One true fact is that no company in the second decade of the 21st Century does business without leveraging some type of technology. Hence, no company in this digital age doesn’t need IT support.
When you’re getting your small business up and running, hiring a full-time IT professional, let alone a whole team of IT experts, is something that you probably can’t afford. Nevertheless, you cannot afford not to have an IT team, because you very much need it. What to do?
Luckily, many IT service providers offer small business IT support to those companies that cannot afford to hire full-time IT professionals. If you’re considering outsourcing the IT functions of your small business to an IT service provider, then there are several crucial questions to ask your potential partner in technology.
Do you specialize in any industry?
Finding out the specific industries that your potential IT company specializes in is a crucial first step. For instance, if they make 60 percent or more of their revenues from logistics companies and you are a law firm, there is likely going to be some issues.
It’s best to outsource to an IT company that is conversant with the ins and outs of your industry and offers technology solutions that are valuable for businesses in your specific industry. An IT services provider who has enough experience in your field will understand your unique software and hardware needs, thus will spend less time familiarizing themselves with foreign applications and more time optimizing technology for success.
What services are included in your IT support contracts?
“We cover everything” is an answer that sure sounds good, but it is not the one you are looking for. You have to ask yourself, does “everything” means that all their services are preventative, proactive, or both?
It is important to understand your business needs beforehand, and then ask the IT provider if they offer the services that your business needs. Also, should you experience technical issues with your server that necessitate a replacement, will the replacement be covered by the contract, or will it attract additional costs?
How flexible are your IT support options?
IT support providers offer varying degrees of support, depending on their clients’ IT needs and budgets. As a small business, you not only need an IT provider that fosters company growth, but that is also capable of adapting their IT services to fluctuations in your business environment.
A reliable IT support provider is the one that is able to provide a variety of customizable solutions. For instance, the IT company should not only serve as your fully outsourced IT department, but it should also provide expert consulting to help create a solid IT plan that supports our company’s long-term goals.
Will we have a dedicated account manager?
It is of essence that you know who to contact in case of IT issues. Ask the IT provider whether you should reach out to an account manager, support desk, or the IT technicians themselves. A good IT support provider is one that appoints a dedicated account manager to handle responsibilities such as answering your questions, scheduling face-to-face meetings, etc.
How much does your service cost
When talking to a prospective IT support provider, you should be able to get a very close estimate of what it will cost to manage and support your IT network. Besides providing you with an estimate, they should also give clear and understandable reasons to justify their service cost. With these estimates, you can be able to compare the provider with other prospective IT support providers to find the one that offers the level of support your business needs at a cost that you can afford.
Deciding to outsource your small business IT support services is a big smart decision. The above five questions can help you to choose the IT company that is best suited for the job.
With the right IT support company, you will be able to establish a favorable client-provider relationship and set your business up for success.