Your business is growing and you need help with your IT. Where do you start? Here are some tips to help make the process of finding knowledgeable IT help a little easier.
Just like hiring an employee, you want to find the right fit with an IT provider. Start by asking your business associates for references and searching the web.
Make initial phone calls to find a few firms that provide the services you need. (If you’re only looking for someone to call when a computer breaks, or just to install a server, that’s a very different approach than a managed IT services firm that provides ongoing support, help desk, and strategy and planning.)
From there, schedule in-person meetings. Having a face-to-face discussion is important to begin building what needs to become a valuable working relationship.
Along the way, here are a few key questions to ask a prospective IT provider:
- What IT services do you offer?
- Will you proactively handle what my business needs, including options for the future, or do you only respond when we call you?
- What is your customer service philosophy?
- How many clients do you serve?
- Do you have any other clients in my line of business?
- What size is a typical client?
- What size is your firm?
- How many technicians do you employ? Are they employees of your firm or contractors?
- Are your techs locally-based or at a distant call center?
- How long have you been in business?
- How are your fees structured (monthly flat fee, by the hour, by the phone call, etc.)? With a monthly flat fee, what services are included?
- What is the length of your service contract?
- How do you ensure a smooth transition from my previous IT provider to your firm?
If you have specific concerns about your IT, such as backup or security considerations, include those in your discussion.
Finally, assuming the service set is what you want, try to get a sense of what’s important to the IT firm in a business relationship. Make sure their values align with yours. This can make or break your relationship down the road.
Take the time to find the IT help that best suits your business. When you’ve chosen the new firm, you can look forward to a successful relationship with IT professionals who will work hard to make sure your IT will effectively support your growth.
If your business needs help managing IT, contact CRU Solutions.