How to find the best IT support partner for your business
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to outsourcing your IT support. And that’s a very good thing. No two businesses are exactly the same. To get the best IT support, you need a partner that can design a solution specific to your organization’s needs and goals.
The process of choosing a partner will require some time and effort, but the benefits of making the right choice will significantly impact the success of your business.
Follow these key steps to find the best IT support partner for your organization.
Identify your goals and objectives
This is a critical step in almost any planning process and it is especially true for finding an IT partner. Make it a point at the start of this process to sit down with your team and discuss where you are and where you want to be now, in a year, and even 5 years from now. This will help define what your technology must help you achieve.
Are you looking to grow your business? Is cybersecurity your top concern? Do you have remote employees? Are you looking for ways to improve your customer experience or for a way to improve collaboration across multiple locations?
Once you clarify your technology goals and objectives, it’s time to find the best partner to help you achieve them.
Operational excellence in an IT partner
Of key importance is an IT partner that embodies the term “operational excellence.” Operational excellence describes a business that uses proactive, disciplined operations and process to drive outcomes versus a more ad hoc reactive approach.
On a day to day basis, operational excellence in an IT firm leads to quality, efficiency, and consistency. These traits all work hand in hand to reduce downtime, improve responsiveness and security and increase productivity. You wouldn’t want an IT partner with the best quality work that never answers your calls. Nor would you want an attentive partner that doesn’t have the technical knowledge needed to execute your solutions.
There are many ways you can determine if a potential partner has these qualities. Following are some recommended steps.
The first thing you should do is ask questions. You want to learn about their processes and how they operate. It’s okay to ask about their staff size and client or employee turnover rate. Both can tell you a lot about a company and its internal culture.
There are some additional questions you can ask to learn more about a potential partner:
- What kind of team do you have and what are their roles? How long have they been in the company/industry?
- How do you guarantee quality and consistency? Do you have any full-time staff dedicated to quality assurance?
- How quickly do you respond to calls or trouble tickets? What are your key internal metrics to ensure timely response and quality of service?
- How do you ensure network health? What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you track and how do you communicate these to your clients?
- What certifications do you have? A SOC II certification, for example, clearly indicates a high level of disciplined operations and makes it easier for you to certify to your own vendors that you have a quality IT partner.
Check for recommendations
Another great way to learn about a business is to find out what others are saying about them. The first place to check is the website of the business. If they have happy customers, they should be eager to share testimonials from their clients right there on their site.
You can also find reviews with a simple online search. Yelp, Google, and Facebook all have ways for clients to leave reviews of a company. And Glassdoor allows you to see what a company’s employees say about the company. Good reviews here, for example, are a key leading indicator of a healthy and vibrant culture that leads to long-term employees and excellent customer service.
Look for flexibility
Finally, you want to make sure to find a partner who does not take a one-size-fits-all approach to IT support. As we discussed earlier, what works for someone else may not be what works best for you. Your IT partner should know that and really take the time to determine your underlying needs and how best to implement them.
Are you completely outsourcing your IT or are you looking for them to augment your current IT staff? Do they offer only a fixed price contract with no flexibility or do they also allow more flexible arrangements where you only pay for what you need?
Look for an IT company that takes the time to find out what your needs and pain points are and then creates a custom plan to address those needs. You want a partner that is capable of not only providing the services and features that will achieve the results you want but also has the experience and disciplined operations to do so in a manner that works well with your team.
Find a partner like that, and you’ll know the future of your business is in good hands.