Managed IT services are just like any other endeavor: you need the right tools to do your job efficiently and effectively. There are many software and process tools available to a MSP and it’s important to know your MSP has done its job integrating them to better support you. It certainly doesn’t matter about the actual software names, but here are the top categories you should review with your future MSP.
Professional Services Automation (PSA)
This will assist your MSP in tracking configurations, service tickets, historical and real-time data, etc. Some MSP’s may have a home grown version and that’s ok if they have a strong programming staff as part of their offering. However, most MSP’s utilize a commercial application so they can concentrate on what they do best and not bug fixing software. A bonus applies if your MSP is confident enough to provide you real-time access to your service queue. That way you can quickly and easily spot check your end users wait times and generate reports.
Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)
Similar to a PSA, it assists the MSP do its job more efficiently. Typically, there is a software agent they load onto supported PC’s, Servers and Mac’s. This software can help an end-user quickly start a trouble ticket, ask a question and it proactively monitors the hardware and operating systems for anything out of the norm. The agent alone isn’t enough, but when paired with competent engineers who can quickly discern real trouble from incidental issues, you are more likely to have important things quickly brought to immediate attention for rapid repair.
Not a software tool per se, but asking how your MSP manages itself internally will provide insight to their maturity. Are they striving for ITIL certification, deploying OML or operational maturity levels, or following another proven path to success? Continually improving a service delivery process is required as customer needs change and new threats and technologies emerge.
There are many software manufactures and management processes your IT provider can use to make themselves better. The real trick is if they are using them consistently and are open to discussing how they use them. I’m not suggesting an IT provider spend time training you on how they do their job, but a high level discussion so everyone is comfortable with the process is certainly warranted. They should have these processes down and be willing to discuss it with you.
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