As a managed IT services customer, you rely on your provider for the day-to-day maintenance of your IT environment. And when you need to add hardware, you can also trust your managed IT services provider (MSP) to recommend and sell you the right solutions.
While you’re not obligated to buy new devices from your MSP, there are many benefits if you do.
As a technology services provider with a managed services department, The KR Group has discussed these advantages with many of our customers. Typically, we highlight the following benefits of purchasing through the customer’s MSP:
- Your MSP knows your IT environment.
- Your MSP has recommended technology for other similar companies.
- You know you’ll get the right product.
- New solutions can be billed with your monthly invoice.
At the end of the day, you get to decide how your purchase new hardware. However, we hope you find the following information helpful in making a decision.
Your Managed IT Service Provider Knows Your IT Environment
Your IT environment requires hours of monitoring and maintenance each week, and the managed IT services engineering team spends that time with your technology. Throughout this process, the engineers learn about the configuration and functions of your IT environment.
So when it comes time to look at adding equipment, your MSP has a good idea of what technology will and won’t work with your existing infrastructure.
Since the managed services team has multiple engineers, you have access to a pool of knowledge. As a result, someone will know what new solution is reliable and compatible with your existing environment.
This means that even if you have older technology or unique needs, your MSP will recommend the appropriate solution, not just the latest and greatest.
One of the reasons you may consider contracting with an MSP in the first place is because you want to stop worrying about your technology. Allowing your MSP to help you with hardware and software purchases is just another aspect of that assistance.
Your MSP Has Recommended Technology for Similar Companies
Your MSP works with other clients who have similar needs to yours, so they can recommend technology that has worked in similar situations.
Since MSPs serve multiple clients, they are aware of common problems across the board and within different categories of customers.
Take industry regulations, for example. MSPs have multiple customers in the financial sector, healthcare sector, manufacturing sector, etc. When it comes to software, such as antivirus, anti-spam, and multi-factor authentication, or hardware, including firewalls, servers, and storage, your MSP will know what has worked for other customers who need to abide by the same rules and regulations you do.
This back-tested knowledge is beneficial when it comes to specific requests as well. By serving a variety of customers, your MSP knows about a variety of technology solutions.
You Know You’ll Get the Right Product
The most common problem customers have when they try to order hardware or software on their own is buying the wrong solutions. Unfortunately, if you’re not paying close attention, you could easily miss the difference between consumer and business editions.
Consumer-grade equipment fails more frequently than enterprise-grade. When it comes to your business, enterprise-grade devices last longer and have fewer disruptions.
If you’re price shopping an MSP’s recommended solution, it’ll often be more expensive than a consumer-grade alternative. However, instead of purchasing the least expensive option, you should ask your MSP why their recommendation costs more.
If you purchase and implement a consumer-grade device, you’ll likely end up with runaway expenses if the solution doesn’t work properly and you need additional support. And, this support may not be included in your managed services agreement.
Making this mistake means you’re paying for equipment that won’t be capable of handling the larger traffic demand of a business and the stricter security protocols required for business needs.
Another issue you could encounter by using consumer-grade solutions in your business’s IT environment is incompatibility with other technology within your environment.
Everything needs to work together to create the best experience for your users, and choosing the wrong hardware can lead to unexpected downtime.
Ultimately, these mistakes prolong the time it takes you to get your new solution implemented into your IT environment and address why you wanted a new device in the first place.
New Solutions Can Be Billed with your Monthly Invoice
Regardless of how you purchase new hardware or software, it isn’t included in the cost of your managed services contract.
MSPs recommend that each year you budget 10-20% of your annual contract price to purchase equipment.
These charges aren’t included in your contract, but if you purchase through an MSP, it is included on the bill.
From an accounting standpoint, this means you have fewer invoices to keep track of, which saves you time.
Purchasing Equipment from a Managed IT Services Provider
When your MSP helps you determine what technology you need to purchase, they can place the order for you.
Some of the pros of this option are:
- It’s one less thing to worry about.
- Your MSP can have the order delivered to their office or directly to you.
- They’ll make sure you get the right technology.
On the flip side, you’re giving up some control, and it can take longer since you’ll need to communicate to your MSP what you want to purchase and then have them order it.
For more information about purchasing hardware or software with an MSP check out “How to Budget for Managed IT Services” or “3 Benefits of Managed Service Provider Hardware Standards and Examples.”