IT outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular among businesses of every shape and size. In fact, when you perform a simple cost / benefit analysis it usually becomes obvious that it is a no-brainer for almost every business, unless IT support, in itself, lies at the very center of what it does. It’s much the same as the fact that everyone except a specialist plumbing company would call in an expert to deal with a leaking pipe or a broken drain. As a result, there are a growing number of IT outsourcing companies out there to choose from, and more are appearing every day. So it is less a question of whether to outsource your IT and more a case of asking yourself to whom? To help answer that question, here are
some of the questions you need ask an IT support provider, and indeed yourself, in order to make the perfect choice for a productive partnership.
1) Are you big enough to grow with my business?
Contrary to popular speculation, size usually does matter. If you are a small start up business, it’s understandable that you might be reluctant to go with one of the biggest IT service providers out there, but stop and think a moment. That one man band who lives around the corner and you have known for years might seem a perfect fit right now, but how
does he fit with your ambitious growth plans for the business? Choose a provider that you will not outgrow. Remember, a successful new business grows even faster than a small
child, and can expand into its service providers just like kids will rapidly grow into that coat that initially looks a couple of sizes too big.
2) What support levels do you offer?
Most providers will offer a choice of service levels according to your needs. These might range from support on a pay-as-you-go basis, through fixed price repair fixes, right through to fully managed support at a monthly rate. Think about what you need, then talk to the providers themselves. They have a vested interest in offering the optimum value to your business, so if they are any good, they will not simply try to sell you the most expensive service offering unless that is the one that genuinely makes the most sense.
3) What are the response times?
This might vary according to the support level you have chosen, but providers will typically have documented response times to which they will commit. Usually, these differentiate
between different priority levels, in much the same way as a police or paramedic service does.
4) What companies do you work with?
If an IT support company can demonstrate that it works alongside the big name vendors such as Microsoft, Citrix, Dell and so on, you can immediately take comfort that it is a professional outfit. Ideally, it will be able to demonstrate that it is a member of their global partnership programs, and holds the appropriate accreditations.