How one St. Louis practice shed an underperforming managed IT services provider (MSP) and the questions to ask so you don’t end up in the same situation.
Relationship challenges occasionally happen, even between businesses.
It’s frustrating when a potential vendor promises epic solutions to all your problems, but over the course of months or years prove themselves not up to the task. This was the case for M. C., owner of a St. Louis healthcare practice. She recently sought the help of Anderson Technologies to replace her managed services provider of over a decade. “I was pretty loyal to them,” M. C. says, “but it was nightmare after nightmare for ten years.”
A self-described workaholic, M. C. didn’t have time to spend worrying about the technology that carried her practice. “IT is the skeleton of [most] businesses in America today. If you don’t have it, then your practice has no skeleton. It’s just a floppy amoeba.” Much like the revenue lost during business downtime, time wasted waiting for computers to meet performance expectations or techs to return your phone call is a drain on your business’s resources.
Your managed IT services provider (MSP) should be working with you, not against you. According to M. C., an MSP and the work they do for your business should feel like “a blessing from God.” Here are four questions you should be asking to determine whether or not your MSP relationship is benefiting your business.
Are they professional? Can I unequivocally trust them in my office and home?
M.C.’s relationship with her former MSP started with a trusted colleague’s recommendation. System administrators were in and out of her office and home, providing service on her internal systems and home workstations for remote connectivity. Her practice used specific programs and hardware daily. It was essential that these functions were reliable and safe for patients.
“Anyone with an EMR [electronic medical records] system really needs to have the best IT possible,” M. C. says.
If you don’t have good IT, you’re out of luck.”
It was when M. C. needed to move her practice to a new location that she realized how many problems the vendor had overlooked or, in some cases, caused.
“I had just spent $10k getting all new computers and they still weren’t working,” M. C. recalls. “They recommended that I change phone systems to save money, but what they actually did is cut out my fax and the phone situation just got worse.” These issues surfaced when one of M. C.’s employees pointed out that on the day of the install, the MSP only spent ten minutes on-site. Along with a few other questionable interactions with the MSP’s team at her home, M. C. began to lose complete trust.
Are they communicating effectively?
After M. C. realized the extent of her technical problems, she reached out to the owner of the company, a person she felt she could trust. However, the owner wouldn’t acknowledge that his employees had been careless and made mistakes.
Aside from her annoyance with the work the company did do, it was often difficult to reach help during her early and long work hours. “I was at the point where I had to demand they come and fix things,” M. C. says. Communication breakdown reached a head when M. C. contacted the owner once more, only to be berated. “I had spent thousands of dollars at this point, and all he had to say was, ‘Why are you bothering me? You’re a demanding client.’”
Are they taking ownership of their work and keeping detailed records of all solutions?
One reason problems weren’t getting resolved was because the MSP seemed very unorganized. Every time M. C. or one of her employees contacted the company about a problem, they acted like they had never stepped foot in the office, let alone replaced all the hardware.
“Troubleshooting was nearly impossible,” M. C. says. “After ten years they knew nothing. No organization, no blueprints of what I had, what went where.” The company also constantly insisted on upgrades to the practice’s hardware, but would replace them with old computers that were clearly used and not up to enterprise standards. Hardware replacement policies are a common MSP requirement, but the level of disorganization around the “new” computers they were recommending seemed suspicious. “It’s like there were no records of any improvements or work done.”
Mark Anderson stresses with importance of industry software and documentation with Business News Daily.
Are they keeping their promises?
It took ten long years for M. C. to face the facts: her business relationship with her MSP was no longer serving her well. The promises the MSP made at the beginning of their partnership had never been realized. “My practice’s management system was still getting popups and crashing, computers were still slow and congested, we still had outdated hardware, no fax, scanners, or remote connectivity,” M. C. describes. “Systems were still so slow, and even slower when working remotely.”
She felt the managed services company took advantage of her, taking her money and then slapping Band-Aids on problems to conceal the bigger issues. “I was nervous spending the money to start over,” M. C. says. “It’s like getting divorced and finding someone new. For ten years I had the patience of Job, but I think it wasn’t really patience—I was just scared.”
Thankfully, she reached out to Anderson Technologies, which was able to quickly extinguish the immediate fires. “Once Anderson took over, 99% of the problems went away immediately.” Instead of making huge promises at the beginning of the partnership, Mark Anderson and the team developed a strategic action plan to implement long-term improvements.
Anderson Tech is reachable, affable, quick, professional,” M. C. says. “It’s been nothing but professionalism and action, ‘true to their word’ situations. I have never gone this long in my ten years where I didn’t have a problem.”
Now that M. C.’s IT infrastructure is efficient, reliable, and secure, she can focus on her clients and allowing her business to really grow over the next ten years. Thousands of dollars and a decade of frustration later, M. C.’s practice is building a new relationship with Anderson Technologies: “I wish I had met you ten years ago!”
To find out more about reevaluating your IT partnership, give Anderson Technologies a call today. We can be reached at 314.394.3001, and look forward to hearing from you.