If you’re like most business owners, you want to sell your product or service, not spend all your time on IT maintenance. So consider outsourcing your information technology workload.
Sure you could handle IT services in-house, but the information technology industry moves fast and requires a lot of time and resources to keep up. When selecting an outside IT service provider, here are some things you should consider.
Keep in mind that when selecting an IT service provider you are basically entering into a partnership. Both sides need to have open communication and work together in order to improve and transform the organization’s performance into one cohesive unit. Many IT service providers offer businesses a number of unique possibilities when it comes to core issues such as security and general service. However, one of the most overlooked aspects in selecting a provider is its ability to match your specific business needs. Is the provider able to add capabilities as your company evolves? Is it able to integrate new technologies in a timely manner? Is the provider certified and connected with a number of companies that develop the technologies and applications it provides? Research and go with the company that is most likely to fit the mold of your business structure and growth projections.
It’s important to determine the roles each side will play from the start. Keep an eye on which responsibilities the IT service provider will cover and what your business is responsible for. If you don’t have the skill-set in house to cover your side of the responsibilities, it will probably be more economical to let the provider cover all IT operations from end to end. If there are strengths in certain areas of your company but weaknesses in another, communicate and be specific in order to patch the holes.
It happens all the time. Something goes down and you’re frantically trying to get a hold of your service provider but are without luck. You may think, “where are they?” But a more fitting question is, “where aren’t they?” If your business covers a large geographic area, it is important to go with an IT service provider that covers all your locations.
After coverage comes staff. How large of a company is your provider? Does it have enough staff to focus on any problems that may arise on short notice? Is it centrally located to your office? Picking the right company that’s close and able to handle problems on a moment’s notice is key to getting your IT infrastructure up and running again should something go wrong.
It’s important you do your research on the IT service provider’s reputation before making a selection. Here are a few things to ask. Is the IT service provider invested in the people, processes, and technology? Are the techs and employees certified across a broad range of services and products? Are the certifications current? Moreover, if you have the time, take a tour of the facility of the IT service provider. This will give you a chance to examine the workflow on the other end and see the team and services that will be commissioned to your business’s needs.
Last but not least, research the company’s long-term stability. The business of IT service management is sometimes a sketchy one. Horror stories of companies going under, disasters in certain areas of the country, and mismanagement are all scenarios of the unfortunate companies that didn’t research and keep a close eye on their IT service providers. Read company press releases, speak with current customers, watch its stock, and inquire about any partnerships. Make sure it is investing in new technologies and equipment. And make sure the IT service provider is financially stabile.