When considering a new IT provider usually one of two things has happened; your company has grown beyond its means to self-manage your IT needs or you’ve had a bad experience with your previous provider. If either of these events have happened then you probably have some idea to what you need or what you don’t need, but there may be some things you have not considered. Just so we cover all the basics, here are our ten most important things to consider when finding your new IT provider.
The location of any IT provider is important, as even though many tasks can be done remotely, often it is necessary to have someone on site to perform maintenance. Ask them where they are located and if they have any branches located in your area.
An IT provider may have a variable cost calculation, and cost is a big factor between choosing the correct one. While cost or expense is important it would be preferable the weigh up the cost against what you are being given. Are there any extra that you don’t particularly need? Ask about the cost of the service and if it is negotiable.
Often IT problems are time sensitive and other times they are not. If your IT provider cannot meet your needs in a timely manner this could possibly cost your business more than the provider is worth. Ask about response rates and what solutions they offer if time obligations are not met.
Expertise or Qualifications
IT is a broad subject covering many specialties. Ideally you want a provider that focuses on your business model, or at least one that has a large enough team to cover many of the requirements. Ask about their current clients and what they can offer your business, ask about their qualifications and what they will do if they can’t solve an issue.
Most people have a preferred method of communication, be it email, phone, video chat or meeting in person. Ideally you need an IT provider that offer you communication practices that best suit the way you like to do business. Ask about how to contact them when you need their services.
Finding an IT provider that is available when you are doing business is vital. There’s no point in a provider being available Monday to Friday if you operate 7 days a week. Ask when and what times their service is available. Ideally, you’d look at an answer that aligns with when you are working, think beyond your operating hours.
An IT provider should be able to work with your current systems. While it may seem that all systems are the same, there can be a huge difference in age and format of the machines and software used. If you’re using a system that is old, then they need to know how to work with that. Ask what systems they are familiar with and if they can work with them.
Some IT providers will only cover a certain amount of functions. Usually this aligns with what your current needs are, they may ask you several questions regarding what you currently do and tailor a quote based on that. Ask them specifically what the quote covers and if they have any add-on costs for additional items not covered and what those costs might be.
Most people are familiar with looking at reviews. Examine the providers reviews, look for what people have been saying about the business, are there any red flags? Ask them about their conflict resolution and what they will do to fix a problem client. The way they deal with difficult clients can tell a lot about how they work.
Individual Service Requirements
Some IT providers will offer a base coverage. However, often there are items included that you may not need. Are they willing to provide a custom service? Selecting what you need may lower the price or garner better service for you as they can tailor their support to specifically fit what you need.