What Happens in the First Year of a 5-Year Managed IT Contract?
Business owners and decision makers often approach managed IT (MIT) contracts with a certain level of hesitation, particularly long-term deals.
For anyone familiar with digital transformation, this is not wholly surprising. After all, a staggeringly high number (70%) of organizations experience failure with their digitization plans and don’t achieve their stated objectives.
However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story: not all digital transformations are born equal, and digitization roadmaps can vary significantly from one company to another.
Some businesses have watertight strategies that thoughtfully implement the right solutions and services that benefit your company best.
Others have rushed, incoherent, and ultimately inadequate DX plans which often fail to meet expectations.
The difference between a quality managed IT contract and a poor managed IT contract is an ineffective technology plan, more often than not focused on short-term gains with little thought for future growth.
Why Long-Term Relationships Between MSPs and Businesses Are Important
At Impact, we’re advocates of long-term relationships with our managed IT clients for a number of reasons, including:
- Relationship: It allows us to build a relationship where we can truly understand the needs and ambitions of your IT goals. We want to help you plan for the future and be there every step of the way.
- Strategy: There’s little value beginning an MIT service with only short-term goals in mind. As service providers, thinking only about the short-term is little better than the traditional break/fix model we’re trying to get away from as an industry. We strategize our clients’ plans for the long-term with their future business goals front-and-center.
- Reliability: We pride ourselves on our reliability as a managed service provider. We take equal pride in the ambitions of the clients we serve. With a long-term relationship, both parties understand that the client is serious about receiving a quality managed IT service for the future and the MSP is committed to the growth of the client’s IT.
What Happens In the First Year of an MIT Contract?
With all that being said, you’re probably just curious about what actually happens at the start of a long-term managed IT contract.
Let’s take a look and break down what you can expect in the first year of your partnership.
Training End Users to Use the Support System
One of the first goals of a managed IT contract that needs to be carried out is on-boarding staff to get them used to the program, and, more specifically, the help desk.
This is complimented by extensive documentation about users, the network, and solutions, all of which are written up by the MSP.
For any managed service, the help desk is crucially important. At Impact, for example, our help desks at our Unified Support Operations (USO) center are manned only by internal staff with no outsourcing.
If our clients don’t get as good a response from our help desk as they would from an internal IT employee, then the help desk isn’t up to standard.
For this reason, on-boarding clients to our support system is a vital first step in acclimatizing clients to our managed services programs.
Getting Your Network to Where It Needs to Be
Network remediation is the first step in getting your network up to speed and laying the foundations for future implementations.
During the assessment phase, an MSP will test your IT infrastructure and report to you with a detailed analysis of pain points.
Before recommendations are made, experts will consult with the client’s end users and decision makers to draw up a managed IT plan that satisfies business and budget goals.
Then comes implementation—hardware is deployed and configured, and software solutions are adopted within the network.
Data migration will take place here, whether your business is adopting a public cloud service, a private cloud, a new on-site server, or a hybrid solution.
This is also the time at which the MSP will need to “lift-and-shift” any legacy solutions that need migrating to cloud. They can then integrate these applications into a company-wide enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Finding and Using the Right Technologies
Utilizing the right tech for your organization is no easy task. One of the reasons SMBs use managed service providers for their IT needs is because they have a wealth of expertise.
In short—”been there, done that”, many times over. Quality MSPs will have extensive experience dealing with companies in every industry and will know through consultation exactly which solutions suit their unique tech stack best.
An independent provider like Impact has the added advantage of not being tied down to offering a limited scope of solutions. Instead, they can pick and choose solutions to offer without restriction.
Related Post: Are Turnkey Solutions Enough for Your Business?
As an example, our partner, DOT Security, provide an advanced cybersecurity package that was built only after vetting literally hundreds of solutions to put together what’s best for our clients.
In any case, the first year of a managed IT contract will place huge importance on finding and implementing solutions that are right for you.
Implementation of software can be lengthy, depending on the size of the organization, and special care is taken to account for the burn-in time that each project brings.
We want to make sure the process is as smooth as possible, which is why we advocate and step-by-step plan for implementation, as opposed to doing too much at once and overloading clients.
Getting Out of the Break/Fix Model
Without a long-term partnership, it can be difficult for businesses to properly transition away from the reactive break/fix model that they might be accustomed to.
One of the biggest advantages of having an MSP as your partner is the business expertise they bring to your company.
Helping clients understand and engage in the dynamic of having an IT management program and a business development program for their goals is an important aspect of the first year.
In our view, it’s difficult to achieve the dynamic needed to establish long-term tech ambitions if the basis of the relationship is short-term.
Because of this, getting our clients out of the break/fix mindset and into the managed services mindset is a vital part of the first year.
What Kind of Relationship Will You Have With Your Point of Contact?
The first year is also about forming your relationship with the most important person to you—your vCIO.
Related Post: vCIO Definition: What Is a vCIO and Does Your Business Need One?
Your vCIO, or Virtual Chief Information Officer, is a remote CIO who works directly with you to establish a strategy for the duration of your managed IT contract.
They are a dedicated technology liaison, committed to ensuring everything is running as smoothly as possible.
The first year is when the relationship between the client and the vCIO is firmly established.
Businesses often have varying needs in this regard. Some are happy to meet at only the quarterly business review (QBR), which is our minimum expectation, while others are more comfortable with frequent meetings regarding their IT operations.
Some MSPs, like Impact, will not place restrictions on how often you can liaise with your vCIO, so this relationship strongly depends on the needs of the client.
Are you concerned that your IT department isn’t driving your company forward? Thinking it’s time to talk to someone about your plans for the future? Reach out to Impact’s Managed IT team and speak to one of our experts today!