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Is your managed service provider performing? Here’s how to tell

Today, a growing number of businesses partner with a managed service provider to ensure access to the skills they need to thrive. However, organisational needs can fast outstrip the capabilities of staffing partners – particularly in times of heightened uncertainty. And with most MSP contracts having a duration of at least three years, it’s likely that a lot has changed since you appointed your current provider.

It can be all too easy to find comfort in familiarity. However, the reality is that - for businesses with complex resourcing requirements - service agreements that were signed a few years ago may no longer be fit for purpose. This can have a detrimental impact on your business’s competitiveness, bottom line, and future.

Now is the time to evaluate your current managed service provider and see where you may achieve enhanced cost savings, process efficiencies, and risk mitigation.

You can begin by taking a step back and asking where your MSP is right now.

Is your current managed service provider still up to scratch?

Historically, managed service providers have been valued for the level of visibility and control they offer, along with providing the opportunity to reduce costs. Today, though, it’s no longer enough to get just these things from your programme or provider. The world is advancing, and your workforce management strategy must too.

Change is coming from a variety of sources, including:

  • Your business’s strategy – it’s unlikely you’ll have stood still as a business, so your approach to workforce planning and utilising temporary and contract labour is also likely to be different.
  • Your firm’s procedures – changes in management teams can result in revisions to working practices. The MSP you have now may need to be managed in a completely different way in the future.
  • The external landscape – political, economic, social, technological, legislative, and environmental changes coupled with the very competitive nature of doing business in the new normal.

With this in mind, now is the time to reassess how your talent strategy and delivery partners fit with your current and future organisational objectives.

When questioning the ongoing suitability of your existing managed service provider, it is important to assess their performance over the entire duration of the contract. The reason for this is simple: if the MSP is meeting your requirements and has been a trusted provider, the quality of the relationship should be better now than at the start of the contract term. If not, and problems have persisted throughout, then that must be addressed.

Here are just some of the questions to ask about your existing managed service provider to determine if the partnership is still fit for purpose. You must always base your answers to the questions on factual information, which should include management information reports provided to you on a periodic or real-time basis.

How has the MSP performed against the contractual key performance indicators?

First things first, identify if your existing managed service provider consistently meets agreed key performance indicators. These should include rudimentary metrics including time-to-hire and cost-per-hire, as outlined in the contract, as well as any specific KPIs that have been decided.

Check records to determine if other contractual obligations have been met throughout the agreement, for example compliance with payment terms.

Have the levels of fulfilment met our requirements?

There is no question that top talent is more elusive than ever before. However, the best managed service providers will have technology, strategies, and processes in place to ensure they can continue to meet your talent requirements.

Question your departmental heads, especially those with high reliance on temporary workers or statement of work projects, to see if they are happy with the fulfilment rates and speed of hiring delivered by your incumbent provider. At this point, it may also be worth enquiring if they are finding it easy to manage staffing budgets under existing contracts.

Has the MSP been a trusted partner and expert, with solutions to our challenges?

Ask yourself if your MSP offers a true consultancy service. Is it a trusted advisor, which you can rely on to deliver innovative solutions to your challenges? If the answer is no, it may be time to look elsewhere.

Today, your managed service provider should be able to offer support around IR35 legislation, innovative suggestions of how to best tap into fresh talent pools, and insight into contemporary talent management models - as well as advice on project management, technical support, and managed security.

Has the managed service provider aligned itself and fitted into our business culture?

Truly successful partnerships can only be achieved when both parties share a similar ethos and values. Can your business and your managed service provider have constructive conversations and hold each other to account to work towards shared goals? Day-to-day, does your MSP demonstrate that it is an ethical business with a commitment to innovation or the environment? And has your MSP contributed positively towards any equalities or diversity monitoring?

Whatever your business’s mission, you’ll need like minded individuals to achieve your objectives. A staffing partner that understands and respects your principles will be best placed to identify and secure talent that does as well.

Has the MSP been able to adapt and change with our business over time?

As a business expands and diversifies, so too does its talent requirements – and legacy service level agreements can quickly become unfit for purpose.

Ask internal stakeholders if they are still able to achieve their departmental objectives through existing MSP contracts. For example, is the MSP providing them with enhanced levels of workforce flexibility or cover during busy periods?

Also question if your current programme has the digital capability you need to compete for – and manage – workforces most effectively. Does the technology used by the MSP integrate into your wider systems? Does the interface the MSP offers enable remote monitoring and management through the cloud? How is data collected, stored, analysed, and used? And does the provider offer 24/7 support?

Make an informed decision with our complete guide

The talent acquisition landscape has developed significantly in recent years, and only through establishing if your current managed service programme and provider are moving with the times can you ensure that your business is able to do the same. At a time when talent shortages are hindering business operations across the UK, the right MSP will ensure you have access to the contingent and permanent labour you need.

By gaining a holistic understanding of your current managed service provider’s performance, you can make an objective decision on whether now is the time to review, revise, or even rip-up existing service agreements.

Get our full guide to the five steps to evaluate your current managed service provider for more questions you need to ask - and what to do with the answers.

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