Managed IT Services: 3 Negotiating Tips to Avoid Getting Locked-In

Kathleen Allardyce
B2B Freelance Writer

Image of a lock

If it seems like everyone is moving to the cloud, it’s because they are. According to Mordor Intelligence, the global Managed IT Services market value in 2020 was $152.05 billion, and they estimate that it will reach $274.20 billion by 2026.

Businesses of all sizes and in all industries are flocking to Managed IT Service providers to get the expertise they need to migrate to and manage their cloud operations. These businesses want to take advantage of lower costs, better support, easy scaling, and more.

What they don’t want is to become locked-in to one Managed IT Services vendor.

What is Vendor Lock-In?

Vendor lock-in is a term people use when they feel like they are dependent on one provider of Managed IT Services. They’re in a situation where changing to another vendor would be too difficult or too costly. 

How to Negotiate to Avoid Lock-in

The time to avoid lock-in is when you sign a contract with a Managed IT Services company. There are three things you can do to avoid a long-term lock-in.

1. Negotiate for Complete Documentation

One way you can get locked-in is if no one in your organization knows how to manage your IT services.  You will be delegating the management of your systems to your vendor. But, if no one on your permanent team understands how the management processes work, you’ll be crippled if you want to move to another vendor.

Make sure that the Managed IT Services firm commits to providing you with thorough documentation of the processes and procedures they follow. You should also insist that the vendor devotes time to knowledge transfer to keep your permanent team up to speed. If something does happen that prompts you to change vendors, your staff will be able to manage the system in the interim.

2. Negotiate for Regular Reports

Your Managed IT Services vendor should plan to provide you with regular reports about the health of your systems. One benefit of these reports is that you can keep tabs on how well the vendor is managing your systems and spot problems, hopefully before you’re tempted to move to another vendor. Another benefit is that your vendor won’t be tempted to let maintenance or other issues slide because they know that you will be monitoring their efforts on a regular basis.

3. Negotiate for Quarterly Business Reviews

You should work with a Managed IT Services vendor who wants to ensure your success. Holding quarterly business reviews is one good way for you and the vendor to get together in a formal setting to review how well the managed services are meeting your business goals. This review goes beyond regular reporting.

The purpose of the quarterly business review is to bring together essential decision-makers and IT personnel from both the client organization and the service provider. It gives everyone the opportunity to review the last quarter’s performance:

  • assess performance levels
  • discuss achievements and outstanding issues
  • develop a roadmap for the next quarter.

Your contract should contain service level agreements (SLAs). You want to ensure that the vendor is meeting those SLAs. If the vendor isn’t meeting SLAs, you can identify a plan for correcting the problem. Make sure to review the following:

  • Backup status. Confirm that your data is safe and safely backed up.
  • Open Projects. Review the milestones that were achieved and the plans going forward.
  • Trouble Tickets. Review the number of tickets, and how quickly they are resolved.
  • Cyber Security. Review network and data security history.
  • Overall Network Uptime. Assess whether network uptime meets SLAs.
  • Server Patch Status. Track whether patches are made on a timely basis.

Where Do You Go from Here?

If you’re in the process of selecting a Managed IT Services provider, Indellient has the expertise and resources you need, but only when you need them. We work at providing you with total visibility to reduce risks, improve your satisfaction, and manage costs.

Get in Touch Today

About The Author

Kathleen Allardyce

Kathleen Allardyce is a freelance B2B writer who specializes in writing for Managed Services, SaaS, and Cloud Consulting companies.