What to Look for in an IT Service Provider

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Few things are more important to your company than the proper management of your systems and data, as these are used on a day-to-day basis by (most probably) the vast majority of your employees.

And just as you would not hand over the keys to your home to a total stranger you should not entrust your company’s IT systems to a third party without thoroughly vetting them.

So how do you go about doing this? Here are the top 3 important qualities to look for.

What is the level of expertise?

IT professionals who have worked on and resolved thousands of different challenges know exactly what to look for from the very first symptoms you company may experience. But it’s important to distinguish between professional expertise and a service provider’s longevity in the market. While the latter can vouch for the company’s success and stability, you also need to make sure the individual IT professionals that would handle your business are highly qualified and experienced. The best way to guarantee this is to employ an IT service provider that constantly invests in training, learning and keeping up with the latest technologies. See also: The cyber security skills gap and how it’s affecting your business

How to
Ask the company what certifications their IT engineers have and when these were obtained – this is not only a good indicator of existing knowledge, but also of the team’s dedication to excellence and continuous improvement.

How strong are the company’s relationships with manufacturers and providers?

One of the great advantages of employing an IT support company (or IT service provider) is that you will no longer need to handle the communication with manufacturers and service providers – they will do this on your behalf! But this can be a double-edge sword: if the IT provider does not have strong, positive relationships with these, it may cause issues for your company. A good indicator that can tell you about positive relationships with technology suppliers is their status as a partner or certified distributor.

How to
Ask the IT service provider if they are partners or certified distributors of the technologies they would employ for your organisation. Inquire if they have direct contacts for the manufacturers as this will mean a lower resolution time for potential IT issues in your organisation.

To further leverage the company’s relationships with their distributors, it’s also a good idea to work with their recommended manufacturers and service providers, unless there are strong, business-critical reasons for you to do otherwise. This way, you will be getting the best of their expertise as they have likely been working with these technologies long enough to know them inside-out and eliminate a lot of the guesswork from troubleshooting.

Is their team a good fit for yours?

The reality is in today’s market there are plenty of IT support providers you can chose from. But you need to keep in mind that not all providers are created equal and there definitely are some that will be a better match for your organisation than others. For example, if you’re tempted to go for a large IT support company within your area, they might excel at servicing a wide range of IT services but not be that great at offering personalised support and advice the way a small or mid-sized company would be able to. See also: 4 ways outsourcing your IT can really help your business grow

How to
Start by identifying and prioritising the needs of your organisation, and use these as your measuring stick when carrying discussions with a potential IT service provider. Even if they don not tick all your boxes, you need to make sure they will handle your critical priorities effectively and with commitment.

Over to you

We’ve listed down these three qualities to look for when shopping for a new IT support provider as we consider them to be the least obvious, yet they have a great impact on the quality of service your organisation will receive. Have you employed an IT company before? What criteria did you use to choose one and what criteria would you use in the future? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!