Determining the right service relationship with a third-party provider


As organizations look for IT and hosted collaboration services to meet their business needs, crafting the right relationship and service level agreement (SLA) is an essential consideration. With the proliferation of managed service providers (MSP) and cloud computing solutions, not every vendor offers a product that truly fits an individual company’s requirements. A third-party provider of any type of IT solution should ultimately help streamline business processes, maximize value and create new areas for financial growth by helping to craft a customized approach.


One of the most important metrics for meeting business needs is system availability. Organizations should clearly outline the people, processes and metrics in place to guarantee necessary uptime, proactively obtain critical success and address what happens when a service goes down.


According to Cisco, companies should be sure to build performance indicators such as availability, performance, resolution time and other metrics into their SLA, and they should also conduct a monthly networking service-level review meeting to gauge compliance and implement improvements. Creating definitions and goals in advance will ensure clarity when an issue arises and help businesses determine whether their provider is truly aligned with their interests.


“You need to know that your MSP has all angles covered and, if yours is a 24/7 operation, then backup processes in place to ensure that everything’s working 24/7,” a recent Canada IT article noted. “You also need to know that you’re working with a managed service provider that genuinely cares about your business.”


Crafting a custom solution

Other considerations the publication highlighted include making sure that managed IT services firms have experienced personnel who are willing to engage with people within the business to thoroughly understand internal goals, capabilities and needs. This type of focus will ensure the provider crafts a solution that is actually customized to meet each specific client’s needs.


Just because an approach increased productivity by 20 percent at one company does not mean it will be as successful at another, Canada IT explained. Businesses need to work with an IT consulting service that takes the time to build a partnership, adapt to specific business needs and meet SLA expectations.


“You need to know that they’re capable of understanding your business, differentiating it from their previous and other clients and create a tailored IT solution that makes adds speed, efficiency and greater overall performance,” the publication noted.