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Onboarding can sometimes take time, even a whole week. In general, MSPs (Managed Service Providers) spend around 50-80+ hours onboarding each client. Not only that, but 74% of potential clients will find different service providers if the onboarding process is too complicated.

This is why it’s useful to have an MSP client onboarding checklist ready. It ensures that the MSP understands the client’s IT infrastructure, processes, and business needs thoroughly, facilitating a smooth transition and efficient ongoing management.

In this article, we’ll talk about the 7 steps to creating an MSP onboarding checklist.

1. Initial Assessment and Information Gathering

The first step in MSP onboarding is to conduct a comprehensive IT infrastructure audit, including a detailed examination of the client’s existing IT environment, including hardware, software, network configurations, and security systems. The purpose of this audit is to gain a clear understanding of the technical world the client operates within.

Once the audit is complete, the next step is to understand the client’s current operational processes deeply. This involves engaging with key stakeholders and IT personnel to discuss how they use their current IT setup. The aim here is to identify any pain points, inefficiencies, or challenges they face with their existing systems.

Finally, it is important to document the client’s business objectives and IT requirements. The documentation should clearly outline the client’s short-term and long-term goals, their expectations from the MSP, and any specific IT requirements or compliance issues that need to be addressed.

2. Setting Clear Expectations and Goals

Setting up clear communication protocols includes establishing the preferred channels of communication (such as emails, phone calls, or dedicated client portals) and defining the frequency of updates and meetings. It’s equally important to identify key points of contact on both sides.

Integral to setting clear expectations and goals is the establishment of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the MSP and the client. This formal document outlines the specific services provided, performance criteria, response times, and resolution times for service issues.

Timelines and milestones are essential for keeping the onboarding process on track. Defining a clear project management timeline (mentioned in welcome kits) with specific milestones helps in managing both parties’ expectations and allows for the monitoring of progress.

3. Customizing the Onboarding Plan

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to managed services. The thing is, the industry of the client plays a big role in shaping the onboarding plan. This is why it needs to be based on client size, industry, and specific needs.

For example, small businesses may require a more hands-on approach with more frequent communication, whereas larger enterprises might need a more complex integration of services across various departments.

Security is another important concern, and different industries often have varied compliance and regulatory standards. The onboarding plan must include a detailed strategy for incorporating security protocols that align with the client’s industry standards and regulatory requirements.

This might involve implementing data protection measures, ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA, and establishing a robust cybersecurity framework.

4. Implementation and Configuration

The next step is integrating and configuring the MSP’s services into the client’s existing systems. This step involves setting up and customizing services such as network management, data backup, cybersecurity solutions, and any other specific services the client has opted for.

A crucial part of this service array is the implementation of remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools. These tools allow the MSP to proactively monitor the IT environment, identifying and addressing issues before they escalate, ensuring continuous operational efficiency.

Another key consideration during this phase is to ensure compatibility between the MSP’s services and the client’s existing hardware and software. The MSP must take measures to prevent any compatibility issues that might disrupt business operations.

With secure remote access to the clients’ systems, the MSP can perform necessary updates, troubleshoot issues, and provide support without the need for on-site visits

5. Testing and Quality Assurance

Once the implementation and configuration phase is complete, it’s time to conduct thorough testing of the implemented solutions. This step will ensure that all elements of the MSP’s services are functioning as intended within the client’s IT environment.

The testing should be comprehensive. It needs to cover all aspects of the services, including network performance, data backup integrity, cybersecurity measures, and any specialized applications or systems that have been integrated.

Moreover, as testing progresses, it is common to encounter technical issues or gaps in the system. These might range from minor bugs to more significant compatibility or performance issues. It is essential for the MSP to address these issues promptly.

6. Documentation and Reporting

Comprehensive documentation serves as a detailed record of the client’s IT infrastructure, the MSP services implemented, configuration details, and any specific procedures or protocols established during the onboarding process.

