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Are you finding IT support that meets your business needs? These simple tips will demystify the process and help you make the right selection when outsourcing IT support.
You’re aware of how increasingly complex IT has become and you’re ready to save time and money by outsourcing IT support to those who specialize in the industry and technologies you need to thrive and adapt in a competitive marketplace. But given the importance of IT support to your business, it’s never easy choosing an IT services company. Does it feel like you need to be an IT expert to choose a company with the right experience, skill and track record for delivering exceptional support?
We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to be an IT expert to make the right choice. These tips will help you choose wisely to get the right results for your company.
You always try to support local businesses. You know how important it is to the local economy. And networking with local businesses strengthens your position in the community. But there are other reasons that local is better even in something like IT, that can be administered from halfway around the world.
Local businesses can more effectively share your business hours. You’re not working with someone who just rolled out of bed at 2 a.m. to help you. So it’s easier to get key people on the line when you need them and get a better level of support.
Second, they can be onsite fast when needed. Technology disasters can strike even the best-run departments. You may need people physically in your building, checking your servers or getting employees set up. You don’t have this option with a long-distance relationship.
And finally, it’s always good when you can meet people in person before starting a business partnership. Go out for coffee or schedule the board room for a meet and greet between key employees with both companies. Get to know and trust each other to work together more effectively.
A lot of an IT support team’s ability to troubleshoot, support and offer viable IT solutions comes from the fact that they know your industry almost as well as you do. It cuts down on the questions they have to ask and the research they have to do to solve problems. It means they have a clearer understanding of what you need to succeed.
IT experience without the complementing industry knowledge means that a lot of IT services are just shots in the dark that you can’t afford.
Ask about industry expertise and confirm that they have it.
It’s true. Any IT professional is accustomed to constantly encountering and learning new technologies. They have to be able to do this because the number of technologies out there are simply too many and always changing. But when it comes to the core of your systems like what operating system you use, your customer relationship management systems, etc. you should only be outsourcing IT support to a company that is “compatible” unless you plan to change your technology from the ground up to align with that service.
“Sure, we can handle that” isn’t the same as “We do handle that. We work with it all the time. We know what we’re doing.”
Your Cisco phone system has gone completely haywire in the customer service department and you can’t take or route calls. Long before this happens, you need to find IT support that both understands the urgency of situations like this and has the infrastructure to get calls re-routed fast and those phones back online. Ask for an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that outlines what you can expect from the company. This agreement gets timeframe metrics in writing for everything from callback to response to resolution.
While you might expect any company to deliver a certain level of service, you can’t leave this to chance when seconds of downtime matter.
You invest a lot of time and research when selecting an IT support company. And you don’t want to have to go through this process again next year or in five years. It’s important that you work with a company that can grow with you. And, if you experience seasonal highs and lows, you need to know that they can ramp up or down their level of support to meet your needs.
When it’s all said and done, finding IT support that works for your business is about doing the research, asking these kinds of questions and looking for a partner that understands your industry and business needs.