A few thoughts worth sharing
For many people, the most challenging part of running a business is keeping up with technology. Sure, you have a firm grasp on the tools you use every day, but why should you have to be a cybersecurity expert too? It’s too much to ask, and it’s why every business needs IT experts in the fold. The problem is that finding a good IT expert can be tough. If you aren’t an expert in the field, how are you supposed to vet other experts? Well, there’s a method to the madness, and when you know the essentials, you can find a great IT company.
How You Benefit from Outsourcing Your IT
If you don’t currently have an IT company, it’s already time to find a new one. Outsourcing your IT is the practice of hiring an external company to handle some or all of your IT needs. You can compare that to hiring an IT expert to be on your company payroll. Outsourced IT is ideal for many businesses because it allows you to have access to robust resources and a wide range of expertise for a fraction of the cost. Your IT provider will likely have multiple clients, and you all split the overhead that comes with hiring specialized IT.
Some of the main benefits of outsourcing are that you get more advanced technology for less money. You get access to greater total knowledge and experience. You get stronger guarantees for IT results. An overlooked advantage is that your IT providers are under less pressure to agree with you. It’s easier for an outsourced provider to tell you no when the occasion arises.
Signs of the Times: How to Know When It’s Time To Switch IT Companies
So, how do you know when it’s time to move on from your current IT company? For starters, when the IT isn’t working, you need a new provider. Of course, that’s pretty vague, so let’s look at some specific examples.
If you can’t get support when you need it, the deal is off. There is no point in staying with a provider who cannot meet your on-demand support needs. This is a business-critical resource. Without it, you lose money or worse.
Now, sometimes that specific problem can stem from outgrowing an old agreement. That said, a good IT company should be on top of change (it’s a primary part of their job), and they should be ready to accommodate your business as your needs change. If they aren’t showing that initiative or ability, you can do better.
Another dealbreaker is when you don’t know what’s going on. Many modern industries have a lot of crossovers with IT, and most business operators have few ideas as to what they need. Your IT provider should be able to explain in clear terms what they recommend and why. They should be able to provide training or additional resources when they are needed. You should always understand what they are trying to accomplish, why it costs what it costs, what the timelines are, and the recovery plans if things go wrong. If you don’t feel informed, you are underserved.
The last big red flag is when you don’t like your contract. There are a lot of ways a contract can go wrong. For instance, you might have a bad (or missing) exit clause. The prices you pay might not reflect what you were promised. Services might not cut the mustard. You might feel like the quality of work does not match your expectations. If—in any way—the contract seems like a hindrance rather than a promise, you are probably in a bad deal.
How to Choose the Right Partner
Ok. You know you need a different IT provider. How do you pick one? First, check the reasons to switch. Start off on the right foot and ensure that you are getting the information you need. Make sure the contract accommodates the level of support you expect. Check that the agreement is flexible enough to adapt if your expectations are off. Also, read some reviews. If other clients feel like they got a good deal, they’ll say so. If the deal isn’t great, they’ll say that too.
Additionally, you need to check certifications. There are more tech certifications than stars in the sky, but you don’t need all of them. Instead, you will require specific specialties. Every single one of them is accredited by somebody. Make sure your new IT company has those credentials.
As with any business decision, take a hard look at the price tag. You have a budget, and your IT company should discuss that with you directly. It’s their job to work to accommodate your budget. If you can’t meet on this point, then keep looking. There are plenty of competent IT companies out there. Take the time to find one that is a good fit.
Lastly, you want to look into vertical experience. This isn’t vital, but it can prove invaluable. It’s common for an IT company to pseudo-specialize in another industry. As an example, a company that does IT for a dentist is going to feel comfortable expanding into that vertical and will probably work with a lot of dentists.
It’s best if your IT provider already has clients in your industry. That might seem like a competitive conflict, but this is one case where that is not a major concern. The IT provider’s experience within your industry can inform their recommendations and help steer you both to the best options more quickly. This can refer to hardware, software, contract specifics, IT strategy, and much more.
After reading all of that, is it time for your St Joseph business to find a new IT company? If you’re leaning in that direction at all, your best course of action is to start having conversations with experts. You can contact ProServ Business Systems today. We’ll discuss your business needs and outline a strategy. You can see if we’re the right fit to take care of your IT moving forward.