Are You Hiring an MSP? Make Sure You Ask These Questions First.
Are You Hiring an MSP? Make Sure You Ask These Questions First.
What are the right questions to ask when you’re hiring an MSP?
One of the challenges facing every business leader today is how they manage technology in their organization.
There are a lot of different ways to solve this problem. Some organizations hire internally, while some people work with an outside organization. But there are always a few key areas that you’ll need to cover.
What to Look For When You’re Hiring an MSP
When you’re hiring a managed service provider (MSP) or an IT team, you need someone who can do high-level strategic planning, and you need someone that can do the deep technical work. And you need someone that can make sure that the technology in your organization is supporting your business goals and strategies.
How do you close those gaps?
The answer is not necessarily the same for every organization. These are very different skill sets that can be difficult to find in one individual or even in a small team. And ultimately, there are choices that you have as a business leader.
The End Goal is the Same
That said, every organization’s end goal is basically the same. You need to get to that point where you feel that you’re managing your IT correctly. You need to know that your risks are managed, and you’ve got the right technology in place for your organization.
At CopperTree, we work with a lot of different organizations. Some of these organizations have an internal IT team. We’ve worked with a lot of business leaders over the years as they look to hire someone for that internal team.
It’s a difficult thing to do if somebody is not technical and they don’t really understand the technology that’s involved. It can be very difficult to decipher somebody’s technical ability.
We’ve worked with individuals that may have worked with a recruiter, or they worked with a staffing agency to try to find somebody that has the correct skillset, and it can be very difficult to make that determination. Often somebody might look good on paper, but maybe they don’t have the hands-on experience.
How We Hire
At CopperTree, when we’re looking to hire, we have our candidates go through some technical assessments to try and determine their skillset. And it’s often rather enlightening to see the difference between a resume and somebody’s real technical ability.
It’s difficult for a non-technical person to judge that skill set. Even as a technical person, sometimes it can be difficult to really understand somebody’s abilities.
One of the things that we’ve seen that is an indicator of somebody’s success is looking at their background and work history. Some of the candidates that worked in larger enterprises tend to have a more narrow skillset. Whereas a candidate that comes from a service provider background tends to have a broader range of skills.
Partnering with an External Expert
One of the ways to make sure that your organization has access to all the skills that are needed to manage your IT infrastructure is to partner with an outside organization, such as CopperTree, to come in and fill in the gaps around your existing team.
If you have an internal department with one or two people that are on your IT team, CopperTree will come in and work alongside that team. For a lot of organizations, that means someone comes in and helps on the strategy side. Oftentimes we’ll end up taking on the background maintenance and management, and then the internal team is focused on strategic projects and providing that hands-on day-to-day support.
It can be a very good experience for an organization that’s large enough to need that onsite person to have that person focused on doing end-user support. If you’re onsite, you know the individuals, the applications, and the workflows. In those instances, CopperTree focuses on the bigger picture, background maintenance, keeping the infrastructure up and running, helping out with the strategic planning, and the execution of that strategy.
Benefits of Hiring an MSP
When your organization has the right people in technology management roles, it gives you a lot of confidence. It gives you peace of mind knowing that your infrastructure is going to be safe. You know that you have the right technology in place. And your users feel taken care of when they have a problem.
Ultimately, you get to the point where everything just works. And then you can sleep at night because you know you’ve managed your risks. You feel like you’ve got the right tools in your organization.
CopperTree works with a lot of organizations that have an internal team as well. We fill in those gaps around that internal team. We’re usually brought into an organization in what we call our co-managed IT capacity.
This is common after organizations try to do everything internally and it didn’t work out. What often happens, if it’s a very small company with one or two IT professionals, is that they’ll hire someone with a few skills, but not the full spectrum.
Maybe it’s someone that works best with high-level strategy. They’re good at planning and big-picture infrastructure maintenance, but they’re really not interested in spending all day, every day, providing end-user support, solving printer problems, and dealing with user issues.
Alternatively, it could be somebody very qualified on the end-user support side of things, and they’re very good at what they do, but they don’t necessarily understand the business aspect well enough to do a strategy.
Covering the Skills Spectrum
It’s very difficult to find somebody that can span that spectrum of skills. It’s rare that somebody is capable of doing the strategic planning and is also interested in doing the day-to-day maintenance and support work with the end-users.
That’s really where CopperTree comes in. We fill in the gaps around the individuals that are there. We can do the end-user support and work with somebody on the strategic planning. More frequently, however, we end up doing strategic planning, background maintenance, and infrastructure monitoring. The internal person spends their days doing the day-to-day support. They work with the users and deal with their problems. They’re familiar with the processes and workflows of the organization and making sure that users’ day-to-day needs are met.