The Kelser Onboarding Process
You are breathing a huge sigh of relief but still know you have things to get prepared. You’ve signed with Kelser as your IT managed services provider and are anxious for things to get started. What’s next? How soon can you expect things to start happening?
As a service delivery manager (SDM), I onboard customers just like you every week. Since I’m often asked about our onboarding process, I’ve put together this article to answer some of the most common questions and walk you through the timeline, so you know what to expect.
After reading this article, you’ll also know some of the variables that can affect that timeline.
At Kelser, we believe in providing the information customers need about our onboarding process. We want you to understand the process and schedule, so there are no surprises for you or for us.
What Happens During Kelser’s Onboarding Process? How Long Does It Take?
We're excited that you've selected Kelser as your IT partner. We're looking forward to putting our resources to work for your organization. So, what comes next and how long will it take?
Every infrastructure is different and has its own idiosyncrasies that can affect the onboarding timeline, but generally, our onboarding process takes 30-45 days.
Here’s an outline of our onboarding process, what it involves and how long it typically takes:
1. Discovery (Site Visit)
Within three to five days of signing your contract, a Kelser technical alignment manager (TAM) or another member of our IT engineering team will visit your site (or sites) in-person to review and document your IT infrastructure. If your company is like most, our Kelser visitors will likely need an internal escort from one of your staff members.
On-site, the Kelser team’s exhaustive discovery visit includes:
documenting all your devices and network hardware, often including pictures
document the state of your firewall(s), switch(es), access points, and servers
gathering additional network and admin credential information as part of their exhaustive review of your entire network.
2. Kelser Team Internal Meeting
As soon as one to three days after we receive your signed contract, our Kelser team meets internally to review the unique details of your contract. We discuss project scope, resource allocation, and scheduling.
At this meeting, we bring our sales, engineering, and service teams together to make sure we are all on the same page. We talk about the services we are providing, identify project leads, and discuss the timing of onboarding.
3. Project Kickoff
During the kickoff phase, two things happen somewhat simultaneously. All of the players from your organization and Kelser meet, and our team will begin implementing changes to improve the efficiency and security of your IT infrastructure.
Meet Your Team
A Kelser service delivery manager (SDM) will contact you to schedule a team meeting within 48 to 96 hours of receiving your signed contract. This meeting is designed to ensure that all of the team members (from your organization and ours) that will be working together have a chance to meet.
Some Key Members Of The Kelser Team
- The TAM is the expert on your network infrastructure, making them an effective troubleshooter who knows where to look when an issue crops up.
- Your Kelser vCIO provides the long lens, providing industry knowledge you can use to enhance the safety, efficiency, and availability of your entire IT network.
- The SDM is there to make sure you have what you need, when you need it. The SDM also acts as a liaison between your users and our technical staff; translating issues raised by your users into technical language for the IT folks.
Each of these experts plays a different, (but coordinated) role in understanding your unique infrastructure and ensuring that your IT environment is best positioned to help meet the short- and long-term goals of your organization.
At this meeting, Kelser presents a high-level summary of your contract including a review of the services that are and are not covered, as well as expectations and deliverables. The goal is to be sure there are no surprises (for you or for us).
In conjunction with this meeting, we also offer an opportunity for a short training for your users on submitting a service ticket or other helpful information. This meeting ensures that we are all on the same page and that we can efficiently start the process of working together as partners.
Within 30-45 days of receiving your signed contract, and often in conjunction with the team meeting mentioned above, new administration credentials are requested and set up.
We then begin working with your current IT provider to transfer their knowledge to our team and we begin setting up networks and servers and remediating any critical issues that need immediate attention.
Other steps in this process include configuring platforms and deploying software.
4. Ongoing Feedback/Follow-Up
One of the hallmarks of our 40 years of successful partnership with our customers is ongoing contact.
Review meetings are scheduled at regular intervals determined by you. These meetings are designed to track contract deliverables and ensure that we are aligned and that we understand the unique challenges facing your business. With this information, we can be sure that your IT infrastructure is positioned to guarantee your organization’s success moving forward.
In addition to regular review meetings, our TAM is at your site at least once a month to address technical priorities (with your input). Often during these visits, the TAM learns important information about shifting or upcoming goals and can reprioritize work accordingly.
At Kelser, the lines of communication are always open whether that means in-person, email, or phone conversations. This is part of the ongoing communication and trust that builds strong partnerships with our clients.
What Factors Can Affect The Onboarding Timeline?
If you own your own home and have done any renovations, you likely understand that a well-planned project can often uncover other issues that have to be resolved before you can proceed. At Kelser, we believe in process, schedule and accountability, but we understand that flexibility can be equally important.
For example, a client may want to wait until their business has its annual slow period to upgrade its server. Or, there may be a pandemic that gets in the way of business as usual. Your business and priority are key considerations in our onboarding process. We get it! Life can be messy!
Here are some of the things that our experience has shown can affect the onboarding timeline:
1. Number of Users
Some of our customers have a small number of users at one site. Larger workforces can take more time to coordinate, depending on what is included in our scope of work.
2. Complexity of Environment
In addition to the number of employees, another variable to consider is the number and geographic location of your brick-and-mortar and remote sites.
Some of the things we’ll need to understand are:
- Do people at all of your sites need to share files? Does everyone need to share files or do you need to limit certain access? Are there documents (like your engineering design specs) that need special protections?
- Do you have international sites?
- Is your work subject to government or industry regulations?
- Do you use specialized software or legacy software that is no longer supported which may integrate with specific business processes?
3. Contract Scope
What is Kelser providing? Are we providing fully managed services? Are we patching? Are we monitoring?
The onboarding timeline may vary depending on what services we are providing.
Oftentimes, coordinating calendars to schedule on-site visits can be one of the biggest holdups.
For example, in most cases, our employees can’t just show up at a client site and start walking around unescorted.
Most clients require that visitors be escorted within their building(s). Even if this isn’t the case, we’ll need someone to show us where the data closet is or where the servers are located.
5. Client Timeline
Are you in a hurry to get things up and running? Would it be better for you if we wait until summer when things usually slow down for your business?
Your sense of urgency is a key component that takes priority when planning the onboarding timeline.
6. Age of IT Architecture
If your devices, network, servers, firewall are all up-to-date, the transition will be easier.
If you are operating with older devices (desktops, laptops, etc.), that will impact the timeline. If you are still using Windows XP operating systems on devices, for example, we will likely recommend upgrading all the device operating systems to minimize security risks.
Are your servers and devices up-to-date? Have things been patched?
Is your server capacity maxed out? Can it support the current and projected number of users?
All of these factors (and more) play a role in how quickly (and safely) the MSP can begin administering your network.
What Happens Next?
We’ve explained Kelser’s onboarding process and various factors that can play a role in our onboarding timeline. We’ve talked about the discovery, implementation, and kickoff stages and outlined what the ideal timing for each phase might look like.
Kelser is ready to help make your organization’s IT infrastructure more efficient, secure, and available.
We look forward to working as your strategic IT partner providing the services and guidance you need to optimize your network and guarantee your organization’s future success.
We find that it’s always a good idea to go into a partnership clear about the expectations and deliverables. This article highlights other effective ways to measure the success of MSP partnerships like ours: 3 Ways To Measure The Success Of An MSP Partnership (Metrics & More).