So it pays to do your due diligence when choosing your new IT Service Company. Within this article we discuss 5 critical components for choosing the right IT Company for your business.
Outsourcing your IT management may have a lot of benefits, but it can also be a significant risk if not put into the right hands. You want an IT company whom you can trust and establish a long term relationship with. After all, your IT company has an important role to play in your business if it is dependent on IT. The types of questions you may want to ask include:
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have any solid client references from other similar sized clients like clients who are a similar size to you?
- How many staff do they have?
- What systems and processes do they have to achieve their claim on the service level?
Most IT providers will offer a service level agreement (SLA) with a guaranteed response time. It is common for an IT provider to offer 2 hours response time. However, if your staff has to wait 2 hours for a response, that corresponds to 25% of their time in a day. In today’s business environment, you need to choose a provider that can promise you that the majority of the calls will go straight to an engineer or a response time no more than 30 minutes.
Some providers also offer different support plans with different service levels (e.g. Gold, silver and bronze). Unless you are going to choose the top service, would you choose an IT provider that treats you as a lower grade client?
Ideally, your IT provider should have expertise in a wide area of IT fields and products. Look for the following expertise in your IT provider:
- Procurement – ability to provide you advice in choosing equipment and to handle the procurement, installation and warranty process for you will save you money and time.
- Domain name and web hosting.
- Experience in dealing with a range of vendors in hardware, software, telephony, networking and internet services.
- Software skills. While you may not need specialised software development, you may have needs for data integration, import or export from your databases or application systems.
- Cloud technology.
4. Fixed Price – Managed IT Service
In the IT services industry the common term for Fixed Price IT support is IT Managed Services. Essentially, you are charged a fixed monthly fee for providing helpdesk, on site and maintenance services.
If you are on a time-based charging model, the more issues you have, the more your IT Company can charge you. In a fixed fee model, it is in the best interest of the IT Company (as well as yours) to have your business running smoothly. An IT Managed Service Plan also offers peace of mind and the benefit of a known IT budget and the added protection of your IT risks being managed by your IT Company.
The concept of IT Managed Services has been around for a long time and is increasingly popular for small and medium sized businesses. You can now find Managed Services that incorporate both unlimited helpdesk and onsite services.
5. Keeping Pace with your Business
Finally, when choosing an IT Company, consider whether your IT provider will grow with your business in the future. You want an IT Company who has the experience to help you with your IT Business Strategy and give you the right advice and solutions for your business.
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