The business challenges of today have evolved rapidly and significantly over the past decade. Where once a business could thrive by offering great service and choosing the right marketing initiatives, today's digital landscape has added a few more factors into the mix. From investing in the latest cloud computing solutions to choosing the right mobility infrastructure, businesses must keep pace with technology in order to stay innovative and relevant.
Choosing the right IT provider is crucial to the success of your technology strategy. Choose the wrong one and you could be throwing good money after bad. But how can you tell whether your IT provider is giving you the best return on investment, and what can you do to ensure you choose the right provider going forward?
1. The Hostage Situation
If your existing IT provider has you locked into a long term "cell phone" type contract, it could be time to part ways. No IT company should hold you hostage in this way. Quality of service should be the retaining factor here, not a long term contract that you have to pay a penalty to free yourself from. Look instead for IT companies that offer transparent, monthly costs that are billed regularly so that you always know where you stand. While long term agreements make sense in many cases, if your IT provider doesn't perform, it shouldn't require tens of thousands in lost productvity and lawyers to get out of a bad relationship.
2. Slow Response Times and Unresolved Issues
Downtime can hit your business hard. You'll want to rely on an IT provider that can ensure as little of it happens as possible. Many of today's businesses rely completely on technology, and waiting to get through to a helpdesk or for issues to be resolved can bring everything crashing to a grinding halt, costing you money and your reputation. Of course, there may be times when you do need to wait for resolutions to be found, but if you're waiting for an unacceptable amount of time, or you are not being kept informed, it's time to switch providers.
3. They Have the Keys to the Kingdom
In order to provide the right level of support to your business, your IT provider will need the passwords for your systems. However, there is no reason why they should be changing passwords or creating new security credentials without informing you. After all, if you do need to change IT providers later down the line you will need to pass on these credentials to the new company. Any IT provider that insists your passwords are for their eyes only should be avoided.
4. They Don't Understand Your Business
Your business is unique. You need your IT support to be unique and tailored to your individual needs. Unfortunately, many IT providers take a cookie cutter approach to their clients' needs, applying the same services for all. If your IT provider hasn't visited your offices at least once, isn't interested in your business goals and isn't contacting you regularly for a catch-up, it's time to look elsewhere for more attentive service.
5. A Lack of Continuity
One of the reasons businesses choose to outsource their IT function is to save money without compromising on the quality of service. Continuity is a huge concern at all times. The last thing you want to hear when you need support is "Bob is off today. Can you call back tomorrow?" You need to be sure that your IT provider can ensure there is more than one person that understands your systems and that they can provide the support you need when you need it, regardless of their staffing schedules.
Time For a Change?
Whether you are looking for ongoing network security services or help with general IT support, there comes a time when you need to review your existing provider or choose an IT provider for the first time. By choosing the right IT provider for your business, you can continue to provide outstanding service to your customers and a stable and efficient infrastructure for your employees.
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