How to choose the best IT Service Provider for your business
If you are in a small business that is growing with more than 5 employees, there will come a time that you will need someone to help make sure all your computers, servers, software etc is working the way it should. You might not be at the point in your business to require an IT department full time, but when you start having more employees, an outsourced IT provider to look after this for you can save you a lot of time and money, and most importantly keep your business running and growing!
But how do you choose the right managed IT provider for your business? Here is a handy guide to help you make the right decision for your business.
What is managed IT service?
A managed IT service is an information technology (IT) task provided by a third-party contractor and delivered to a customer. In a managed service arrangement, the managed service provider retains responsibility for the functionality of the IT service and equipment, and the customer typically pays a monthly fee for receipt of the service.
How to choose a Managed IT service provider?
Choosing the correct managed service provider for your business is very important. The right managed IT service provider can propel your business to the next level by giving you the time to focus on the business instead of wasting hours figuring out how to manage your IT, come up with an IT strategy and deal with other tech vendors In every city there are numerous managed IT service providers and how do you choose the one that is right for you?
Start by looking at your business needs. Are you a Small business with up to 50 employees or Medium business with up to 250 employees? Are you doing your IT yourself or do you have you an internal IT resource? What exactly are you looking for from a Managed IT service provider? Here are our top tips on how to choose a correct managed IT service provider for your business.
1. Are they asking the right questions?
The right IT service provider starts by asking you the right questions. The questions about your business, what’s most important for the business, the vision for the business, the goals for next few years, the growth strategy, the pain points, what’s stopping you from getting there [in terms of IT], etc… A confident Service Provider listens to understand your challenge rather than respond. A service provider that says yes to everything without listening to what you say or try to understand the business would be a sign to say it’s not the right one.
2. Remote monitoring and patch management?
Ask them if they offer a remote monitoring for your devices? Will they be managing the regular updates and patches for the network devices? Many service providers do offer this service. Some might charge more than others. You just need to find the right thing for your business. Ideally, you will want the service provider to monitor all the devices on the network, have a patching schedule at least once a month, maintenance window and backup/restore test schedule.
3. Remote and onsite support?
Ideally, you will need both remote and onsite support package unless most of your systems are cloud-based. If your systems are cloud-based you will want to have a remote only support contract and pay separately ad hoc for the onsite calls. You will need to check with the provider if they offer the onsite support services. This might cost more than remotely only support agreement but it will be worth it.
4. Asset tracking?
What and how many devices do you have for your work? These include, mobiles, computers, iPads, servers etc. Can you run a report and see all the inventory in one place? If the service provider is offering you a remote monitoring service then they usually have a inventory of what’s on the network. It is best practice to have the network assets tagged and tracked, so you know where everything is and that it’s working correctly and not being misused. In most cases, this will be included in the managed service contract. If not, please do ask.
5. Usual Metrics?
You can ask for the usual metrics like the provider’s team size, customer retention rate, references, their vision for the business, etc. A large company doesn’t always mean better service, if they have large clients your requests might get put lower down the priority list. Choosing a small IT service provider can be beneficial in most cases but it has its own risks. If you can minimize that risk you might get a great personal service from the small firm. Ask them how are they planning to support you and how are they planning to manage their own growth? Both questions will give you an insight into what they are up to.
6. Understand the industry?
Does the support company understand the industry you operate in? It would be very beneficial if they do. You can leverage the industry best practices, process optimization, workflows, etc… Having the industry knowledge service providers will be able to advise you at the right time.
To make choosing the right provider for you even easier, download our free checksheet so you can compare several IT providers on a like for like basis.
Free Download Here
We hope that helps you uncover the basics behind picking a right service provider. We are always happy to help if you need any further advice or information. Get in touch for a free quote here.
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