10 August 2017
Your IT provider needs to know your business plans, it’s a partnership. If you can’t tell them your business plans or where you want to be in 3-5 years then it’s hard for them to advise what IT system you need to reach or surpass your goal. Your IT infrastructure is often a foundation that supports and enables your business. Don’t have your business adapting to your IT system, have your IT system supporting your business.
The cloud isn’t the answer to every solution. A common question I’m asked is that a client has heard that they should be using the “cloud”. The cloud is one tool among many in your arsenal. It could be that certain aspects of your system should be in the cloud, it could be that no aspects suit the cloud. Every business is unique and every solution needs to take this into account.
Long term relationships are best when it comes to IT. Every IT service provider works differently, and has slightly different way of delivering their services to you. Some charge call outs fees, some charge a flat monthly fee whilst others provide blocks of time that you purchase on an annual basis and then draw from. Consider the type of contract they’re offering you, are they trying to lock you into a long term contract? Do you have a get out clause? What are the renewal agreements? What are the opening hours and response times? Which method of delivery suits you best and which provider do you trust the most? Your IT provider often has unprecedented access to your systems, you have to be able to place a huge amount of trust in them.
IT moves quickly and there are constantly new developments. You should be able to sit down and have a free informal chat with your IT provider from time to time to simply chat about how things are going and what might be beneficial to your business. Ideally your IT provider should be doing this for you automatically.
Stability is important. Are you being given a new “Account Manager” on a quarterly basis? This really isn’t the best way to provide IT services to you. You need to have confidence that your IT service provider knows you and your system personally. You need your IT provider to be stable and understand your needs and systems.
Ask your potential IT provider for any existing clients they are happy to put you in touch with so you can get first hand feedback about the quality of their service. If they’re confident in their quality of service they’ll be happy to let you speak to a selection of existing clients to get some feedback.