Criteria for Selecting a Managed Services Partner
The questions outlined above should provide a guide for how you want to think about the different categories of managed services providers. Just like Salesforce Partners offer a range of services and capabilities, so do managed services providers. Be sure to identify your specific criteria and hone in on the right capabilities.
Now that you've outlined the type of partner you are targeting, focus on the logistics of the engagement and find a vendor that works within the processes that align best with your current workflows.
Support vs Development
Typically, a Managed Services Partner will focus on either Support or Salesforce Development, so you want to begin your vendor selection process by defining the specific work you need to get done.
A Support Partner will mostly supply you with Salesforce Administrators to work with users and stakeholders, document business processes, and handle all user on-boarding and setup, permission set changes, and configuration with flows.
If you have capabilities on the internal team and you need additional horsepower on the development side, you should go with a Development Partner. This can range from engaging a single Salesforce Developer to embed within your team all the way up to hiring a 10-15 person Salesforce Development team that will work a full 40 hours per week with you and act as your de facto Development org.
Since companies are typically leveraging Managed Services Providers on a full-time basis (40 hours per week), costs can scale pretty quickly with this approach.
If you are looking at Managed Services as a cost-cutting measure compared to hiring a full-time staff in the United States, then you will need to look at Offshore vendors. These are most often based in India.
If cost isn’t the primary factor and you need strategic guidance, frequent communication with your team, and a real advisor in your Salesforce decision making then it’s a better option to look at Nearshore vendors (most often Argentina or Brazil) of an Onshore Partner (in North America).
Nearshore teams will often be 40%-50% of the cost of an Onshore Partner.
Similar to the above, the biggest factoring in determining location of your Managed Services Partner is the frequency of communication with the team. If you anticipate needing daily stand-ups or a heavy meeting schedule between your team and the Partner, it’s best to find a vendor within 3 hours of your time zone.
Be sure to discuss the typical work hours for the Managed Services team and do not assume they will be working on your local schedule.
A Managed Service team that is going to focus mostly on production (i.e. execution of assigned tasks) with less frequent meetings, can be based anywhere.
In fact, the less communication required, the more advantageous it is to find a team that is on the opposite time zone of you. This would allow your team to get work done between 9am-5pm Local Time, including creating technical requirements and assigning tasks, and the work would actually be completed between 9pm-5am Local Time - the ultimate asynchronous work environment allows for this type of collaboration, so that work is effectively getting done 24 hours per day.