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Choosing a managed services provider: Money matters

Posted by Hannah Manning on Wed, Jul 26, 2017

It’s hard to know which managed services provider (MSP) is best for your company when the pool to choose from is really more like an ocean.

If you find yourself, say, stranded on a flimsy raft in the middle of said ocean you may feel a considerable amount of confusion and even fatigue over how these MSPs are different from each other.

Sure, no wave in an ocean is the exact same as another – but they all look alike and they all do the same thing. Right?

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be discussing crucial elements to consider while making that important decision.

(If you don’t understand exactly what an MSP is there for, it may help to read this blog post by NSK Vice President of Marketing and Sales Cathie Briggette which explains what an MSP can do for you.)

managed services provider.jpg

IT and fruit salad

NSK Business Development Associate Monica DeStefano says that a huge part of why it’s so difficult to see the differences between providers is because of exactly that: at face value, all MSPs seem to provide the exact same services.

So where do the differences happen?

DeStefano refers to assessments between MSPs as apples to oranges comparisons. The differences are actually so staggering that it is difficult to judge them on an equal playing field. Even if two managed service providers provide the same services, the way they go about business could be so different that they cannot even be compared.

That may seem implausible, but allow us to shed light on where this really comes into play: pricing.

Base prices and “extra services”

Different MSPs all have a way of billing for their services that is unique to them. Some have standard base prices which can cost up to $180-$200 for each hour of work, and others include services into an inclusive package.

The first example may charge for each instance where services are needed whereas the second option bundles services that you may need one day.

We can identify those two business models as reactive and proactive, respectively. We’ll explore this topic more in-depth in a future blog post.

NSK has an all-in seat price, often referred to as an AISP. This means that we charge by the person, not by each device we give you.

  • Each and every one of your employees will be covered by us – their work devices will be secure, the network up to date and we include consulting services for monitoring, maintaining and keeping the technology for your business fresh on a quarterly basis and even five years down the line.
  • Since you are charged by how many employees that you have, it is easier for you to anticipate costs.
    • You get as DeStefano put it, “the whole kit and caboodle for one person.”

While NSK bundles many different services into their one package, other IT companies may choose to add on extra fees to perform reactive services.

Some services that other MSPs may charge extra for:

  • Consulting services
  • On-site hours
    • Maintenance, emergency situations, etc.
  • Setting up devices for new employees

Guess what we charge for those extra services?

Nothing. Because those services are included in our base package.

Those other providers may offer a lower base price than NSK, but the extra services that you may need could add up over time.

If you don’t want to be surprised by any “extra” services that poke a hole in your pocket you have to do your research and ask each potential candidate to break down their pricing for you.

Learn more about NSK Inc's list of questions to ask MSPs


Image courtesy of bloomua/Shutterstock via Pacific Standard Magazine: https://psmag.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_80%2Cw_660/MTI3NTgyNDAzNDk2NTIwMzIz/statistics.jpg

Tags: Managed Services, IT Services, BostonIT

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