Finding the perfect IT partner isn’t always easy but for any business it is one of the most important decisions to be made. We are all heavily reliant on our IT and our data so ensuring the right IT support is in place is crucial. It can be something that smaller businesses overlook until they have an IT crisis which needs addressing. This can be a stressful and costly oversight.
We would always recommend being prepared. Don’t wait until your systems go down to start talking to IT providers that can help. If you don’t currently have IT support in place make addressing this a priority.
There are many factors to consider when appointing an IT provider, here are some of the important things to consider and some guidance on where to start.
Choosing your business’ IT provider
1. Think about what your organisation needs.
The first thing to consider is what you really need. Do you already have IT expertise in-house? Are you looking for a fully managed service or specialist support to cover areas where you don’t have in-house expertise? Or maybe you already work with an IT company but your needs have changed as your business has grown. Do you use specialist systems or bespoke software? Do you work with sensitive data? Consider the impact of your systems going down and how you would like that to be resolved. Once you’ve considered what IT support will work for your business then it is time to look at providers.
Don’t assume that all IT support companies offer the same skills and expertise. You want to work with an IT partner that meets all of your needs so do some research. Look at the information on websites. If you don’t see what you are looking for then ask questions about their expertise and type of work, the types of businesses they currently support and the training and qualifications their staff have.
Identify how long your prospective IT provider has been in business as well as the number of staff they currently employ. As more and more business websites tend to give the illusion of being much bigger than they actually are, it is vital that you ensure they have the capacity to handle your business’ IT requirements alongside other clients.
Do they have testimonials on their website? If not ask for references and speak to an existing client about the service they receive.
LinkedIn can also be a great place to get a feel for a company, it will give you a picture of approximately how many people they employ and what experience and qualifications those people have.
Check if they have any awards or accreditations. For example, if you use Microsoft products then you might want to look for a Microsoft certified partner.
3. Level of support
What level of support do you need and what level can the companies you are considering offer? Often businesses think they need support on hand for when things go wrong but it can be advisable to use an IT company that will work to prevent problems in the first instance. Ensuring that systems are updated regularly can help to guard against security threats. A risk assessment of your IT systems can help to identify any weaknesses and put fixes in place.
Some providers will offer 24-hour support lines which might be crucial for some businesses but not for all. It’s about finding the right match. At MWL our service desk is staffed by qualified engineers 24/7. If your business operates around the clock then access to help no matter what time of day or night could be incredibly valuable.
Budgeting for IT support is key. As with any industry expertise doesn’t come cheap. However, choosing an IT provider that can support your organisation can provide immeasurable benefits. The right provider will be able to minimise downtime and ensure your systems are fit for business. When systems run efficiently then everyone is more productive.
The cost of downtime when something goes wrong can be phenomenal.
5. Approach and culture
Your relationship with any service provider is important. You want your IT provider to be a partner, they need to understand your business and what you are trying to achieve. You want them to share your goals. Make sure that your chosen provider is one that you are comfortable working with and feel supported by.
For more information please call MWL Systems for an appointment on 01978 858300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org