Before embarking on a new project, people often pause to consider goals and desired outcomes. More often than not, this seemingly simple step is the differentiator that leads to a successful conclusion.
The same goes when forming a new relationship, such as one with an IT managed services provider. Prior to selecting a provider, it’s important to consider how you will maintain a long-lasting, successful relationship. After all, the relationship is a two-way street.
Through our experience working as a technology provider for almost ten years, we’ve learned a great relationship requires trust, transparency, and effective communication from both parties involved.
Characteristics of a Strong MSP Relationship
First and foremost, a great relationship is built from a foundation of trust, which must not only be earned up front, but maintained and nurtured over time.
To best serve our clients and earn trust, Resultant hires some of the most capable technicians in the country to support our client’s business. Then, the team maintains this trust by consistently exceeding client expectations and delivering results.
To gain a strong foundation of mutual trust, we believe in forming deep relationships with our clients – understanding not only their technology, but their business strategy as a whole. With a full understanding of the business, the team is able to make decisions, both big and small, that positively impact client’s future. In other words, clients know Resultant is always acting with the right business context and goals in mind.
On the flip side, our team provides the best work for clients who proactively extend trust to the team. Whether it’s sharing a business strategy, listening to technology roadmap advice, or providing information to our Helpdesk team, clients who know and trust that we are always doing our best to serve them boost our ability to do just that.
Tips on building trust:
- Ask questions along the way
- Avoid bringing a predetermined solution to the table
- Be open and honest about business and technology challenges
Transparency and trust go hand in hand. The more clients trust their technology provider, likely, the more transparent they will be about their business. The more open and honest clients are about budget and current business and technology challenges, as well as providers are about timelines and potential roadblocks, the better results will be.
Ultimately, our goal is to assist clients in simplifying technology and aligning technology to business goals. To successfully achieve this, we work to holistically understand our client’s business strategy, which means they should be willing to share information such as the following:
- Any challenges going to market
- Long-term strategy and plans
- Whether the business is growing or shrinking
- Recent changes to workflows or processes
- Recent changes to organization leadership
From transparency into cost, controls, processes, and current challenges, the more information provided, the more well-crafted and accurate the solution our team provides will be.
Tips on transparency:
- Be open and honest about the business situation
- Provide critical pieces of information upfront
- Bring a strong desire to align technology with overarching business strategy
Communication, when proactive and timely for both parties involved, is the anchor that allows great work to get done.
To communicate effectively, our team has established communication protocols with which we live and breathe by. This includes:
- Status updates on weekly progress
- Discussion of what is currently in the pipeline
- Regular conversation around how the business is doing
- Clear statement of expectations and timelines
Additionally, the team fends off any issues that happen in real time. All of the above is taken care of by an established Resultant project champion or main point of contact. For the best results, we ask clients to determine an individual to serve as their internal project champion to help facilitate communication.
Clients are also asked to:
- Provide advance notice regarding new undertakings
- Communicate deadlines within realistic timeframes
- Report an issue as soon as possible
- Communicate a change in the business
When proactive and timely, communication is a powerful tool that can help drive change, and requires equal participation from both parties involved.
Tips on effective communication:
- Establish a main point of contact
- Respond in a timely manner (generally within 24 hours pending the severity of the situation)
- Maintain proactive communication regarding business changes or IT challenges as they arise
Synergy is defined as the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects (Source: Google).
In essence, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
But this is only true if there is alignment. When working with a technology provider, a great client recognizes that technology is a strategic asset that can help them achieve business goals. The best clients are willing to listen to good advice, ask the right questions, and drive technology forward within their organizations. This is all possible through trust, transparency, and effective communication amongst both parties.