What to Expect with Managed IT (5 Simple Truths)


Understanding five simple truths will help you know exactly what to expect with Managed IT.

Several factors cause the quality of your Managed IT service to ebb and flow.

With that sobering statement out in the open, I will review five interrelated truths to explain why peaks and valleys are inevitable; and what you can do to reduce the ebbs, increase the flows, and minimize disillusionment.

The following five terms are frequently mentioned in conversations with your managed IT service provider (MSP):

  1. Quality of Service (QoS)
  2. Responsiveness
  3. Standards
  4. Best Practices
  5. Projects

Each mutually interdependent topic has a backstory. Once you understand how they intersect, you’ll be in a much better position to avoid surprises.

And I won’t be holding back. I’ll draw on nearly twenty years of experience to cover what can go well and what can go wrong.


Managed IT Truth #1 – QoS

Managed IT service quality applies to the health and wellness of your IT systems and technical support.

Vibrant IT systems are fast, secure, efficient, and easy to use. When they aren’t, your MSP’s service desk lights up with tickets.

Learn More: Solve Persistent IT Problems Today


Managed IT Truth #2 – Responsiveness

Businesses need assurance their managed IT provider will engage quickly and respond to problems.

Many variables (some very random and outside your MSP’s control) impact how quickly your IT provider identifies and solves problems.


Managed IT Truth #3 – Standards

Your managed IT partner should architect every endpoint in your IT infrastructure – hardware, software, and applications – to serve the operating needs of your mission.

Non-standard elements (firewalls, switches, desktops, and wireless access points) are more likely to fail and cause Internet outages, service delays, data loss, and cyber breaches.

Learn More: IT Infrastructure Standards


Managed IT Truth #4 – Best Practices

MSPs with time-tested, practical operating guidelines create repeatable best practices around IT system design and support.

Password resets, system updates, Microsoft patching, non-Microsoft (third-party) updates, and how to interact with the help desk are just a few areas where glaring gaps can arise.

Learn More: Top 10 IT Best Practices


Managed IT Truth #5 – Projects

For quality control reasons, managed IT providers handle projects by procuring and reselling authorized hardware, software, and applications through distributors.

And most of the time, clients don’t fully embrace the pricing rationale. Although not quite as frustrating as working with a bunch of contractors on a master bathroom renovation, overhauling and modernizing your IT systems can be complicated, confusing, and stressful.

Although it’s fairly straightforward; a procurement markup for the extension of credit plus a fixed rate for labor, the final pricing is always different than the results that show up in Google searches. While these results don’t reflect an apples-to-apples comparison, extra time and attention are required to remove client skepticism.

Last but not least, even the best-planned projects like a workstation refresh may have some loose ends.

“Incompatibility issues arise with new software and aging devices, and vice versa. We go through a series of investigative steps to ensure compatibility, but sometimes the client doesn’t mention they’re using outdated hardware or software. So we have to scramble to provide them the appropriate support and equipment to bridge that gap.”

– Stephen Jones, Integris Support Engineer


What’s Next?

Your relationship with your MSP is a continuum with ups and downs.

Have you standardized your systems? Are you following best practices? Do you trust your IT provider to provide honest and fair pricing? Is it laid out in plain English?

Mastering these details unleashes dramatic upward momentum.

The right MSP can help you achieve equilibrium, but they should also be frank about potential tensions that may arise from time to time.

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

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