Successful Onboarding When Choosing An MSP
September 23, 2020 Macy Vonderschmidt

Successful Onboarding When Choosing An MSP

Posted in Uncategorized

The Importance of Successful Onboarding When Choosing An MSP

The Onboarding Process Is Hypercritical to A Successful Outcome

For enterprises considering a partner for the management of any aspect of their IT organization, the importance of successful onboarding when choosing an MSP is hypercritical to a successful partnership. A BCG study found that onboarding has one of the greatest impacts on company profitability and profit margin, and that includes outsourced partners. Over the past five years, the MSP market has almost doubled in value from 2014, rising from $107 billion to $193 billion today. Many organizations are looking to outsource, but the importance of successful onboarding is often overlooked.  


MSPs need to focus on customer experience from the beginning to build customers’ trust and demonstrate value by avoiding wasted time. There are many things an organization and the MSP need to be aware of when entering a partnership. Brian DeVault and Mike Cromwell discuss the importance of onboarding in NETRIO’s weekly series, Whiteboard Wednesdays. 

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Contract Execution  

When itdecided it’s time to seek an outsourced MSP or a Channel Partner is looking to find the right MSP for a client, the first step in successful onboarding of an MSP is getting the contract executed. This will include: 

  • Terms 
  • Start Dates 
  • Subscriptions  
  • Scope of work

It will also be helpful when selecting a service provider to ask in-depth questions. For example: 

  • What does a project kickoff call include? 
  • What is the process for establishing points of contact both internally and externally? 
  • Signatures, terms, start dates, & subscriptions that you’re going to subscribe to from their various portfolio of services.  
  • How do they outline milestones and dependencies? 
  • How do they review and report? 

Getting the contract executed is one of the easiest steps of outsourcing an MSP. Once that step is complete, the real fun starts!  

Project Kick-Off  

As soon as the contract is signed, it is important to lock in the attributes that are going to structure the relationshipIncluding but not limited to, the starting and end dates, the terms, and gaining access to the systems. Even when the attributes have been mapped out, expect some change and flexibility within the contract. The MSP will be able to subscribe you up or down based on what your current demands are. Next, there are centrally three steps in the process to ensure a successful onboarding experience.  

Expect to be contacted by their project management office. The MSP should send you a project plan or something similar. This document would not be something created specifically for your organization, but more so a templated process that is repeatable and that this MSP has executed multiple times. NETRIO as a service provider always strives to understand what the client’s organization looks like. The MSP will be looking for information including who the stakeholders are and what their roles and responsibilities are within the execution of the project framework. 

Obtaining this information is a critical step in the onboarding process. If this information is missed, it can interfere with timelines and communication. It is imperative to know who, what, when, where and why. In order for the onboarding to be a success, both the MSP and the organization should understand who the stakeholders are, and effective communication should be set in place. Choosing a primary point of contact on both sides can ensure proper communication and avoid delays in the set timeline. At the end of this first step, ideally the MSP and organization would agree upon a go-live date. 

Agree Upon Go-Live Date  

After the first week of project execution, a go-live date should be set. This should be a mutually agreed upon timeline that works well for the organization and the MSP and will avoid disrupting any critical business functions. The organization can expect the go-live date to be anywhere between four to six weeks from the start date. From that point, you’re looking for documents that help you distribute the information to your end user community. At NETRIO, we have a template that we send out to our clients that map out the day we’re changing our I.T. support. This template is also how we would streamline requesting support in the future. It should outline your points of escalation and everything that you need moving forward to get the I.T. support that you need for your organization. 

Tune In Next Week

This may seem like a lot of information, and it is only the beginning of the onboarding process. Contract execution, kick-off calls, go-live date and establishing internal and external points of contact should all happen within the first week you start your partnership with an MSP. In order to truly have a successful onboarding process, the foundation needs to be strong. These are the stepping stones to setting the foundation for the onboarding process and the onboarding process sets the foundation for a successful partnership.  

Follow along on Linkedin and YouTube each week as Brian and Mike chat about use cases, new technology and trends. The goal is to provide insights for enterprise customers and channel partners, trying to solve complex problems using technology.