Finding the right IT support is one of the most important parts of running a successful business. For smaller companies, it generally pays to outsource IT provision rather than employ someone in-house – it’s cheaper for a start and you also get access to a wider range of expertise that is more in tune with the latest technology developments.
Whilst small businesses can benefit hugely from an outsourced IT partner, the challenge of finding the right one is an altogether different matter. Choosing the best partner cannot only help keep your systems running smoothly but also differentiate your business from others in your industry.
Here are our 10 areas to consider when looking for the right IT partner:
- Create an outline of what you need before approaching potential suppliers – If you are a growing business looking to outsource your IT, create a summary of the support you need. Most IT providers will offer a bespoke service so having a clear plan will help shape this. If you already have an IT supplier in place and are looking for alternative quotes, your current arrangement will form a basis for the new discussions. Highlight areas for improvement or further development.
- Location – The location of your IT partner has become less important over recent years. The majority of account managers will be more than happy to visit you at your offices and once set up, over 95% of all IT issues can be resolved remotely.
- Business longevity – New IT businesses are popping up all the time, especially with the latest developments in cloud based technologies. Whilst a new venture may offer all the service and support you could ever want, it is advisable to consider a company that has been operating for a while and has a good track record.
- Accreditations – If you are looking for a particular service or software, it is important to talk to potential partners regarding the technology suppliers they work with and industry accreditations, for example Microsoft Cloud accreditation.
- Management System – IT Support providers will use a technical management system to work with clients remotely. Some providers will develop their own, however we would recommend going with a partner who uses a reliable third party solution such as Kaseya.
- Going the extra mile – Look at what other services they offer beyond just IT support and whether they have the expertise to recommend new products to help reduce costs and improve the performance of your business systems.
- Reporting – If you have a number of teams in your business structure you will probably expect regular reports from them. Your IT support should be no different and it can help make sure that you are notified of any potential problems and their appropriate solutions.
- Is there a minimum contract? – To reduce the risk when signing up with a new supplier, some companies are now offering services without tying clients into a lengthy contract. This means if you are unhappy with the service provided, it would be easier to walk away and choose an alternative supplier.
- Case Studies – Most IT support companies will have put together case studies of the types of clients they deal with which means you should be able to take a look at a reasonably detailed breakdown of what to expect from the business. It is always preferable to review a business from another clients’ perspective.
- References – Once you are happy with the contract an IT supplier has to offer, they should be able to provide you with a list of recent clients for you to contact for a personal reference.