I recently visited with a small business interested in hiring a professional IT services company. A few minutes into the conversion, they mentioned the expensive package of products and services a competing IT company had offered them. It was pretty clear that they were being over-sold and over-priced.
In the professional IT services industry, this is an all-too-common occurrence.
Outsourcing to an IT services company is no longer a luxury for today’s SMEs. Technology is now moving so quickly that it’s getting increasingly difficult for the average IT team or department to maintain their internal IT resources. Aside from keeping vital systems up and running, these professionals must also handle the company’s data management, backup and security while staying on top of a constant drumbeat of new trends and technologies.
But, that’s for the SMEs who can actually afford to hire a whole team. Many smaller enterprises rely on only one individual who usually has several other responsibilities to take care of.
Often the owners and leaders of an enterprise want to tap outside IT support, but are not really sure what to look for when deciding on which provider to use. There are so many choices. How are they supposed to know which IT company is the best one for their business needs?
So, how can you be sure that the company you are hiring can and will do what they promise and is really working for your success– especially if you are not so tech savvy?
Here are three things you should consider before agreeing to work with any IT professional services company:
You want to get some insight into how they’ve treated past and current clients. Look for online reviews, look at their social media accounts, do a search in industry-related forums, even a simple online search of the company’s name can give you vital information about the kind of organization it is.
The next thing to consider is a list of references from previous clients. You should make it a point to contact them and ask them about their experience working with the company.
One important question to ask is what results the business has achieved as result of working with this IT services company.
Take a look at their online presence including their website and any connected social media accounts to see how they are presenting themselves and their services.
Aside from this, find out if they have a physical business address where they work.
Having an established location is a sign that the company is not a “fly by night” operation. This is important if you plan on using hardware with a multi-year warranty or paying for a multi-year service contract.
“You get what you pay for” certainly applies to professional IT services companies.
A company may offer you services at a lower price– but what level of quality can you expect? How experienced are the technicians? What happens if you need urgent assistance? How fast are issues typically resolved? And, how long is it going to take if you require assistance onsite?
Plus, do they show the ability to understand your business and it’s unique needs?
A good IT services company will make the effort to get to know your business and the way it operates. This allows them to make the most suitable, cost-effective suggestions that help you reach your goals. They should also explain everything that they are doing along the way and the impact it should have on the business in easy-to-understand terms that you and your staff can understand.
The prices an IT services company charges can also say a lot about the company. Instead of offering discounted prices, some companies take the other extreme– they charge too much. Even if you are not so tech savvy, you still need to consider the value you are getting for your money. Some companies, like the one mentioned at the beginning of this article, may try to push unnecessary IT services or over-priced technologies on unsuspecting SMEs. When faced with a high price tag, the company should provide you with clear and concrete reasons for why the price is what it is. You should also contact more than one provider to see if the prices you are being offered represent the average market rates.
Bottom line: Do not take the decision to hire an IT company lightly. It pays to make the effort to do some research and select a respected entity that has shown in the past that they have the experience, reputation and integrity to get the job done right.
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