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Is It Time For a New IT Provider?

Is It Time For a New IT Provider? Ask These 5 Questions Before You Hire an IT Company

Countless organizations are looking for an IT provider to help them navigate an increasingly virtual world of work. However, many aren’t sure how to choose the right provider. Read on for everything you need to know about hiring the right IT company for your organization.

Hiring an IT Provider Made Easy: What to Ask & How to Prepare

This year, we’ve seen a major boom in our industry. Technology continues to drive innovation in the business space, and as a result more and more managed IT service providers are popping up on the scene claiming to offer the very best in business IT service and support. And this doesn’t even take into account other service providers like computer consultants, independent IT contractors, and large national IT players who are competing to serve organizations of all shapes and sizes.

It’s not just local service providers either.  Our team of IT professionals likes to keep a finger on the pulse of the nation-wide market of managed IT services and support. Over the last several months, we’ve seen a great deal of venture capital money enter the IT services industry. This means that the industry is changing rapidly and many large national enterprises are beginning to move into local markets.

The more choices the better, right? Not so much. The rapid expansion of the IT market can actually leave professionals in a complicated spot. With more and more options to choose from, the search for the right provider can seem overwhelming. How can busy business professionals determine the right IT service provider for their organization when there’s an endless sea of providers, all claiming to be the very best?

We’re on a mission to help organizations like yours make strategic and informed decisions when it comes to hiring a managed IT service provider. Above all, we’re hoping to carve out some of the key questions that professionals must ask potential providers before committing to a partnership. If your organization is in the process of hiring an IT service provider – either locally or nationally – these questions and tips will help you streamline the search and empower your decision-making process.

The 5 Essential Questions You Should Be Asking Potential IT Providers

Here’s the thing: we understand that busy organizational leaders don’t have the time to be reading up on all the ins and outs of managed IT services. They simply want to find a reliable provider and get on with it. The good news is, when it comes to hiring an IT service provider, you don’t have to become an IT expert. However, you do need to go into the hiring process with a gameplan. You should know what to ask and you should feel confident in your ability to choose a provider who offers value and strategy to your organization.

Above all, our team of IT experts understands that organizational leaders outside the IT space are often unsure about what questions to ask and how to determine what value looks like when it comes to IT service and support. If you’re looking for an IT provider and want to approach the hiring process like a pro, make sure you ask these 5 essential questions before deciding on a provider.

What is the long-term vision and plan for your IT service company?

The first thing you should discuss with potential IT providers is the plan and vision they have for their own organization. Coming to understand the long-term plan of different providers will help you determine if their business vision and values align with those of your own organization.

If you start the conversation by focusing on long-term plans and strategies, you’ll be able to weed out providers whose business vision doesn’t line up with the kind of service and support you’re looking for. You’ll also be demonstrating to potential providers that you’re an informed and prepared business professional who takes a managed IT service partnership seriously.

What is your exit strategy?

The next thing you should discuss is the exit strategy of the different providers you’re interviewing. An organization’s exit strategy will outline the way the provider will wrap up services with you when the service and support objective has been achieved.

By coming to understand the way different providers approach ending a service agreement, you’ll foster the reassurance and peace of mind necessary to enter into a trusting partnership with the right provider. Remember, you only want to partner with a provider who is committed to ensuring a smooth transition once a service agreement is finished.

Is the IT support you’ll provide my organization local or remote? 

This one is important. Like we mentioned countless providers are flooding the IT service and support industry these days and many of them are national providers who want to offer remote services to businesses anywhere in the country. That’s why it’s critical to ask different providers if their service and support will be provided locally or remotely.

This is an especially important question if your organization is looking to secure on-site support of any kind. In this case, if you’re considering partnering with a remote provider, you must ask them how they will address on-site concerns or if they have the means to handle on-site concerns with innovative virtual strategies. If you want or need a boots-on-the-ground approach, you’re probably better to partner with a local provider.

Is your staff made up of full-time employees, contractors, or is it entirely outsourced?

Next, it’s important to understand the make-up of each provider’s work-force. What does their team look like and how do they employ their staff? Do they have a team of full-time employees? Do they contract out systems administrators and on-site support staff? Or do they outsource their service and support staff entirely?

Coming to understand what your potential provider’s work-force looks like is another important way to measure whether or not your approach to business aligns with theirs. Do you want to ensure the support staff you’re dealing with are directly employed by the service provider you sign with? Is there a chance that working with contracted or outsourced support staff will result in confusion or communication breakdown? What is the chain of command? Make sure to explore these questions directly with potential providers.

Do you outsource any part of your services whatsoever?

Finally, you should investigate whether or not any aspect of IT services and support are outsourced by potential providers. Sometimes IT providers will outsource specialized elements of IT service and support, so it’s a good idea to find out what they handle themselves and what they outsource to specialists.

By addressing this question from the very start, you’ll avoid surprises down the line. The last thing you want is to partner with an IT service provider and find out a few months in that an entirely different company is being brought in to address a concern or project. Ask potential providers to be upfront and clear about whether or not they rely on outsourcing for any element of their service and support.

An Important Question to Ask Yourself: What Kind of IT Service & Support Are You Looking For?

It’s not just about asking IT providers the right questions – you need to make sure that you’re asking yourself the right questions too. Now that we’ve gone over some of the fundamental questions that will get you pointed in the right direction when selecting an IT services company, let’s talk about some other ways you can prepare yourself for hiring the right provider. Asking questions is important but in order to know what answers you’re looking for, it’s important to do your homework.

The reality is, every provider you interview will claim to offer the very best in “quality services and solutions”. Before you can assess whether they’re a good match, you need to have a solid idea of what quality IT support looks like for your organization. The right provider will be one that offers services and solutions to match the long-term vision and strategy of your organization. Let’s explore a few ways you can determine the exact kind of value you’re looking for from an IT service provider.

Here are some tips to help you understand the kind of IT service and support you need:

  • Take an IT inventory – Take stock of all the different IT resources your team relies upon – including software and hardware. Map out your network requirements so that you can make what you’re looking for clear to potential providers.
  • Communicate with your team – It’s a great idea to talk to your team and ask them what kind of IT service and support they need. Since your team are the users of your technology, you want to make sure providers are equipped to support them strategically.
  • Talk to other organizations in your industry – Reach out to colleagues in your industry and ask them what kind of IT services and support they rely on. By coming to understand the industry standard, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for and insist upon from potential providers.
  • Reach out to a team of IT professionals for an initial consultation – If you’re unsure of where to start or what to look for, you can always reach out to a team of IT professionals for an initial consultation. They can help you conduct an initial assessment to determine the nature and extent of the services you require.
  • Do your homework and go with your gut – Above all, when looking for an IT service provider, do your research and trust your instincts. Read client reviews, industry reviews, and ask for case studies and success stories to ensure potential providers have the proof to put their money where their mouth is.

When it comes to our IT services and support, we’re an open book. Give us a call anytime at (613) 634-8125, or visit our website at www.onserve.ca to chat with a live agent and book a consultation.