ProviDyn’s Checklist for a Meaningful IT Needs Analysis

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February 8, 2021

Getting organized

Taking inventory of your IT assets shouldn’t be an exercise in drudgery. If you have any feelings of hesitation, this six-point checklist will put your mind at ease.

Integris’s goal is to set the stage to make this endeavor, and future IT service evaluation projects, a lot easier to manage.

Each section describes the core discovery exhibits we’d like to examine, along with the business impact we hope to identify and illuminate.

The more information we can collect, the better we’ll be able to estimate fees and start formulating initial recommendations.

We don’t need to see specific pricing information, so please redact any cost details you don’t care to share.

1 – Your Existing Contract

Getting a specific idea of your baseline services is priority number one. We need to make sure we have visibility into all critical service details.

There’s another big reason: MSP contracts can be confusing. These lengthy documents are not designed with the casual reader in mind.

We can quickly help you decode the lawyer lingo and confirm you are not locked into an auto-renewal.

Many businesses go through lengthy evaluations with several MSPs only to find they can’t make a move without onerous financial penalties.

In many instances, MSPs require payment of your monthly amount times the number of months remaining in your contract.

2 – Monthly Service Invoices

You may have added or removed services since you signed a contract with your current MSP.

Monthly service invoices will help us understand any changes in order to provide an up to date assessment of where you are today.

The focus is on capturing an accurate inventory of the here and now.

3 – Project Services Invoices

Servers, software, cloud applications, workstations, firewalls, switches, wireless access points, and other components of your IT infrastructure change over time.

If you follow guidelines based on each digital asset’s useful life, your new MSP will have a much easier time managing your IT systems and users. As a result, they will charge you less.

Figuring out what you have recently renewed, upgraded, or replaced provides clear insights into what you will need moving forward.

We can also identify problem areas and make recommendations for you to reduce risk immediately.

4 – IT Roadmaps

Sometimes called IT Plans or included in IT plans (the terminology can vary), the presence of an IT roadmap demonstrates a higher level of operating maturity.

When you work with an MSP that invests the time and attention into preparing a strategic blueprint like this, they help you solve business problems. They’re not just a technology vendor.

If you don’t have one, tomorrow is always a new day. If you do, it will most certainly have information an MSP can use to formulate pointed questions and diagnose gaps.

Learn More: IT Roadmap Templates

5 – Network Diagrams

Almost always included in IT plans, a network diagram (especially one that is up to date) can very quickly get all of your IT stakeholders on the same page.

This visual representation of your digital estate helps a prospective MSP confirm that each item aligns with its counterparts on your contract, your monthly service fee invoices, and project fee invoices.

Failure to reconcile can get expensive.

For example, if you migrated from Exchange Server to Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory Services last quarter, your network diagram and billing amounts should reflect this architectural adjustment.

Learn More: Network Diagram Software

6 – Support Contracts & Warranty Information

Staying current with a wide range of support agreements and warranties can be challenging. Even the most organized among us have a hard time keeping track of every technology vendor.

The difficulty increases when you have several dozen unique IT assets with different useful lifespans and renewal dates.

If you are organized and up to date in this arena, you have developed an impressive discipline to ensure your business enabling technology is serviceable.

You also have access to updates and bug fixes to enhance performance, strengthen security, and accelerate repair times.

This makes it less expensive for an MSP to support you since they will not be spinning their wheels troubleshooting with technology vendors who aren’t contractually bound to assist in the resolution process.

Learn More: Warranties & Support

Next Steps?

Thorough documentation is the exception rather than the rule in the MSP world. And we’re working hard to make a difference in this area (and many others).

As a concluding problem-solving suggestion, can you think of any recent IT recommendations from your MSP that stalled?

What have you said “no” to?

  • A migration to Microsoft 365?
  • Adopting Single Sign-On (SSO)?
  • Implementing Cyber Security Awareness Training?
  • Ditching a legacy data backup solution?

It would be valuable to consider the reasons behind your decision.

Integris has been around since 2008, and we’ve seen more than our fair share of fantastic IT recommendations – from competitors!

You may be currently supported by an excellent organization. And we’re not afraid to point this out if we feel you may be making a lateral move.

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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