Does your managed services provider handle all of your technology needs?

We were recently called into a new client who needed help with their phone system.  Our IT ninjas have no fear; we agreed to take a look.  The system turned out to be an older but not ancient Avaya PBX.  The client had no idea how it was configured and thus could not make even the most basic changes.

The PBX had a LAN port, but inexplicably was not connected to the LAN.  We figured out the details of how to connect it temporarily to the LAN and provided configuration details and some instruction on how to make simple changes.  This turned out to be all they really needed for now.

We discussed how to make the LAN connection permanent and it was at that point that the client mentioned to us that they had a third party IT group providing managed services.  This MSP, however, wanted nothing to do with the phone system, literally not wanting to even touch it.

Now, it’s completely understandable for an MSP to not be intimately familiar with every type of technology that might be installed in any client site.  It is completely inexcusable, however, for any MSP to be unwilling or unable to conduct a basic investigation of any technology asset.

It is also completely understandable for an MSP to be unfamiliar with specific, uncommon hardware components or especially industry-specific or custom software applications.  However, a good MSP will recognize such shortcomings and ensure they have partners who can step in when needed.

The whole point of an MSP is to provide a comprehensive set of services for its clients, ensuring peace of mind.  This particular client depended heavily on their phone system and had no support for it whatsoever.  Its MSP told them, in so many words, “you’re on your own.”  We were not contacted by the MSP, basically the client called a friend who called us.

Having said all of that, it is not unusual for even the best MSP’s to carve specific components out of its regular services and bill for support on an ad-hoc basis.  Regardless, your MSP should be the only person you should have to call when you have a technology issue.

We ended up having to talk to the MSP about getting the phone system permanently onto the network.  It turned out to be somewhat difficult to explain this very simple task.  This is probably indicative of the overall skill set of the MSP.  They can’t handle the simple stuff they come across every day, it’s no wonder they don’t want to touch something outside of their comfort zone.