When it comes to deploying and maintaining their IT infrastructure, most small and mid-sized Australian businesses are likely to take advantage of a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
MSPs offer a mix of industry knowledge and experience that allows them to select the most appropriate hardware and software to meet a business’s particular requirements. They also have the skills needed to keep those components fully functional at all times.
However, when it comes to procurement of voice services, many businesses opt to have a direct relationship with a telecommunications company. They figure it makes sense as it’s the telco’s area of expertise.
However, this situation is now changing. As voice services increasingly become digital, they are traversing the same networks that are used for business applications and data traffic.
As a result, increasing numbers of businesses are questioning the need for having a separate relationship with a telco. They’re investigating the prospect of sourcing their voice and unified communications services from their existing MSP.
A trusted advisor
Having a good MSP in place is much like having access to a trusted technical advisor. They are able to critically assess your business’s specific requirements and then procure voice and UC services that match.
There are some key reasons why an MSP is a much better choice than a direct telco relationship. These reasons include:
- No finger pointing: If your data network is being managed by one provider and voice services delivered by another, there can be a blame game if and when problems arise. Procuring both from a single provide ensures that this situation does not occur.
- A stronger relationship: A small business can feel like little more than a number when dealing with a large telco. A better relationship can be formed with an MSP who will take the time to understand your business and treat you more as an individual.
- Customised solutions: Large telcos are unlikely to shy away from their standard service offerings. Their attitude is that you take what they offer or move somewhere else. An MSP can tailor their offering for you through customisation and, if required, sourcing components from multiple vendors. This can mean much better utilisation of IT budgets.
- Better integration: Voice and UC services are increasingly being integrated with existing business software applications. Because MSPs are already managing this infrastructure, they will be much better placed to ensure this integration is completed effectively and operates the way it should from the outset.
- More flexible contracts: Most large telcos prefer customers to enter into long-term and inflexible service contracts. MSPs, on the other hand, are likely to be able to offer much shorter terms and flexible conditions, including performance guarantees and service level agreements. This can be invaluable for a business that is growing rapidly or changing the nature of its operations.
- Improved economies of scale: When a business opts to have more services delivered by their MSP, they are likely to enjoy better discounts due to their higher spend. This won’t be the case if voice and UC services are obtained from a different provider.
Clearly there are some significant benefits available, but it’s important that the business has the right MSP in place. Take time to ensure they support all the voice and UC services they are offering, and are certified by relevant vendors.
Also, be sure to check whether they can provide support throughout your hours of business operation. Problems that occur on a Saturday afternoon are not likely to be able to wait until Monday morning to be resolved.
Check also that they have geographic coverage that your business needs. If you have offices in Brisbane, Perth, and Melbourne, make sure you can service these locations and scale as your business grows.
Spend time to get some referrals from the MSP’s existing client base. This will provide you with a clear picture of the quality of their services and responsiveness to resolving issues that arise.
At the end of the day, remember that not all MSPs are equal. However, by selecting the one that is the best fit for your business, you can enjoy the significant benefits of having both IT and voice services managed by a single organisation.