So you want to take your business forward when it comes to your information and communication technology (ICT), but you’re not quite sure how to proceed with your voice and data maintenance contracts. Well, here’s what you need to consider.
It makes sense to form a business relationship with a managed services agreement with a provider, though you may not fully be up to speed on what ought to be included in your agreement. Of course, every business is different so you will need to keep that in mind; however, there are some similar areas that can apply to your managed services agreement and your voice and data maintenance contracts.
The first thing that ought to be set out clearly in your contract is exactly what is covered by your managed services provider. It needs to cover areas such as: services covered and outline your priorities, responsibilities, guarantees, availability, serviceability, performance, response and resolution.
The agreement should outline what services, equipment and software applications are included, what is excluded from support, and document the minimum standards the environment must meet in order to qualify for services.
A managed service agreement might seem rather cumbersome and detailed, and you may be more accustomed to running your voice and data maintenance contracts on a break/fix schedule – getting in touch with your IT support when a problem occurs. But is this a good idea in this day and age? What differentiates managed services from traditional IT support is that the responsibility and risk associated with managing your IT systems shifts to the managed services provider (MSP).
The break/ﬁx IT support provider has no incentive to make your network as stable as possible whereas a solid contract with a managed service provider is geared towards this. The IT support based on the break/fix system essentially means they make money every time you report a problem, you don’t benefit from the latest network management systems, if they have to deal with the same problem more than once, you get billed for it again and your worst IT disasters are their most lucrative jobs. The list goes on…
While small-to-medium businesses may be concerned that a MSP might be costly, it is a good idea to look at the long-term benefits. With a clearly outlined voice and data maintenance contract, your IT needs are taken care of and this gives your business a greater level of stability, thereby reducing your costs in the long run.