The process of researching, reviewing and selecting a managed or hosted service provider can be a daunting task for those business and technology decision makers that have never performed this task before. Like any other process, there are some best practices.
The following candid questions will help you determine if a provider of managed services can meet and exceed your expectations. Also included are examples of specific details that you should seek.
How do you select a best-fit service provider? Ask all the right questions. Where do you start the selection process? Focus primarily on how the service offered will help to solve problems or create new opportunities -- not merely what it does (its features and functions).
1. Are you prepared to offer only the features and functions that my business needs, instead of the ones that you include in your one-size-fits-all service bundle?
- Ask for a list of all the "standard" items included in the base bundle.
- Request details of all optional items that can be added and/or subtracted.
2. Can you describe the services that you offer -- and their business benefits -- in terms that I, and the other members of my executive team, will understand?
- The salesperson or sales support person should address your specific needs.
- Ask the service provider to explain any terms that you don't understand.
3. Will you provide case study materials to demonstrate how you delivered a managed service solution that solved a business challenge similar to mine?
- Documented customer success stories provide useful insight.
- Reference checks should include details on the business impact.
Note: these are the first three questions from a list of ten. The remaining Q&A will be featured in part 2 and part 3. We'll also provide a link to a complete list that you can download, and a useful ROI calculator to help you build a business case.