When it comes to starting any new business relationship, the “fit” is imperative. Building business relationships always requires a little homework and research, but it primarily boils down to one thing—asking the right questions.
It is even more important to ask the right questions when bridging a partnership with a new IT provider. An IT partner is an essential resource for businesses of all sizes, especially when it comes to tasks such as maintenance, implementation, and support. IT partners are responsible for navigating the ever-changing IT landscape and providing expertise to ensure your infrastructure is up-to-date and secure.
With this level of responsibility, you must verify that they meet all your IT needs; to make that verification effective, you must ask a lot of questions. While your requirements are unique to your business, there are a few questions you should always ask. In this post, we’ll discuss the five questions that are critical to ask a potential IT partner.
Five Questions to Ask a Potential IT Partner
Whether you’re a startup, expanding, or need a new and better IT partner, here are some questions to ask:
What are your areas of expertise and experience in the IT industry?
IT is a constantly shifting landscape. With new technology, tools, and strategies emerging all the time, IT providers must evolve accordingly. Those who have notable experience are better equipped to help businesses navigate these waters. They can offer suggestions on tools that can save money. They can offer recommendations for applications that can improve collaboration. They can design security plans that fit your network. In short, they’ll be able to offer advice on the best IT solutions for your business needs, and their advanced knowledge can help you stay ahead of the competition.
Do you have case studies or client references?
When looking for an IT partner, it’s important to read any available case studies and look for references from past clients. This will reveal how they’ve helped other companies with IT problems like your own. As you review case studies, look for evidence of success with projects and implementations aligned with your current requirements. However, you should also look for cases that demonstrate the provider’s ability to offer solutions tailored to other businesses’ needs as well. This background will give you an understanding of their capabilities and the range of IT solutions they can offer.
What is your pricing model (managed services, hourly, project-based, etc.)?
Managed services for IT is a popular model because it’s all-encompassing and scalable. The IT provider charges a simple per-user or per-end point rate, and fully supports the organization with a full suite of IT services.
Hourly pricing models offer flexibility and transparency. The provider bills you for the actual time they worked on your project. This model allows them to take on multiple projects while still providing an accurate estimate of the total cost of the project.
Project-based providers usually have a fixed rate for their IT services and tend to be better suited for larger projects. This model allows them to focus on one project at a time, giving them the opportunity to dedicate more resources and time to it.
How do you handle support and maintenance?
It is critical to ask your IT candidate about their support and maintenance protocols! Try to understand how they will help you if something goes critically wrong. Their support and maintenance protocols should include response time, methods of communication (phone, email, chat, etc.), and any other relevant details. For hourly-based support, you should also inquire about any fees associated with emergency services so you can factor them into your budget for an IT partner.
Poorly managed or inconsistent support can have a significant impact on a business’s operations, resulting in costly disruptions and even security vulnerabilities. Every business should be aware of their IT provider’s response time and communication methods in the event a problem arises, as well as their maintenance and support procedures in general.
What is your service delivery model?
Different IT providers have different service delivery models. Some assign a smaller team to your specific account so that they have a deeper knowledge of your business and network. Others have a large pool of support team members who may not have as much knowledge of your business needs but can address tickets faster and at any time of day or night.
Additionally, a number of IT providers have more senior technicians or engineers at the ready if an issue is deemed critical or hard to solve. Will you have access to these technicians? Under what circumstances?
Finally, ask if the IT provider is local or has a local partner who can be on-site in the event on-site assistance is needed.
EXTRA: Are you insured?
Lastly, ensure that the IT service provider you choose is insured. This coverage keeps everyone safe. Should something go wrong, insurance protects you from financial loss. The level of insurance coverage an IT service provider should carry depends on the size of the company and the type and scope of services they provide. Generally speaking, the greater the risk associated with a project, the higher the level of insurance an IT provider should have. For example, companies providing data-centric solutions like cloud storage or cyber security should carry higher levels of insurance coverage.
Choose the Right IT Partner and Watch Your Business Soar
To find the partner that meets all of your needs, you have to do some research. Discover their capabilities, pricing model, support and maintenance protocols, and insurance coverage. With those answers, you can make a more informed decision.
You should also consider how you can benefit from a long-term partnership with a candidate. Establishing a good relationship with your IT provider can help ensure that you have access to the latest tools and technologies, as well as the support you need to keep your operations running smoothly. Partnering with an IT service provider is a great opportunity to dedicate more time and resources to your core business goals.
Axxys Technologies is an IT service provider that specializes in providing comprehensive solutions. From cloud storage and cyber security services to data management and analytics, we have the necessary experience and expertise to help you achieve your goals.
We provide a tailored approach to IT solutions. We collaborate with you to develop strategies that provide the answers specific to your needs and objectives. Additionally, we provide superior customer service and technical support. In the event that something goes wrong, we have a team of IT professionals who are available 24/7.
Don’t settle for just any IT provider; choose one that gives you everything you need and is ideally suited for your goals. If you’re looking for a caliber of service you’ll never have to worry about, Axxys Technologies is the ideal partner. Contact us today and see how we can help your business soar!