally massive scale of its IT infrastructure. AWS provided them with the necessary scalability, contributing to Netflix’s global capacity to handle streaming for over 200 million subscribers.

  1. What Does Your Track Record Tell Us?

Questioning an MSP’s track record is about inquiring, “What success stories can you share that demonstrate your impact on businesses like ours?” A reputable MSP should be willing to provide case studies or references that reflect their capacity to manage complex IT systems and drive business growth.

IBM’s MSP services for the multinational bank, Banco Popular, serve as a notable example. IBM helped them to reduce operational costs by 25% and achieve a 50% faster time-to-market for new financial products, showcasing the kind of credible track record that businesses should look for in an MSP.

  1. Can You Offer Transparent and Predictable Pricing?

Inquiring about pricing structures with questions like, “Can you provide a clear and predictable cost model for your services?” is non-negotiable. Transparency is key to avoiding budget overruns. A potential MSP must present a straightforward pricing model that delineates the scope of their services and additional costs.

Salesforce’s subscription-based model exemplifies transparency, with clear pricing tiers depending on the range of services required. It’s a model that allows businesses to plan their budgets without fear of hidden costs, something that all MSPs should strive to emulate.

  1. How Will You Manage Our Partnership?

Finally, it’s vital to ask, “How will our partnership be managed on a daily basis?” The relationship with an MSP should be based on mutual understanding and regular communication. This partnership will be crucial when navigating unexpected challenges and capitalizing on new opportunities.

The collaboration between the MSP Dimension Data and the Tour de France provides an exemplary case. Dimension Data transformed the way fans experience the Tour by handling and analyzing the GPS data of riders to improve engagement. This level of cooperation is only possible with a well-managed partnership that prioritizes communication and shared objectives.

### Conclusion: Selecting an MSP as a Strategic Partner

The questions outlined here aim to assist businesses in making an informed decision when selecting an MSP. A strategic partnership with the right MSP can be a catalyst for business transformation, offering not just technological solutions but also a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The right MSP will have a track record of enabling businesses to pivot and adapt, much like how Adobe successfully transitioned from a product-sales model to a cloud-based subscription model with the help of its IT partners. This transformation allowed Adobe to remain relevant and increase its market share in the face of changing industry dynamics.

Businesses today must look for MSPs that not only promise to manage their IT needs but also demonstrate a strong alignment with their business objectives. They must seek out MSPs that have steered companies through digital transformations, as Accenture has done for countless Fortune 500 companies.

As we stand on the cusp of the next wave of digital revolution, the choice of MSP is more than a mere operational decision—it’s a commitment to innovation, efficiency, and growth. By rigorously vetting MSPs against these questions, businesses can set themselves on a path to thrive in the digital age, much like the companies they aspire to emulate.

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