What I wish I had known before I bought my first MSP solution
Tom Brooks

3 minutes

What I wish I had known before I bought my first MSP solution

Managing global, flexible workforces has become hugely complex. HR teams are juggling worker contracts, resource planning, supplier management, compliance challenges and much more. It’s no wonder that so many are turning to Managed Services Providers (MSPs) to shoulder much of this responsibility.
If you’re engaging an MSP for the first time, you want things to go smoothly. In the spirit of the sharing community that HR is known for, we asked our clients what they wish they’d known before they bought their first MSP solution to help you implement yours.

Get advice in the early stages

Before you consider issuing an RFI or RFP speak to a Managed Services Provider. Having an unofficial conversation with someone outside your business can bring to light new challenges or other barriers that you might not have on your radar. You don’t have to engage an MSP to have a conversation so reach out early on to start things off on the right track. 

Engage an MSP before a VMS

A top-notch Vendor Management System (VMS) is needed to run any MSP solution. Our clients advise others not to rush choosing a VMS provider without engaging a Managed Services Provider. Not only will an MSP have the knowledge to know what set up is best for your unique needs, but they will also often have their own VMS. Using their technology will streamline the process for you and significantly reduce the administrative headache of shopping around for the best product.
If you already have a VMS in place, does it work as well as it can? Before you move ahead with any VMS decision, speak to an expert to save time and even money.

Get help building the business case

Building a business case for any people solutions is a tough job, but you don’t have to do it alone. As our client, Baljit Sidhu from Johnson Matthey told us, “MSP is a mature market and model so let your selected MSP provider help you make the business case to ensure you have full sponsorship with resource allocated to support mobilisation from the HR or Talent Acquisition team in your organisation. Once these stakeholders see the process efficiencies and data that come from the MSP solution and the visibility they get, they will be eager to expand.”

It’s not a perfect process

An MSP solution is unique in nature. It’s adapted to the needs of your business so you can’t take an off-the-shelf solution and run with it. Given the need to adapt the offering, it won’t be a perfect process. Changes will be needed even following go-live, but that doesn’t mean something’s gone wrong. The solution needs to be adaptable. If it isn’t changing regularly, it’s not doing what it should.

Know what resources you need

An MSP will reduce workload for you in the long run, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be an initial investment in time. The initial discovery stage will take time, but the information gathered at this stage will dictate the success of a new MSP solution. Invest the time up front and you’ll see the reward.

Have dedicated points of contact

Agreeing who is responsible for what and having one point of contact in both your business and the MSP will be valuable. Too many cooks and decisions will take too long. On the flip side, a lack of clarity around responsibilities and progress will be slow. 

Clarify volume and territory restrictions

One of the benefits of an MSP solution is that it's scalable. However, it’s good to know if global expansion is dependent on meeting certain volume requirements. Be clear about what the criteria for growth might be (if any). Identifying any global limitation of a VMS or Managed Services Provider is also important. You don’t want to invest time into a new solution only to find future global expansion is limited. 

Data is the key

An MSP solution is data-driven, but you need access to the right information to make it work. An MSP will work with you to identify what’s needed to launch a new process, but having a clear outline of what information you have and where it's held is necessary. This data will also prove valuable for your change management programme. As one of our clients put it:
“Depending on the level of autonomy that has existed within your firm you may face resistance from various business units quoting anecdotal facts about the incumbent supply or current processes. Your MSP will be collating data on your behalf through implementation which they will be able to play back as facts to help overcome any internal challenges.”

You don’t know what you don’t know

Be prepared to be presented with information you weren’t aware of about your business. For global brands in particular, there’s a lot of ‘hidden’ workforce spend and an MSP will find that data for you. It may be alarming at first, but in the long run it removes significant compliance risks for your business. 

Have a trusted partner 

Trust is a crucial element for any supplier engagement. Your MSP will be acting on behalf of your business dealing with the most valuable aspect of your company: the workforce. Knowing that you have a partner that is knowledgeable and will work side-by-side with you will make the process smoother and give you the confidence that you’re developing a smarter way to work.
If you’re looking to invest in an MSP solution, our experts are on hand to answer any questions and let you know what else you need to know beforehand.
And why not join our online community and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. 

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