Considerations When Choosing an IT Support Company for Your Business
Information Technology (particularly communication, systems, and data) is the lifeblood of most businesses.
Whilst the majority of businesses have systems in place, invariably there is a requirement to review IT service providers from time to time. Typically this occurs when either looking to upgrade existing systems, or when reviewing companies to provide ongoing IT Support.
The IT industry as a whole remains incredibly fluid and fast-paced. Cloud service provision no means that businesses can do without physical servers. Mobile computing is so sophisticated that employees can genuinely remain productive wherever they are.
That said, it is the author's view that partnering using the right IT service provider is more critical than ever. Simply, there are thousands of potential partners available in the market (ranging of course from your one-man gang of the world to the global outsourcing giants) - finding the right one for the organisation needs consideration of an quantity of factors (discussed further on).
Should I employ someone to care for IT?
That really is the first consideration, don't let employ an IT manager (or equivalent) or make use of a specialist alternative party provider?
Generally speaking, for almost any organisations with under 35 users, having a dedicated IT manager certainly won't be cost effective. You will have exceptions to this particular, and many organisations employ an IT one who has other functions.
This can be in some ways great - a few set of hands on-site, issues might be resolved quickly, you do have a degree of budgetary control, along with the right person you will have a long-term IT strategy.
There are numerous of downsides employing an IT Services manager, that include:
- Cost (a salary of approximately Â£30k plus NI, etc is very expensive unless the workload warrants it).
- Knowledge. If you are dependent on one IT manager you can never be sure you are receiving the best advice. Furthermore, would they be capable of take care of everything or do they really still require to use a third party for specific support?
- Holiday and sick cover. Is your business arrangement or "wing it"?
- Risk. Whenever they leave, are adopted long-term sick, etc. you may well be horribly exposed.
- Agenda. Can they want to consider certain technologies to generate their CV look great, before departing for pastures new?
- Having the right body's challenging - good staff are hard to get.
So, some tough decisions there. If, like the majority of companies with as much as 50 users, you determine to outsource your IT requirements, how would you attempt deciding on the best company?
Surely IT Companies are exactly the same?
In a word, no!
With the advances of cloud computing and virtualization, many smaller companies have simply been left out within their cocoons of Microsoft's Business Server!
This is increasingly common with agencies taking care of clients with smaller requirements (approximately 20 users, as an example). In these instances, usually the systems in place are less sophisticated when the service providers can be too busy or too occur their approaches to explore the most recent technological advances, it will lead to stagnation.
On the other hand, those IT agencies who put money into R&D and training can discuss an array of solutions as well as their clients ultimately can take a look at the best answer for the kids individual needs.
So what questions do i need to be asking?
1. Staff - the number of is there and what are that they like?
It's not at all necessarily the case with the bigger the higher. However, you should find a company you are comfortable and visit their offices to secure a feel for what's important to them. If you have bigger requirements (i.e. when you have 150 staff), then you should obviously 't be employing an IT vendor which has a couple of engineers. Conversely, if you want a friendly and private want to take care of twelve users, you'll want to not considering an international IT giant!
2. Stability - have you looked into their financials?
Companies do come and go - it is advisable to test that potential agencies are financial sound and, ideally, steadily growing.
Contains the potential suppliers been established for a good time frame? What's the skills lower engineers? Include the management team experienced?
4. Flexibility and fairness.
The success of an outsourced service may be the relationship involving the service provider along with the client. Which has a long-term relationship, there might be instances when a flexible type of approach through the vendor is required. Things do change, often for unforeseen reasons, and the ability of the supplier to react favourably and fairly might be vital.
Let's not beat round the bush, when things are amiss you do not need your users sat around twiddling their thumbs for virtually any beyond is critical.
System downtime = lost revenue + costs
It is necessary not to choose a supplier purely judging by cost. Often you receive that which you buy!
When comparing IT support proposals from alternative suppliers, it can be important to check what you're getting from each and, wherever possible, be sure that the proposals are as similar as possible.
There is absolutely no point comparing a price free of charge remote support (restricted to 5 minutes per issue, subsequent charges of Â£300 each hour) to your well-balanced proposal which factors an expected number of support issues right into a fair monthly cost.
Meet with a few of their existing clients. If you're discussing IT support, be sure you make contact with a number of their IT support clients. If you are considering them for cloud services, make certain you talk with clients employing their hosted solutions (even though these are great at one doesn't automatically mean they're efficient at everything)!
We now have kept this to last yet it's completely vital. The higher IT companies tend to be more proactive. Keeping you informed of technological advancements, potential difficulties with your systems, and customarily not being a reactive organisation will stand you in good stead continuing to move forward.
Your choice of if they should make use of a third party for this support or IT service provision can come as a result of a variety of factors, a few of which are already discussed.
Selecting the best IT company for the business is a far more complex consideration and one that's more valuable than previously to have right.
Hopefully this article will give readers some guidance in their selection of an IT partner. With a careful process and the right checks mate, there isn't any good reason that a good choice than it company cannot benefit you for countless years to come.
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