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In my last article, I spoke about how I frequently encounter a broken relationship between a business and its IT MSP (managed service provider).

The business believes that the breakdown is the IT provider’s fault.

And this may be true.

But it’s not always the case.


It’s not them. It’s you.

To understand why this happens so frequently, we need to consider how most businesses select their IT service provider.

Most ‘real world’ businesses do not know enough about IT to know the difference between a good service provider and a bad one.

So, most businesses select their IT MSP based on price.


You want cheap? No problem!

Therefore, a common way for an IT MSP to win business is to be one of the cheapest options.

And the best way to be cheap is:

  • To focus on the smallest set of services necessary to keep the IT ‘lights on’, and
  • To operate on a reactive basis.


In layman’s terms, this means…

If it ain’t (obviously) broken… don’t (assume there’s budget available to) fix it.


A relationship between a business and its IT MSP is almost doomed to fail from the moment the business selects its IT MSP on the basis of price.


Penny-wise and Pound-foolish.

We need to recognise that picking an IT provider on the basis of price is no longer an appropriate approach for most any businesses.

Organisations without IT or cybersecurity expertise in-house need to engage with IT service provider(s) who can commit to performing a consistent set of activities to establish and maintain a reliable and secure service.


I don’t mean hollow statements from IT service providers about wanting to be a true business partner.

I am talking about:

  • Detailed contractual commitments, with
  • Evidence (i.e. specific metrics) provided on a proactive and frequent basis to demonstrate these commitments are being met, and
  • Financial consequences if these metrics demonstrate persistently poor levels of service or security.


In return for these specific commitments, we must be prepared to pay the IT service provider a reasonable fee, so they are incentivised to do a good job rather than a god-awful job.


You get what you pay for.


PS As ‘The IT Interpreter’, I frequently work with a business and its IT service provider(s) to define clear contractual and service obligations, ensuring everyone is clear on their responsibilities. I also provide (IT) relationship counselling, to help you rebuild your relationship with your IT service provider(s). Where a relationship is broken beyond repair, I am also a great matchmaker, enabling you to move on to a better (IT) relationship!

If you ever need my help, I’m here.