Businesses have more opportunity now than ever before to access to all the goods and services they need to be successful in their industry. The internet, along with its vast connectivity and capability has opened doors for even the most remote locations on the globe. No matter where an organisation is, whether it be in the Port of Spain, London, Riyadh or anywhere else in the world they have access to all that is needed to help their business progress.
When it comes to IT support each business has different needs. Small companies may only require very basic support in way of storage and services, whilst large companies need robust support and management of their IT needs. Outsourcing can be a fantastic option for many businesses, both small and large, whether they be well established or a new start-up, what is important and should always be remembered in regards to outsourcing and managed services particularly when it relates to IT, the benefits for the company are potentially huge. Efficiency, adaptability and access to resources is increased while cost and inconvenience is decreased.
When it comes to outsourcing in the IT sector a variety of services are available. The most common and popular is desktop support, but there are a number of services to choose from: hosting, security, network configuration, communications and audits. Also, keep in mind that the type of support you receive will depend on the agreement with your IT service provider. Terms used in the industry for instance: managed services, fully managed services and IT support may have different meaning for different providers. It’s important to determine what is included when weighing you options.
Each company’s experience with regards to their outsourced product or service will vary depending on the company they partner with and what their particular needs are. Careful consideration must be taken when choosing a managed service provider. Each IT company is different and the services they provide, their ethos and even the companies they partner with can affect the experience of their clients.
How to find the right professional IT company for your business:
Evaluate – Before you begin your search, know what you are looking for. Evaluate the needs of your business from connectivity to support to security. Many businesses may skip this step in favour of ‘let’s just see what’s out there’ and their chances of finding the right provider to meet all their needs is lessened or the process is lengthened because they aren’t sure of what they are looking for.
Connect – Chances are people you know may be able to introduce you to reliable and reputable managed service providers and give honest insight into the quality of care they receive. Never underestimate the power of a well worded question on social media or a simple inquiry at a network meeting.
Research – The best way to avoid disappointment is to do your research. Online research should include more than a google search – check out the prospective company’s blog, LinkedIn page, social media pages and their general online presence.
Interview– The next natural step in the process is approaching the companies you are interested in and set up appointments. Knowing what to ask can be a challenge, here are some suggestions for interview questions. If you are using any hosting services it’s recommended to visit the company personally and have a look at their data centre. Take note of security and access protocols that they have in place and be sure to ask how data is secured and managed.
Negotiations – Once you have found a provider that is suitable for your business, the next step it to negotiate the contract. Transparency and communication is paramount for both parties in this process to avoid disappointment. Knowing exactly what you need and articulating your needs and expectations will ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises in the future.
Review – When the contract is in place and the agreed services have begun, a regular review is necessary to make sure that all that was agreed upon is being delivered to expectations. If there are any discrepancies it is best to communicate the issues sooner rather than later.
Following these suggested steps will help ensure that your experience with outsourcing your IT needs is a positive one.
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