How to choose a managed services provider you can trust

Today's employees are demanding access to the latest technologies that empower them to work as flexibly and productively as possible – often procuring these from outside the organisation. In addition, customer expectations are changing, meaning organisations must interact in more dynamic, agile ways in order to maintain competitive advantage.

Taking a hybrid approach to IT delivers additional flexibility and scalability to organisations – allowing them to meet the demands of both staff and customers, whilst keeping sensitive data secured. Having this blend of on- and off-premise technologies requires a new kind of managed services provider.

A next-generation managed service provider (MSP) helps IT to tame this complexity, removing the burden of management whilst helping them to focus on innovation and, crucially, employee and customer satisfaction.

So, how do you find a next generation MSP?

1. Think agile

Seek out a provider that can deliver a mix of on-premise technologies, cloud services, consultancy and a suite of managed services. Having a bespoke IT estate will enable you to become more nimble as an organisation, whilst empowering employees and boosting customer satisfaction at the same time.

A next-generation MSP must demonstrate the same levels of flexibility you desire for your own organisation: how quickly can they meet your demands at short timescales? Will they act as a true extension of your team? Do they understand the varying needs of the business – not just those of the IT department?

2. Proactive AND reactive

A good MSP should act as a true extension of your team – so make sure culture and pace are well-matched before commencing the partnership. Providers should understand your business needs and offer the right levels of service to help you along on that journey.

This means anticipating future requirements that may be overlooked internally, managing costs but always keeping organisational goals front of mind, and running the day-to-day processes so efficiently there is time to focus on innovation.

A next-gen MSP should also have a sound understanding of your internal audiences and be able to translate the benefits of IT to apply across departments. In today's fast evolving IT landscape, a combination of deep industry expertise and a knowledge of emerging technologies is key to maintaining competitive advantage. A next-gen MSP should be coming to you with ideas about how IT can help transform your organisation.

3. Consider cloud

As more organisations move elements of their IT estate to the cloud, finding a provider with a strong track record will ensure your systems work together so you can maintain security, agility and performance. MSPs have a clear competitive advantage over traditional systems integrators and vendors, as they have spent years integrating, deploying and managing IT services before cloud adoption took off. A next-gen MSP is well poised to help you decide which data goes where, and what combination of public and private cloud is best suited to your organisation.

Darron Antill is CEO of Intrinsic.