As we explored in our previous article, mergers and acquisitions are prevalent in the managed service provider (MSP) space.
If your provider has recently been purchased, you might be feeling some anxiety about the transition – organizations like yours put a lot of trust in the partner they’ve chosen to take care of their technology systems, and it can be unnerving to hear that someone new is taking control.
First, we recommend you read through our article on what to expect when your MSP has been purchased. In our 30 years in business we’ve made our own acquisitions and have also experienced key partners of ours getting acquired, and hope our experience can help take some of the surprise out of the next few months for you.
Next—and to key off of our final point in that article—it’s time for an open conversation with your provider about what the acquisition means for you in both the near and long term. They may initiate this proactively, or you might need to kick-start the process.
In either case, we’ve compiled a set of questions that will remove a lot of the guesswork from the process and hopefully get you and your provider on the same page going forward.
Disclaimer: There’s no such thing as “over-communicating”
As with any partnership, communication is key. Your provider is going to be quite busy on the back end as they work through integrating their teams and systems, but this doesn’t mean you should shy away from talking to them and getting your concerns out onto the table as soon as you can.
This goes the other direction, too – if it seems like you’re being pelted with information from your provider, they’re probably trying to allay your fears. This is a good sign that they’ll give thoughtful answers to your questions.
Questions to ask
First, here are a few questions similar to those you probably asked your current provider during your selection process that will help you understand their philosophy and approach to serving you.
- Why would the “new” combined entity still be a great fit to support our technology?
- How do you plan to come up to speed about our business and our goals?
- How do you ensure that your service will continue to meet and support our business needs?
More tactically, the following questions will help eliminate surprises down the road:
- Who is now fully responsible for my firm’s satisfaction?
- If this merger/acquisition goes as you expect, what should be different for us?
- How will the service improve?
- How will the service be different from before?
- What new capabilities and offerings would you be offering?
- Which offerings will you be phasing out?
- Will there be changes to my pricing?
- What is the timeframe for these changes to take effect?
- When should I expect your integration to be complete?
- What steps are you taking to minimize disruption to my firm in the meantime?
- If things aren’t going right, how do I best report that to you given that things are in flux?
- What else do we have to look forward to as the result of this acquisition?
Combined, the answer to these should give you a good sense of what is to come.
Before you sit with your provider, take the time to meet with your leadership to see if they have any items to add to the list, and if there are any "red flag” responses that will require a bit more digging to try to reach common ground.
Keep in mind…
While providers will absolutely appreciate your understanding and patience during the transition, they are still ultimately responsible to deliver the services you’ve signed up for, and to be an asset to your organization—not a hindrance.
Since there will be so many moving parts for your provider to juggle, you might feel the strain of the acquisition before they realize the impact it’s having on your ability to thrive as a business. Keep the lines of communication open and keep the feedback headed their way.
As we’ve said, there will be hiccups along the way. The real litmus test is how your “new” partner responds.