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Best MSP Procurement Checklist - part 1

The process of researching, reviewing and selecting a managed or hosted service provider can be a daunting task for those business and technology decision makers that have never performed this task before. Like any other process, there are some best practices.

The following candid questions will help you determine if a provider of managed services can meet and exceed your expectations. Also included are examples of specific details that you should seek.

How do you select a best-fit service provider? Ask all the right questions. Where do you start the selection process? Focus primarily on how the service offered will help to solve problems or create new opportunities -- not merely what it does (its features and functions).

1. Are you prepared to offer only the features and functions that my business needs, instead of the ones that you include in your one-size-fits-all service bundle?
  • Ask for a list of all the "standard" items included in the base bundle.
  • Request details of all optional items that can be added and/or subtracted.
According to recent market research, decision makers at companies of all sizes now prefer that service offerings only include essential features as mandatory elements in a bundle. All other features may then be selected from a menu of options.

2. Can you describe the services that you offer -- and their business benefits -- in terms that I, and the other members of my executive team, will understand?
  • The salesperson or sales support person should address your specific needs.
  • Ask the service provider to explain any terms that you don't understand.
If you can't determine how the managed services will directly benefit your business, then you'll be unable to make an informed decision. Qualified service providers should be able to describe their offerings within the context of your specific business requirements.

3. Will you provide case study materials to demonstrate how you delivered a managed service solution that solved a business challenge similar to mine?
  • Documented customer success stories provide useful insight.
  • Reference checks should include details on the business impact.
While a service provider with limited experience may be able to meet your application needs, those that can clearly articulate the methodology they use to meet their existing customer needs will likely provide a better fit. Moreover, a basic knowledge of how your industry operates will help to avoid misunderstandings.

Note: these are the first three questions from a list of ten. The remaining Q&A will be featured in parts 2 and 3. We'll also provide a link to a complete list that you can download, and a useful ROI calculator to help you build a business case.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David H Deans

David H. Deans is the Managing Director at the GeoActive Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in the Technology, Media and Telecom sectors.

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