Is changing MSPs as painful as…?
My friend was contemplating changing to a different accounting software for his business and asked me if I had any advice. I told him he might want to have a root canal instead!
Seriously, I can’t think of anything more frightening for a business owner than changing accounting systems. But wait! I own a managed service provider (MSP), but I’m not sure I’ve done a good job of putting myself in the shoes of a prospect considering switching their IT support to my company. So, I decided to try that.
I started by asking some customers about their experiences with switching MSPs. Why did they want to switch? What were they hoping to gain? What did they fear losing? How much were they willing and able to invest in hard and soft transition costs to realize those gains?
Here’s what I heard:
- Why? The most frequent reason for wanting to switch was the business relationship had changed. The MSP was no longer adding value to the business, and in many cases, they viewed IT support as a cost rather than an investment.
- What had changed? In most cases, the MSP was doing an adequate job of keeping up with day-to-day IT demands (reactive) but not staying ahead of the ever-changing technology landscape (proactive). Concurrently, the customer’s business had grown in size and scope and needed new technology to make that growth profitable. Was the MSP capable of recommending and implementing the technology required?
- How do I know a new MSP will meet my needs? There is no simple answer to this question, but most of the feedback I received was related to reputation and culture. Best practices were to check references thoroughly and ask questions about how the MSP helps achieve goals and how it reacts when it makes a mistake or fails to live up to its service level agreement. Ask MSP candidates how they select employees and have them give specific examples of how they train employees and help them grow professionally. You’re looking for someone with the same values but who can provide superior IT direction and capability.
- What will it cost to switch? Be prepared to invest time and money in the transition. The hard cost of transitioning will probably be at least equal to one month’s fees, and the process may require some hardware and software expenses to onboard the services you need. There will be some downtime and a few “hick-ups.” The new MSP will be learning about your IT environment and getting to know your employees.
Changing accounting systems, MSPs, or any other critical service for your business is daunting and not for the “faint of heart.” But if you do your homework, anticipate, plan around potential problems, and include your staff in preparing for the change, you can do it successfully.
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About Davis Merrey
Davis, is Owner/CEO of TeamLogic IT of Oklahoma City, part of an international network of franchisees providing IT support for businesses. He brings many years of experience in a variety of technology related industries, leading teams in providing technical solutions that respond to critical customer needs. The company culture is defined by its Mission Statement: “To help our fellow employees and clients be successful”.
Davis earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and an MBA in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He serves on several business related and non-profit boards of directors.