Trillions of dollars are poured into IT every year by companies big and small. There are no signs of that trend slowing down as more businesses settle into working remotely and may remain doing so for years to come.
That begs the question — how much did your business spend on IT this year? Do you have any level of IT support aiding your company as it forays deeper into the world of technology?
If you’re reading this post, you’re looking to invest in an IT provider that can aid in all of your technical troubleshooting and expansion needs. Which provider should you choose though? After all, there are a lot of options on the market.
In this post, our team shares several factors that will allow you to filter your IT professional picks and hopefully land on the perfect partner. Keep reading to learn more!
1. Consider Your Location
It can be tempting to hire an IT provider that lives in Moscow and consequently offers great prices on their monthly service packages.
Here’s the thing though… IT providers that operate abroad can’t be held accountable for their services in the same way that domestic providers can. Also, what happens if a problem comes up that requires in-person intervention? Are you going to fly your support person over from the other side of the world to run diagnostics?
Ensuring that you’re able to enjoy both ad-hoc (remote) support and in-person support when you need it is integral to getting the most out of your IT provider arrangement. Enable that by working with someone that can reasonably make their way to your business if something comes up that warrants a visit.
The best IT provider in the world isn’t worth engaging if what they charge is not feasible for your company. With that in mind, filter your IT options immediately by understanding how much you can invest in help each month and weighing that against the provider’s advertised rates.
Granted, most IT service provider websites will not be explicit about their rates. That creates an annoying situation where you have to get a consult to learn what you’re liable to pay.
Still, even if it takes wasting a few minutes on the phone, try to get your IT prospect to give you an idea of what they charge as quickly as possible. That way you can save yourself time taking in a sales pitch that you couldn’t buy into even if you wanted to.
3. Contract Terms
Every IT provider you work with is going to require some sort of contract. The terms within that contract, however, will vary from provider to provider.
A common contract element to watch out for is the required length of services. For example, some IT providers may ask you to commit to using their services for at least 6 months. When that period is up, you’ll have to go through a renewal process, should you choose to. Other providers may let you go month to month.
In our experience, contract terms are negotiable so if there’s something in a contract that makes you uncomfortable, say so. You may end up getting a slightly better deal at no additional cost to you.
4. Level of Service
Your typical contracted IT service provider isn’t just working with you. They’re working with you and a pool of other businesses like yours to pull in as much revenue as possible.
That should come as no surprise.
What may come as a surprise is if your IT provider ends up being too busy to manage any of the asks you make of them because they’re busy with other client’s accounts.
It can be hard to get a sense of how vested your IT service provider will be in managing your account until you’ve worked with them for a little bit. That makes it ultra-valuable to have a cancellation clause in your contract within a 30-day period due to dissatisfaction.
If you don’t have a cancellation clause, pay attention to how attentive IT providers are when they court you. If you’re noticing during the courting phase that your provider seems to be spread thin, know that behavior will likely get worse when you become a client.
5. Industry Specialization
Not all IT needs are the same from industry to industry. For example, those that work in the film industry may be concerned with ingesting large media files into secure servers. Those that work in eCommerce may be interested in protecting customer payment data.
While the best IT provider out there is likely capable of stretching into several different IT capacities, we recommend giving the edge to the company that specializes in your area of work, if possible. Working with an IT provider that knows your industry can make explaining your needs to them worlds easier. It also creates conditions where they can offer consultation on how other companies they’ve worked with within your industry meet their technological needs, which can inform your processes.
A Great IT Provider Is Worth Their Weight in Gold
While some look at hiring an IT provider as another line-item in their expense column, we look at IT providers as a worthy investment. Not only are IT providers great at helping you work through today’s problems, but they’re integral in helping you insulate yourself from getting left behind by technology in the future.
If any of that sounds compelling to you, we recommend hooking up with an IT solution provider as soon as you can. After having worked with one for a while, you may very well wonder how you ever got along without their assistance.
For more insight on all things tech and business, explore the latest content we have available on our blog!