It’s crucial to create it so that both the MSP and the client have a clear and consistent understanding of the systems and processes in place.

Additionally, regular reporting and feedback mechanisms can help maintain open lines of communication between the MSP and the client. These mechanisms can include routine status reports, performance reviews, and scheduled meetings to discuss service delivery and any issues or concerns.

7. Finalizing the Onboarding Process

The official transition to regular service and support is the culmination of the MSP onboarding process. This is a significant milestone, as it marks the point where the initial intensive setup and integration activities give way to steady-state management of the client’s IT environment.

It involves a formal handover from the onboarding team to the account management and support teams, which will be responsible for the ongoing service delivery.

An important step in finalizing the onboarding process is reviewing and assessing the overall experience. The detailed review should include every stage of the onboarding process. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what went well and what could be improved.

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The Importance of a Good MSP Onboarding Checklist

A well-crafted MSP onboarding checklist will help align the expectations and efforts of all involved parties – the MSP staff and the client.

Aligning with Client Expectations

One of the primary benefits of an MSP onboarding checklist is that it helps align the MSP’s services with the client’s expectations. Once clients have the outlined steps, responsibilities, and goals of the onboarding process, they can clearly understand what to expect. And this transparency is key to building trust and confidence.

Coordinating Team Members

For the MSP, the checklist is a tool to coordinate team members, assigning clear roles and responsibilities. It ensures that every team member understands their tasks and how these tasks fit into the larger picture of the client’s onboarding experience.

Understanding the Client’s Company

A comprehensive onboarding checklist helps MSPs thoroughly understand the client’s company. It prompts the MSP to delve into the specifics of the client’s industry, operational processes, IT infrastructure, and business objectives.

Ensuring Everyone is on the Same Page

Finally, a good MSP onboarding checklist ensures that everyone involved is on the same page. It acts as a shared reference point where expectations, timelines, milestones, and outcomes are documented and agreed upon.

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1. Automated Account Creation and Management 

Automatically creates, updates, and disables user accounts in Active Directory, reducing the need for manual data entry and minimizing the risk of human error. 

2. Custom Access Rules and Instant Onboarding 

Pre-define access rules for different types of users (e.g., employees, contractors, vendors) to ensure they receive the correct level of access from day one. This capability supports MSPs in enforcing security policies and access controls tailored to each client’s specific needs.

It also reduces the onboarding SLAs from days to instantaneous, allowing new users to be productive from their first day, which is important for MSP clients looking to maintain operational efficiency. 

3. Cybersecurity and Compliance 

Automated notifications and reports on all Active Directory changes provide full visibility and control, helping MSPs to keep track of and prove compliance with cybersecurity regulations for their clients.

4. Efficiency and Cost Savings 

By automating and streamlining the client MSP onboarding process, ezOnboard helps MSPs achieve significant time and cost savings, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively and focus on value-added managed services.

ezOnboard’s customizable nature means that MSPs can make the solution to each client’s specific environment and needs, whether they operate on-premise or in the cloud.

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FAQs About MSP Onboarding Checklist

What role does an account manager play in the new client onboarding process?

The account manager acts as the primary point of contact for the new client, guiding them through the onboarding process and ensuring that all steps are completed smoothly and efficiently.

How is a customer relationship management platform used during MSP onboarding?

A customer relationship management platform tracks all interactions and tasks related to the new client, facilitating communication and ensuring a cohesive and organized onboarding experience.

What is the importance of a project management timeline in MSP onboarding?

A project management timeline helps each step of the onboarding process, ensuring that both the MSP and the client understand the key milestones and deadlines.

How do mobile devices and remote assistance programs fit into the MSP onboarding checklist?

Mobile devices are configured and secured as part of the MSP onboarding checklist to align with IT policies, while remote assistance programs are set up to ensure swift support and problem-solving for seamless operations.

How important is systems management in the services provided by an MSP?

It is an important component of the services offered by an MSP as it involves the comprehensive oversight and administration of a client’s entire IT infrastructure. 


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