“MSP’s don’t work”.

That is a pretty bold statement.

In my experience the above statement is true and i’ll even go further, by suggesting that you should employ an infrastructure monitoring contractor instead of using a managed service provider. Obviously I am a little biased.

I have worked for a few managed service providers over my career.

MSP’s are very busy places, they support lots of customers with many different requirements.

MSP’s assign their customers to a service delivery manager who specifies a suitable 1st/2nd/3rd line engineer to resolve the customers incidents and requests.

Many UK Companies like the idea of outsourcing IT / monitoring services, introducing complex help desk systems to log calls with remote help desks.

If the remote MSP support company offer effective/efficient processes to provide support, facilitate projects, understand requirements and make their customers happy then the relationship works well. Of course cost is also an important factor.

MSP’s in most cases take on too many customers, they don’t provide documentation, don’t create a satisfactory service and this makes their customers unhappy.

What should MSP’s do, to make their services better? (Some already do this)

  • Know your limits as an MSP.
  • Don’t overstretch, or oversell.
  • Don’t claim you know a solution and then implement it badly.
  • Don’t rip your customers off.
  • Train and support your staff.
  • Communicate, regular meetings with customers. Don’t drop off and disappear.
  • Commit to a project 100%. Keep up the momentum.
  • Provide great documentation.

The advantages of using a contractor rather than an MSP.

Here are some examples detailing why utilising an infrastructure monitoring contractor is more efficient and better for your business than outsourcing to an MSP.

  1. When I engage with a new customer I advise them how long a task or project will take, I carefully highlight the objectives and we plan a timescale together that fits in with the customers requirements. I give my customers a plan to highlight potential issues we may encounter. I learn about the customers environment and tailor my work around their environment.
  2. We agree to the documentation that is required when we plan the project and we keep this flexible so that when a customer hits a “knowledge gap” later on in the project, I can provide that information to them in a format that can be utilised across their company.
  3. As an infrastructure monitoring MVP contractor I can spend 100% of my time working with one customer, giving them all of my knowledge and experience.
  4. I have access to priority support at Solarwinds as a Solarwinds MVP. I have access to Thwack and the ThwackMVP channel on Slack, one of the best internet based repositories for providing monitoring advice.
  5. MSP’s have numerous customers and they spread their staff across these companies.
  6. MSP’s struggle to maintain an onsite presence, they cannot possibly send staff to all their customers all of the time. Bums on seats is important. It makes communication easier to actually have an onsite presence and a contractor can provide that.
  7. MSP’s struggle to get back to their customers. Even with advanced help desk systems and call acknowledgement, meaningful engagement is often limited. When an infrastructure monitoring contractor is engaged onto a project he/she will make him/herself available to solve the issues as they arise. Regular workshops can be provided to resolve concerns and provide training to customers to enable them to move forward when the contractor moves on to other projects.
  8. MSP’s provide support for Solarwinds but Solarwinds support is great in its own right. If you have a problem log it directly with them. An infrastructure monitoring contractor can do this for you and can work on the issue at the same time. Why would you potentially waste time by logging a call with a third party who may or may not have time for you?
  9. The internal politics. MSP’s are subject to their own company politics and policies. Certain customers are treated with reverence and others fall by the wayside leaving their service falling short. As a result of this favouritism MSP’s can be perceived as being not very proactive at all. An infrastructure monitoring contractor doesn’t have favourites. They get the job done and fit in with the company.

So if you are still thinking about going to an MSP for an Infrastructure monitoring project or task, you may wish to consider the advantages of having an infrastructure monitoring contractor working with your company instead.

If you have another point of view or something interesting to say please join in the conversation in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you.