When you’re trying to decide if managed IT services are right for you, it’s important to know what to expect.
And you’ll also want to know how your managed service provider (MSP) will address your problems.
At The KR Group, we have found we solve around 80% of our customers’ problems remotely and only 20% of them require us to go on-site.
Typically, on-site support is the best option for problems with hardware, such as a server failure or an outage.
However, many managed services contracts, including The KR Group’s, incorporate pre-scheduled on-site time as a way to address all types of issues as well as build a relationship with customers.
To help you have as much information as you need about managed services before signing a contract, we have gathered a list of four things you should know about the on-site portion of a contract.
- Why is on-site support important?
- When can you expect on-site assistance?
- How should you use on-site time efficiently?
- What should you do if you need after-hours on-site support?
- What about hybrid IT or home offices?
Reviewing these aspects of on-site support with a managed service contract will help you better determine if this IT option is right for you.
Why Is On-Site Support Important?
Scheduling on-site time allows you to interact with your MSP engineers regularly and see first-hand how they’re monitoring and maintaining your IT environment.
This time guarantees you and your MSP can build a rapport.
When your MSP engineer is on-site, they’ll do more than just resolve any outstanding IT issues. They’ll spend time talking to you and your employees and getting to know you as more than just an email address attached to a support request.
On your MSP’s end, frequent on-site time helps your engineer become acquainted with the layout of your on-premises technology and get to know the unique needs of your company. Plus, it’ll include the level of service you receive since you’re building rapport and a relationship with your MSP’s engineers.
When Can You Expect On-Site Assistance?
As we mentioned above, on-site assistance is one of two ways MSPs address your problems.
The best MSPs work with you to determine how frequently you could benefit from pre-scheduled on-site time.
The frequency of support (weekly, biweekly, or monthly) depends on your unique needs and your MSP’s on-site policy. In general, your MSP will visit more often if you require more on-site assistance and less frequently if you prefer a more hands-off approach with your IT support.
Regardless, you’ll establish a regular cadence of when you can expect an engineer on site.
During this time, your managed services engineer will likely work on a combination of issues that could be solved remotely and on-site.
Of course, MSPs will also come on-site if you have an emergency, such as a server failure or outage, that can’t be solved remotely.
How Can You Use On-Site Time Efficiently?
- Their MSP engineer becomes more than a person behind a screen.
- They can work through problems in person, which is often easier for complex issues.
- They get a chance to see the resolution to their problem.
- Engineers can walk them through the resolution, so they can repeat it on their own if the issue arises again.
The best way to maximize this value is to make the most of the time an engineer is on-site.
At The KR Group, our contracts don’t have a limit on how much on-site time each customer can use, but we do try to work with you to keep it at a reasonable amount of time. (Reasonable is usually somewhere between 10 and 20% of service being remote.)
Other MSPs might have a stricter limit on how much time their engineers can spend on-site, so you’ll want to ask before signing a contract.
Either way, you’ll want to be efficient with the time an engineer is on-site so they can address your (and other customers’) issues in a timely manner.
Some of our tips include:
- Don’t wait for a scheduled on-site visit to bring up problems. Bringing up your issue right away allows you to get quicker remediation and go back to a fully functional IT environment. It also helps your MSP schedule adequate time to address all of your issues.
- Have a list of what you’ll need to resolve during the on-site time. Again, this helps your MSP know what needs to be resolved so they can help you go back to a completely functional IT environment as soon as possible.
- Let your engineer complete one task at a time, unless it is urgent. No one likes to have to stop one task to start another and then return to the original task. Your MSP engineer is no different.
How Do You Request After-Hours, On-Site Support?
With a managed IT services agreement, you have access to one of your provider’s engineers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Some contracts include after-hours, weekend, and holiday support in your monthly rate, but others don’t. This information is available in your contract, or you can reach out to your managed service provider if you’re unsure.
Regardless of if the cost of after-hours IT support is included in your contract or not, when you have an emergency, you’ll need to submit a request to your MSP.
Most MSPs define an after-hours emergency as an event that halts all or a majority of production or operations. A common example is when hardware stops functioning, which prevents your company from accessing any program that was reliant on it.
When you have an after-hours emergency, the best way to request support is by calling your MSP’s service line.
MSP engineers don’t monitor online ticketing systems as closely overnight, but a phone call will immediately alert the on-call engineer that you have an urgent request.
What about Hybrid IT or Home Offices?
How and where we work has shifted dramatically since early 2020.
Now, Gallup estimates 77% of employees work remotely full or part time, leaving only 23% of workers going into an office everyday.
This shift has brought up questions about how MSPs support users who aren’t working in an office.
Generally, MSPs take the stance that they’ll help support user’s laptops and applications. However, home routers, modems, and internet connections are excluded from the scope of managed services contracts.
Additionally, MSPs do not provide on-site support to individual homes, but they can remotely assist individual users regardless of where they’re working from.
What Can You Expect with a Managed IT Services Contract?
Hopefully, you’re feeling more reassured about how your MSP will provide on-site support to your organization.
You know that on-site support is helpful for getting to know your MSP engineers, so they’ll visit your regularly as well as to address hardware issues. However, they won’t visit users’ residences to address issues with home devices.
On-site support is an essential component of your managed IT services contract, but it’s only one aspect to give your attention to. There are many other things you should know before signing a contract, including hardware and software requirements, cost, and contract length.
You can read all about these and more in our complete guide to signing a managed IT services contract.