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to look for when selecting an MSP
META group has identified 10 parameters as selection criteria
Technology The technology an MSP uses to support its services
must be identified. META believes it should be a mixture
of off-the shelf capability combined with in-house developed
Process MSPs must have well-defined, reusable operations
processes. Although these processes should enable some customization
on a site-by-site basis, more than 80 percent should remain
constant across the entire customer base.
Infrastructure Coverage Most MSPs have identified key infrastructure
they will manage (e.g. specific operating systems, databases,
Internet). It should be clearly understood what infrastructure
they support and how that maps to current/future customer
Operational Characteristics All MSPs hinge on people to
make the process and technology work. Organizations should
identify how the MSP staff is trained and what qualifications
its employees have (e.g. certifications). In addition, it
should be determined how the staff is organized for example,
can it cover 24x7, and are teams leveraged across clients.
Packaging The service package should be comprehensive and
include process, technology, and personnel commitments.
It should leave no question of exactly what would be performed
by the MSP and what is left to the customer. If the product
package is very thin (e.g. monitor availability and no definition
below that), then that is more likely to mirror a custom
consulting engagement and be more costly as well as not
as efficient as a highly repeatable process.
Comprehensiveness Organizations should understand how comprehensive
an MSP's capability is within a management process, as well
as how far into the organization it pushes (e.g. behind
For example, with performance management, one MSP may offer
only the availability monitoring of a website; another might
monitor the site availability, response time, device availability,
and device performance; and a third might do all the previous
items as well as respond to alarms (and possibly even try
to fix the problem). The deeper the service, the less likely
a customer is going to require additional tools and services,
hence stronger the customer proposition.
Portal Each MSP provides a user access portal; organizations
should identify how usable and understandable it is. They
should also determine how much control over the technology
is available, in case the organization needs to access it
(e.g. can the threshold values be altered, can real-time
data be graphed?)
Partnerships Identifies what channel partnerships are in
place (who is reselling or passing leads to the MSP). Check
whether important partnerships are in place because this
is an indication of long-term viability. META Group expects
50 percent of an MSP's leads to come through channel partnerships.
Price or Value Users should evaluate the relative cost of
the service and the service level agreements (SLAs) offered
versus how fast an organization will see value.
Enterprises should also identify SLA violation penalties
provided in the standard contract as well as what flexibility
the MSP offers (e.g. payment terms). Most MSPs require an
up-front "set-up fee" with services subsequently
based on a monthly fee. Value from MSPs is generally seen
within 60-90 days.
Additional Service Delivery Several MSPs offer additional
services (e.g. hardware procurement, application maintenance,
Capabilities infrastructure architecture). Although these
are extra-cost services, there are advantages to sourcing
them from a single vendor, and that should be considered.
Source: META Group