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Most people go on dates in order to find a long-term, fulfilling relationship with the potential for growth. Not to be used or taken advantage of. Nor do they simply want a partner to while away the years with the same old routines. Responsible dating is a discovery process worthy of our best efforts.

And yet because long-term relationships are so valuable, there’s no way that two people can determine long-term compatibility on the first date. That’s why people rely on customs and cues to help them navigate the exciting, but serious world of dating. Did he put his best foot forward? Was he well-groomed and punctual? Did she have good manners? Did she leave her phone in her purse? Do you feel safe spending time with this person?

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If you’re wise, you won’t expect perfection, but you should expect a level of determination from the other person that respects your time, your preferences, and your goals for the future. You’re not dating to be rescued from loneliness or to satisfy social pressures. You’re dating to build something.

The same can be said for any recurring service provider. You don’t want a business relationship that’s one-sided. And you don’t want to be “rescued” in any sense.

But that’s exactly what happens when you wait for your technology to break before calling someone to fix it. This break-fix method can get you out of a jam, but it’s going to cost you more. The fix won’t align with long-term technology goals. It’s just kicking the can down the road. And it might make other providers who could do a better job shy away from you in favor of serious clients.

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Just as some people only date to have a good time in the present, there are IT Providers who are looking to meet their monthly sales quotas. They will sell you cheap, refurbished equipment. They won’t communicate with you about how your systems are running. And they won’t support you within minutes of your request.

A true professional will be like a good date. No Ghosting. A Managed Service Provider with chops will make you feel confident about your technology. They will give you a roadmap for the future that is robust, but flexible.

Imagine a would-be partner who only brings their preferences to the table. They take you out to dinner at a locally famous seafood restaurant. But you don’t really like fish. And your date says, “You must try it. I brought 3 other people here this week and each loved it!”

Really? It’s time to find an exit!

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What is a Managed Service Provider?

Managed Services is a term you might not be familiar with. Technically, a managed service provider (MSP) is any organization that provides services for your organization per your requirements. Usually, this means technology support, but there are MSPs for staffing, payroll, and accounting. Nevertheless, MSP is a term you should remember when you want a single company to provide comprehensive technology services. That’s how the true professionals refer to themselves, and your search will go more smoothly if you start there.

How to Find an MSP Match Made in Heaven

A good MSP will have social proof of their results with other clients. Kudos, testimonials, and positive reviews should be easy to find. And since they are looking for a good client match, they won’t be bothered by the fact that you’ve been researching and asking for other proposals.

Another good sign is when the MSP has many years of experience. They’ve seen decades of technological change and they’ve been able to keep some clients for many years. Yet, they won’t be afraid to let clients go when it’s not working out. Another aspect of experience is industry. An MSP without meaningful experience in healthcare IT, or education, will lack knowledge of your particular needs and compliance requirements.

Another important thing to look for in an IT service provider is responsiveness. Things can go wrong with IT systems at any time, and you need to know that your provider will be available to help you resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

A responsive IT service provider will have a team of experts on call 24/7 so that you can get the help you need when you need it. And every one of your employees will have access to a ticketing system. Even then, they may not have to use it because a good MSP will be proactively monitoring the processes on all your computers. A good MSP will see problems before you do and fix them before they become downtime for your company.

But the most important sign of a professional Managed IT provider is flexibility. As business owners, they know that your current budget might not be prepared for necessary changes. Nevertheless, they will have a knack for knowing how to focus their efforts and solve problems in clever ways piece by crucial piece.

Please note: Flexibility does not mean having a cavalier attitude about your network infrastructure. The installation should be neat and orderly with everything labeled. If you find an IT provider that does not keep things tidy in the server room, head for the hills! As we like to say: If the network looks like a jumbled mess on the outside, you can be sure that it will be a bigger mess on the inside.

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A flexible MSP is one that makes the necessary preparations to serve a client with expertise and per their requirements. Often, we discover that a critical piece of hardware is in danger of failing. We always keep quality equipment on hand because quality equipment might not be available from a retailer in an emergency. Changes to network infrastructure can cause downtime, so your MSP needs to have tools and backup equipment to cycle in new hardware without disrupting operations. You simply won’t find that level of service with an inexperienced IT provider.

Preparing for your Perfect MSP Match

To get the most out of dating, you must prepare yourself, and the same is true for partnering with an MSP. Mostly, this comes down to independence and mindset. When a person is dating, they need to be able to stand on their own before they can stand side-by-side with someone else. An organization needs to go into an MSP relationship with financial resources and clear goals, even if there are pressing IT problems to solve.

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And the proper mindset for business leaders is this:

You must believe that IT is more than just a cost to be minimized. It’s a reality of modern business that you need to embrace. Your technology infrastructure and the people who manage it are strategic assets to be leveraged so your business grows and achieves its goals. With the right MSP, you can go from surviving to thriving, with an incredibly powerful impact on efficiency and profits.

At DatCom Biztech Solutions, we want to be a good date and a long-term partner.