Managed IT Services

Mastering MSP Selection: Online Resources to Help You Evaluate & Choose

Post by
Net Friends

There is a wealth of information about Managed Service Providers (MSPs) readily available online. By perusing their published content, staff profiles, and customer reviews, you can gain valuable insights into an MSP's capabilities and priorities. This information can be a powerful tool for making informed decisions when selecting the most suitable IT partner to manage your infrastructure.

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What to Look at When Evaluating

Tip #1: Decode Company Communication

Companies share information for a variety of reasons, and what they choose to highlight can be revealing. A heavy focus on mergers and acquisitions might suggest a prioritization of business expansion. An acquisition can suggest the intent to broaden capabilities and resources, but it is essential to ensure this does not come at the expense of service quality.

Frequent product or service launches can be a positive indicator. It suggests the company is constantly innovating and adapting to meet the needs of its customers as well as the demands of the market. This could point to a well-developed research and development (R&D) process, which is crucial for staying ahead of the curve.

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Decoding Company Communications

Look for signs of a forward-thinking MSP. Regular service line enhancements indicate a culture of continuous improvement that translate to real benefits for you.

By staying on top of the latest tech trends, an MSP can proactively suggest solutions that keep your business competitive. This not only improves your efficiency, but also positions you to capitalize on new opportunities.

Finally, industry awards and recognitions are a strong signal of a company's success. Winning awards signifies that the company is a leader in its field, surpassing its competitors. It can also indicate a company with a large and loyal customer base, as trust is often a factor in these awards. Additionally, awards for novel approaches to service and product design suggest a company that is pushing boundaries and driving progress within its industry.

Tip #2: Expertise Matters

Net Friends Pro-Tip

Do not be fooled by flashy headlines or bold claims. When assessing blog content, focus on substance over hype.

Look for articles that tackle specific industry challenges and back their arguments with relevant, verifiable data. Credible sources will cite research studies, industry reports, or data from reputable organizations.

Furthermore, scrutinize the overall quality of the blog. Does the content delve into the topic in detail, addressing specific industry challenges and offering practical solutions? Avoid generic articles that skim the surface. Look for content that demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the subject matter.

While AI-generated content is becoming increasingly sophisticated, it can often lack the depth and human touch of an experienced writer. Be wary of overly generic language or a lack of specific industry references. If you suspect AI authorship, consider the overall quality of the blog itself. Does it have a consistent editorial voice and a focus on well-researched content?

Tip #3: Follow the Conversation

The platform an MSP chooses to share information can be just as telling as the information itself. Look for an active presence on relevant social channels, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook.

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform where MSPs can establish themselves as thought leaders by sharing industry insights and engaging in discussions. Regular content creation, including articles and updates on industry trends, demonstrates a commitment to staying informed and educating others.

Facebook offers a broader platform for community engagement. Here, you can gauge an MSP's ability to connect with a wider audience and foster a sense of community. Look for consistent content creation, but also pay attention to how they interact with followers. Do they respond to comments and questions in a timely and helpful manner?

Overall, an MSP's social media activity should showcase their expertise and position them as thought leaders within the industry. Look for platforms that foster two-way communication and engagement – this is where you will find the most valuable insights.

Tip #4: Examine LinkedIn Profiles

Let us pivot from how an MSP presents itself in the marketplace to a more personal dimension of their business: their team.  To gain a deeper understanding of an MSP's expertise, explore the LinkedIn profiles of key personnel, including technicians, engineers, and leadership.

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  • Look for credentials that demonstrate proficiency: Do they possess relevant certifications for the technologies they manage? Does their experience align with the services offered by the MSP?
  • Positive recommendations and endorsements from colleagues and clients add another layer of credibility. These testimonials provide valuable insights into the individual's performance and reputation within the industry.
  • Tenure with the organization is also a factor to consider. A team with a high level of staff turnover could raise questions about stability and knowledge retention. Look for a team with a strong track record of commitment to the MSP. Also pay attention to career progressions within the organization as it can tell you a lot about how the MSP promotes and incentivizes the skills and knowledge advancements of their technicians.
  • Explore the technical background of the core leadership team. Does their experience lie primarily in sales and business management, or do they possess a strong technical foundation? Having leadership with a deep understanding of the technical aspects of IT management can be a significant advantage.
By examining LinkedIn profiles, you can gain valuable insights into the skills and experience of an MSP's team, helping you to assess their overall competence and suitability for your needs.

Tip #5: Read Online Reviews

Online reviews offer a view into an MSP's performance, going beyond their marketing claims. Customers tend to be more inclined to post negative reviews than positive ones. Examine the negative reviews, especially how the MSP responds to them. Evaluate how the MSP addresses criticism, while considering that negativity with a grain of salt.

Trusted Review Platforms:

  • Google Reviews: A go-to for local search and real customer experiences. Look for a good volume of reviews.  
  • Glassdoor Reviews: While primarily focused on employee insights, Glassdoor reviews can also reveal how the MSP interacts with and addresses employee concerns. Look for leadership responses to negative reviews.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): Most MSPs will not have complaints lodged against them with the BBB. If they do, it is something to investigate and ask questions about.
  • Clutch & Cloudtango: These platforms specialize in MSP reviews. Clutch provides in-depth, verified reviews based on client interviews. Cloudtango acts as a directory where you can find MSP profiles with reviews from past and current clients.
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Trusted Review Platforms

What to Look For:

  1. Pay attention to how the MSP addresses negative reviews. A prompt and professional response demonstrates their commitment to customer satisfaction.
  2. Ensure the MSP's online presence reflects current details – address, phone number, and website. This indicates professionalism and active management.
  3. Look for recent responses to reviews and engagement in Q&A sections. This indicates the MSP is actively monitoring its online reputation.
  4. Tap Into Your Network
  5. Do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. Seek advice from trusted sources like:

    Business Colleagues: Talk to colleagues who use an MSP. Ask about their experience with service quality, responsiveness, technical expertise, communication, and transparency.
    Industry Associations: Professional networks and industry associations may offer recommendations or host events where you can connect with MSPs directly.
    Technology Vendors: Trusted vendors or consultants you work with might have insights into reputable MSPs with experience serving your industry.

This proactive evaluation, combining smart analysis with real-world recommendations, sets you on the path to a successful partnership selection - one that grows with your business in the ever-changing world of IT.

Succeed in Your MSP Selection

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What's most important to your MSP selection process?

Finding the perfect MSP is like picking a business partner - it impacts your entire operation. A smooth, productive partnership tackles your IT challenges now and in the future. It is not just about picking a vendor – it is about building a long-term relationship. By carefully evaluating MSPs and getting advice from others, you will find a partner who can keep up with your business as technology continues to evolve.

If you are ready to start talking to an MSP, Net Friends would be thrilled to be included on your list. Our team has over 25 years of experience securely managing the IT needs of small businesses, and we are excited to tailor an approach specifically for your unique requirements.

- How Managed Service Providers Help Businesses Thrive
- Does Your MSP Understand You?
- How to Align Your IT Ducks Before Choosing Your MSP

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