As business technology grows more complex and increasingly integrated with every aspect of daily business operations, outsourcing I.T. services to an experienced provider with a robust suite of services has become a necessity for many companies. Outsourcing your I.T. can allow you to keep up with changing trends in technology, and avoid using up a significant amount of time and energy on maintaining your technology.
Once you have decided to partner with an outside firm for your I.T. needs, it is important to carry out systematic, ongoing evaluations to make sure that the investment you have made is paying off. The objective of outsourcing I.T. is to streamline operations and improve efficiency so your business can grow. Keep that objective in mind as you appraise the return on investment you are receiving by outsourcing your technology services.
Pay Attention To:
1. Quality of Service
Even though Service Level Agreements (SLA) are included in the contract you have with your provider, in the beginning it is imperative that you pay attention to the quality of service that you are receiving. Response times and uptime are good metrics that you can use when evaluating the performance of your current I.T. provider. Moreover, when your company makes use of technology 24/7, it is essential to have a customer support system that is ready to provide help for your network whenever needed.
2. They Get You
Do you feel frustrated because your I.T. provider does not understand the nature of your business? You may feel stuck because your I.T. provider does not give enough attention to understanding your needs and goals. This type of communication gap results in your provider and you being on separate pages regarding expectations of output, timelines, planning, and other vital services. If you have been burned in the past by a provider who was not responsive to your needs, you may feel things will be this way with every provider. Thankfully, such is not the case; there are managed services providers available whose ethic revolves around putting customer needs first. An ideal I.T. services firm will prioritize your individual needs and will make decisions that will result in success for your business.
3. Security & Backup
One of the main reasons for outsourcing I.T. is access to stronger network security measures that are difficult to incorporate with a small internal I.T. team. The security of your network, safe storage, and backup of your data should be high priorities when evaluating the effectiveness of your existing I.T. provider.
4. Ease of Operations
Outsourcing I.T. can provide conveniences for businesses that are looking to increase the efficiency of their operations. With the right I.T. provider, you should be gaining resources that you can use to carry out operations with greater speed and less effort. If you still find yourself struggling with daily operations, you need a partner that will work with you to, bringing their experience and expertise into play as they help you iron out those issues.
5. Availability of Time
One of the most important reasons for outsourcing I.T. services is to remove the burden from your shoulders, giving yourself more time to focus on the tasks that help develop and grow your business. Once you do not have to worry about overseeing Information Technology, you can focus more on strategic areas that will help grow your business. With your I.T. needs being managed by a valuable partner, you can turn your attention to things like marketing the unique value proposition for your products and services, building up your distinctive brand identity, enhancing your customer service, and increasing sales.
Your I.T. provider should have the ability to maintain consistent levels of service as the needs of your business grow. An ideal I.T. service provider should be able to provide new solutions to your business as your needs change. The security and backup strategies that you employ with fifteen employees and one location will not be sufficient when you have fifty employees and two locations. Likewise, should you decide to increase your online presence, your network and server needs will change. Your I.T. provider should be a partner and resource as you make these changes and grow into the future.
7. Regular Reporting
It is imperative that your I.T. provider delivers regular communication and provides you with regular reports regarding the status of your company’s network. This should include both verbal reports from your account manager, and documentation that will help you evaluate your technology usage and plan for future I.T. needs. These reports should not simply be summaries of problems solved or repairs completed, but should also include analysis of how you are using your technology, and where you can be more efficient or dynamic in what you are doing.
Additional Questions to Consider
Is your I.T. provider:
- Holding ongoing strategic meetings to help you be more competitive and efficient?
- Assessing your company’s needs before recommending solutions?
- Helping you determine the changes necessary to achieve your goals?
- Helping you identify loopholes that technology could improve?
- Helping to make your work more efficient?
- Seeking to understand your goals, and recommending solutions to help you achieve them?
- Sending you detailed invoices?
- Performing regular maintenance to improve system reliability and efficiency?
- Performing regular (monthly) restoration of backups to ensure backup systems are working correctly?
If you are looking for a reliable solution to your I.T. related issues and want an I.T. provider that listens to your needs and works to help you achieve your goals, contact us today. We would love to talk and discuss your needs. Schedule an initial consultation and find out how JMARK can help your business grow.