The In-Depth Guide to Evaluating Oracle Managed Service Providers (Part 2)

We recently published Part 1 of this in-depth guide to evaluating Oracle managed service providers. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, check it out first. If you’ve been waiting for Part 2, the final part, you’ve reached it!

Of course, if you have any questions about selecting an MSP or about Centroid’s full range of managed service provider offerings, all you have to do is contact us.

  • STEP 3: Ask Your MSP for Their Questions

The candidate’s questions will help you gauge their level of knowledge and experience, and it’ll help set the stage for your next step.

Any good MSP will have a large number of questions about your company. After all, they need to protect your data, keep your systems running, and answer all your Help Desk calls day in and day out. Plus, they’ll need to optimize your Oracle Cloud IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS while handling your on-premises Oracle systems like your Oracle Database. That’s a lot to be responsible for.

You and your potential MSP both know that every IT setup is bizarrely unique with its own “fun” quirks. Good MSPs should be itching to get as much information as possible about your system, so they can determine if they’d be a good fit for your needs. (Quick tip: You do not want the MSP that works with every company.)

Once you’ve invited your MSP to ask questions, pay attention to their response.

A good MSP will:

  • Ask a lot of questions about both your business objectives and your IT setup
  • Drill down for clarification often
  • Carefully listen to every one of your responses
  • Take notes
  • STEP 4: Ask them for Strategic Recommendations

Just as it’s important for your MSP to demonstrate that they’re listening carefully to you with an open mind, it’s also important for you to demonstrate that you’re extending the same courtesy to them (within limits). 

Obviously, you can’t expect a potential MSP to give you full, comprehensive recommendations during a sales pitch, but you should expect them to make some generalized recommendations that make sense to you.

The best MSPs will have suggestions for things you’ve already thought of and are planning to implement, perhaps with a single surprising idea. This will show that they understand the logical next steps for your business and that they’ll be able to help you execute on your strategies. If most of their recommendations are novel and surprising to you, follow up and ask them why they think those would be good solutions. Share your own ideas and thoughts freely, so you can have a real conversation instead of a one-sided interrogation.

Obviously, if your potential MSP doesn’t have a strong backing for their suggestions, or if their recommendations are out of line with your objectives, they won’t be a good fit. If you feel that the MSP doesn’t understand your business needs, it’s time to cut the meeting short and go out for a well-deserved lunch. However, if your MSP has some really fascinating ideas, it’s a better idea to order in some lunch using those To Go menus you collected, so you can keep the conversation going.

  • STEP 5: Check the SLA Last

You don’t need to get into the service details of an MSP if the high-level overview doesn’t check out. Trust us: If you leave the SLA discussion until the last step, your meeting will be much better.

Many managed service provider evaluation guides you’ll find online will recommend that you check the SLA first (and many MSPs will launch straight into an SLA breakdown at the beginning of the pitch), but we find that the SLA questions belong at the tail end of your meeting.

This is because:

  • SLA details like response time, guaranteed uptime, support availability, and security guarantees are often very similar for top-rated MSPs.
  • You don’t need to know any of these facts if your MSP can’t meet your expectations on the previous steps in this guide.
  • SLAs will require some negotiation on your part, for which you and the MSP will need knowledge about each other’s priorities.

If you’re not sure what to ask your potential managed service provider, CompTIA has a great guide on the subject. You may want to print out their questions for every IT team member who participates in these meetings, so they know what to look for in candidates.

Here’s an Example of What You Should Be Looking for in a Meeting with an Oracle Managed Service Provider

A successful meeting with your potential Oracle managed service provider should include all these features:

  • Members of your internal IT team attend and participate in the meeting, asking questions and offering information.
  • Your potential MSP demonstrates extensive Oracle Cloud experience, including numerous successful migrations, cutting-edge implementations, and varied certifications.
  • The MSP asks a lot of questions, including follow-up questions, that give you insight into their IT experience and viewpoints.
  • The MSP makes recommendations that make sense to you as a fellow IT expert, and as someone who understands your company’s objectives and direction.
  • The SLA details meet your needs for compliance, responsiveness, and data portability – and also include a clear BDR component. The MSP must be flexible on the SLA to meet your exact needs.

Since you’re looking for an Oracle MSP to meet your needs, we’d be remiss if we didn’t ask this one question: have you considered Centroid?

For more than 20 years, Centroid has helped enterprises in a range of industries achieve their objectives with consulting, implementation, and ongoing support for the full stack of Oracle solutions, including Oracle Cloud solutions.

We’ve spent years on the cutting-edge of Oracle Cloud implementations, driving the world’s largest Oracle IaaS / PaaS implementation to date and developing the innovative migration tool that can cut migration time to less than 12 hours with only 2 minutes of user downtime.

This is all possible because we employ some of the top techs in the Oracle ecosystem and have an in-house team with an unmatched skill set, providing support and solutions to some of the world’s most recognizable enterprises.

 

Learn more about Centroid’s Oracle Managed Service Provider offerings.