Choosing an IT provider is a lot like picking a dentist. You want someone who is experienced, has good references and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. And when you have a dental emergency, you expect them to make you the priority. You want someone you can trust, that will get it all done in one visit, and is going to make the whole experience as pain free as possible.
That’s exactly what you should be looking for when it comes to selecting who manages your IT environment. Your network is the backbone of your business. Without email, internet and business software, your business grinds to a halt. That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced IT provider who understands how your business functions.
We’ve put together the top 6 characteristics you should look for when evaluating or choosing a new IT provider:
- CUSTOMIZABLE AND SCALABLE – Not all business IT needs are alike. To ensure that your IT is improving your team’s productivity rather than hindering it, a cookie-cutter solution isn’t going to work. A customized approach with solutions developed with your business’s needs and goals in mind is going to be the most effective. This approach will also allow for the flexibility you need to adapt to your business’s growth and evolving needs.
- RESPONSE TIME – The last thing you want when you are experiencing an IT problem is for the help desk’s answering machine to pick up the call. You want to speak to a real, live person 24 hours a day. Make sure your provider has Service Level Agreements that spell out their response times and methods that are reasonable for your business needs. Those with a mobile fleet of technicians, for example, can quickly arrive onsite to troubleshoot the problem and get you back up and running. And to help prevent emergencies, your provider should be proactively monitoring your network to stop issues before they occur.
- LOCAL SUPPORT – You need a provider who is easily accessible and understands your business. A provider who is locally based will be able to deliver real-time, on-site assistance in case of an emergency such as downtime, or a virus attack that an out-of-state or global company may not be able to match. A local provider will also be aware of the challenges other businesses in your geographical area face which can help them proactively suggest solutions to problems before they occur. By being close by, it cuts down on the technician’s travel time and if you are billed by the hour, this makes for a cost-effective option.
- CUSTOMER CENTRIC APPROACH – Your IT provider shouldn’t feel like an outsider to you and your team. They should be invested in your success just like any other team member. If your provider is putting you and your business first, your experience with them will be as easy, enjoyable and convenient as possible. Allowing you to spend more time growing your business rather than fighting with your technology.
- STRATEGIC ADVICE – Your business isn’t static, and your IT support shouldn’t be either. Changes in your staff count, office locations, projects and software require planning and support. Your provider should be performing frequent technology reviews, budget planning and business impact analysis so they can prepare your IT environment for the upcoming changes to make the transitions as smooth as possible.
- EXPERIENCE AND REPUTATION – You want a provider who has a strong team with IT technical experience in your industry and region. Your provider should not be using your business as a learning experience but rather come in with the necessary expertise to be as efficient and cost effective as possible. They should also have a track record of solid client retention with positive reviews.
Putting your trust into a provider to manage your network isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. Take the time to evaluate if they can meet your needs and if they have the essential characteristics described above to help your business fulfill its potential.
We are confident that our support and solutions can help make your business run better. Contact us today online or at 800-669-8513 to learn more about how we can support your business.