The steps to choosing the right technology partner
There are several questions to ask to ensure you select the right IT partner to meet your business’s needs now and in the future. These hinge on undertaking full and thorough due diligence on a prospective technology provider and taking time to assess all your options.
You need to establish that your chosen partner:
• Has a fully staffed team which is approachable, technically proficient and capable of dealing with any IT issue you may have.
• Provides active account management with regular meetings to provide two-way feedback and advice on service level performance, latest information security and technology changes. Good IT partners spend a great deal of time listening and trying to understand your needs.
• Is open and transparent from the outset about what is included – and what’s not – in your support or managed service contract. It is often difficult to compare like for like so if you are paying a fixed fee you need to know what type of items may be classed as outside of your contract and are therefore chargeable. A responsible managed service provider will be able to itemise these. They should also be able to provide you with a regular utilisation report so both parties know exactly how the contract is working.
• Demonstrates good policies, procedures and corporate governance.
• Uses thorough staff security vetting and employs fit and suitable people to trust with access to your business-critical systems and confidential information.
• Is financially sound with acceptable levels of monetary commitments. They must be able to demonstrate robust business sustainability plans to meet these financial obligations, ensuring an uninterrupted support to you now and in the future.
• Can demonstrate an extensive list of IT partners, vendors and certifications. Talk to colleagues in other businesses about their experience with IT partners. Who do they recommend?
• Receives good references. Call out to colleagues who currently use the provider and get their feedback. Ask the provider for site references.
• Makes it easy to onboard and off-board. Moving to or from a new IT provider is often perceived as a difficult, lengthy and costly process. A reputable and professional provider should ensure this transition is seamless but it is vital to understand the process before making the transition, especially when cloud services are involved.