Enterprises hoping to maximize return on their AV tech investments are increasingly turning to managed service partners (MSP) who will offer continued support and specialty services after the purchase of their products. The devil is in the details, however, and those considering signing with a prospective MSP should make sure they ask these vital questions before they pull the trigger.
- What Exactly Does the SLA Cover?
Knowing everything that your service level agreements (SLA) cover (and don’t cover) is the first step in figuring out whether or not your prospective MSP is the choice for your organization. An SLA will detail everything from security features and guaranteed response times to accountability assignation in the event of a situation. Nebulous SLAs can cause confusion, on the other hand, and systems may remain down for much longer than they need to as both entities try to figure out who is responsible for doing what. Other provisions, such as equipment loans in the face of repairs or replacement, can also be hammered out in the SLA. Perhaps the most important thing to remember and to consider is whether or not your MSP is willing to customize its agreements and services to suit your specific needs—the best ones will.
- Will Remote Monitoring and Testing Be Provided?
A good MSP will provide both remote testing of each component of your AV system as well as monitoring of the system’s overall status. Closed-loop tests will periodically power up and exercise critical systems, actively reporting on and weeding out problems such as deterioration of image or microphone quality. If one of these systems or its components is acting wonky, you’ll want to be notified in real-time so that you can initiate repairs before the business is impacted.
- Is 24 Hour Certified Support Provided?
If your MSP does indeed discover a problem, will your they be able to provide an industry-certified support team around-the-clock? Any MSP worth its salt will provide a dedicated team at your beck and call to provide 24-hour, certified support with real-time diagnosis and repair for failing systems.
- Will On-Site Technical Support and Facility Management Be Provided?
There will be times that resolution is beyond the scope of your on-site team. At that point, you will need qualified technicians for on-site assistance. Some MSPs will provide a full-time collaborator stationed on your premises while others will offer a contractual coordinator for one-off events, conferences, or other situations as governed by your SLA. Some MSPs will also offer facility management services, including managing minor systems additions and upgrades as well as the ability to prep, monitor, and maintain venues as well as equipment. Your SLA should include a detailed accounting for all of this.
- Will Detailed Data Reports and Analytics Be Provided?
A good MSP will provide its customer with detailed reports concerning their services. In addition to finding out whether or not your prospective MSP provides these reports, you’ll want to inquire as to what you should expect to see in them and how often you can expect them. You will also want to know if your MSP will send the report or if you’ll have to log in and view them through a portal. With the right data-derived analytics, these reports can track things such as system and room usage and performance levels, allowing you to make intelligent and informed business moves in the future.
Of course, this list is not the be-all and end-all. If there are any specific points that you feel foggy about, always ask your MSP to clarify them for you. Nothing is worse than getting locked into a contract with an MSP that can’t accommodate the needs you hired them to fill.
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