Selecting a cloud-managed service provider (MSP) is one of the biggest decisions to make for your business. Not only is it a major money investment, but it also impacts your business’s longevity. How well your business improves performance and operations while achieving scalability, agility, and growth is heavily reliant on having a successful cloud solution along with the right cloud-MSP team for your enterprise.
So how do you choose a provider or partner? You can’t just outsource your business cloud managed services to any Tom, Dick, or Harry on the street. We highly recommend asking some key questions before committing to what you hope will be a long-term, unified cloud partnership.
What ERP Experience Do They Have?
This is a broad question. Here, we’re looking for the depth and breadth of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) skills and experience – nothing too specific. Nowadays, ERPs and the cloud go together like peanut butter and jelly with 94% of enterprises storing their data in the cloud. So, we want to know, how much software system experience do they have under their belt? What certifications and technical skills do they bring to the table for ERPs and cloud management so that you’re ensured successful delivery and a high ROI?
Some MSP partners may say they don’t need ERP experience because they bring the cloud expertise, but a good partner will be familiar with both, having implemented ERP systems in every business size and in a variety of industries. They should also have experience with tailoring and optimizing workflows, and be aware of roadblocks and opportunities that affect a company’s growth and performance. Albert Einstein must have been referencing ERP cloud partners when he said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”
What Experience Do They Have in Your Industry?
Now you need to get a bit more specific. Industry-specific experience is important in a cloud partner because it indicates their ability to cater to your organization’s unique IT service delivery requirements. They also should be well informed of industry compliance requirements and all the constant changes that come with them. These are opportunities your company can act on and benefit from. Your cloud partner should provide you with the support and knowledge to improve your business, and those who have sufficient industry-specific experience can help you do that.
What Cloud Tools Do They Use?
Cloud tools are imperative to gaining a competitive edge and running an innovative company. The average person uses 36 cloud-based services every single day, and we’re sure that number is even higher in the workplace. Tools like automation, SharePoint, Azure, backup and disaster recovery solutions, system monitoring, and cybersecurity tools all contribute to increased productivity and flexibility, improved data security and collaboration, cost savings, and better business results. A strategic cloud partner should have access to a variety of tools, so you can leverage them if you choose. A suite of scalable solutions helps to grow your business, and overall improve business operations.
What Support Services Are Available?
What sort of support services do they provide in addition to their cloud managed services? These come in extremely handy post-cloud adoption. Services vary depending on the partner but generally include full support during business hours and emergency after-hours. For our managed service clients, BT Partners offers helpdesk services, after-hours on-call, and of course, emergency services to help ensure your business is operational around the clock.
We know how the story sometimes goes. You buy a product and aren’t given the same level of care post-purchase, and issues unexpectedly pop up that turn a once profitable project into chaos and confusion. The potential of lost revenue and productivity, not to mention the buyer’s remorse is astonishing. Therefore, solid support services post-implementation is essential and should be a part of any cloud-MSP repertoire. Make sure you ask the question.
What Training Do They Offer for My Team?
Do they provide training to your team post-adoption? Understand going into this question, what exactly it is you’re looking for or want from them. Are you able to handle the training aspect in-house? If managing it yourself is too resource-heavy and you’re hoping to outsource, make sure to ask this question so you can choose a cloud partner that matches your needs appropriately.
Do They Have Any References?
So, you’ve reached the end of the interview process for ‘why should I choose you to be my cloud partner?’ They’ve made it this far, so we should be set to decide, right? Wrong. It’s super easy for a partner to say they have the qualifications, but do they have the proof to back it up? With one in three Americans admitting to lying on their resume, we don’t want to take any chances. This is where Case Studies or Success Stories are useful. Ask them if they have any that you can check out. If they don’t, consider that a red flag and be extra cautious. An experienced and qualified partner will have documented proof they can manage your cloud. On top of that, your investment needs more than just their words, you need their references as well. Ask to speak to one or two of their clients. If they don’t have any clients happy enough with their services to take a call for them, that’s a serious red flag.
Last Point to Consider
Do you want a salesperson or do you want a technician managing your cloud? While we hate to admit it, there are some partners who undervalue expert IT technicians and are only looking to sell, sell, sell, no matter what’s at stake, including your business. At BT Partners, our entire team is engineers so we’re thinking like technicians, not salespeople trying to sell a hosting plan or how to make the project larger.
Just like our references question, ask for credentials, and don’t be shy to use your intuition. If something feels off, like they’re being overly pushy, see that as a sign to back out. Not everyone will be the right fit as your partner, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is going against your initial judgment and regretting it later.
Purchasing a cloud solution is a lucrative decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Hopefully, these questions help to bring you to a decision with more assuredness and trust that you’ve made the right choice. If you’re not quite sold, or if you’re still feeling stuck on who might be the best fit for you, reach out to our cloud managed services team at BT Partners. It’s probably more straightforward than you think.