Shopping for an IT provider to manage your IT assets is not easy. This type of service is often very abstract for managers who, in most cases, do not master any notion of the essential needs for their IT environment. Left to their own devices in their decision-making process, it becomes difficult to establish the true value of the service presented, which often leads the manager to choose the lowest bidder. Unfortunately, this decision-making process guides the manager to trust based on price without recognizing the level of expertise or the level of reliability of the selected IT provider.
In order to ensure the credibility and expertise of the IT vendors you meet, here are six important questions to clarify during your IT outsourcing service acquisition process.
First of all, it is important to properly target your company’s needs as well as the expected results in order to guide you in your selection process among potential IT suppliers.
- Is a 24/7 service necessary for your type of business?
- Does the supplier need to be certified on specific hardware or platforms?
- When you make a service call, what are your expectations regarding the time frame for call returns?
With these questions in mind, it is easier for you to target the IT provider that best suits your needs and expectations in terms of services rendered, levels of responsibility and involvement of the IT provider.
The IT supplier must have an informed vision of the reality and issues of your business sector. The solutions proposed by IT suppliers must be able to fit with your company’s growth strategy. In fact, your needs deserve to be met through recommendations specific to your business reality. For example, a company with several points of sale will not have the same needs as a company that only generates its sales on the road. An experienced IT provider sees your future needs ahead of time to provide you with scalable solutions that keep pace with the growth of your business.
It is strongly recommended that you ask the IT supplier you meet to disclose its action plan during the acquisition process of your IT operations. It is reassuring to know that the IT provider you choose has absolute control over the transition and that the takeover of your computer equipment will be done with complete peace of mind and without any unpleasant surprises. However, a preliminary evaluation should be done for the following reasons:
- To obtain an inventory of your equipment;
- Detect problems that could cause a slowdown in the performance of your environment;
- Obtain the necessary information to facilitate the management of your IT.
By taking a look at the range of services and expertise offered by the IT provider, you will be able to choose according to its ability and interest in offering a service oriented towards the growth of your business.
- What related services are eligible by this supplier?
- Is it able to offer you complementary services allowing you to have access to a range of products and/or services for your business?
- Can it offer you advantageous prices on the acquisition of licenses or computer equipment?
In this regard, you could even include a price list of the equipment and brands available from the IT suppliers you met with in your request for a service offer.
One of the main points to evaluate among the suppliers we met with is to define the approach used during emergency situations.
- What is the response time for emergency calls?
- How does it prioritize the management of service calls?
- Is the team at your disposal when you have an urgent need?
The information provided will allow you to better identify how the IT provider is organized to ensure reliable and consistent service when you need it quickly.
It is important to remember that in the IT outsourcing services industry, two main approaches are proposed by IT providers: 1) break and fix and 2) all-in-one management/managed services.
The break and fix type of service offers spontaneous interventions from the provider based on service call and emergency management. This type of service offers a rather limited partnership oriented towards crisis management. Of course, this type of service seems advantageous, as it is requested only when the company recognizes the need for intervention. However, what needs to be pointed out is that appropriate monitoring and maintenance are often neglected, which increases the level of risk relative to the reliability and security of your computer park.
All-in-one management is the complete opposite of break and fix. Oriented towards a preventive service, this type of IT supplier/customer collaboration ensures constant monitoring of IT installations to avoid unpleasant surprises. The IT provider’s interventions in managed service are structured and implement tangible solutions that proactively detect anomalies.
However, the choice of an IT supplier is based on its reliability and its interest in contributing to the success of your business. Its involvement plays a crucial role on the productivity and fluidity of your operations managed by your IT equipment. So, why rely solely on price when it comes to integrating a partner that plays a major role in the health and performance of your daily operations. Finally, knowing how to surround yourself well in business also implies the selection of reliable and efficient suppliers who are concerned about your business objectives.