For a small business, knowing when to bring on an IT partner is a big decision. On the one hand, any added expense can be nerve-racking for smaller organizations. On the other hand, efficient and effective use of technology can be a game-changer. Better security, improved efficiency, and the ability to focus on core tasks are just a few of the benefits. Those benefits, however, do come with a cost. So how are you supposed to know when it’s time to bring in outside help? As important, how are you supposed to choose the right partner to handle your IT needs?
While many resources are available to help choose the right IT partner, most of them ignore the most important part of the equation: your business. It is impossible to even start the process of choosing a technology partner without first taking stock of your business’s present state. Just as you would not purchase an insurance policy without carefully considering potential risks and coverages, so too should you avoid trying to select an IT partner without considering your goals, budget, and resource requirements.
In this post, we will detail four questions to ask when considering an IT partner with a focus on what matters most.
Four Questions to Ask When Considering an IT Partner
What are we trying to accomplish through our use of technology??
One of the first things you should ask yourself when considering an IT partner is what you are trying to accomplish through technology. If you know what you really want to achieve, the underlying business objectives, it will be easier to find the right partner that can help you get there. Conversely, if you don’t have a specific goal in mind, an IT partner may not be the right decision.
Security, improved efficiency, and resiliency are all common goals businesses have when considering an IT partner. It’s important to remember that each of these objectives comes with its own set of challenges and solutions. As such, you need to be clear about what your specific goal is before moving forward.
Not sure where to start? Evaluate your current use of technology and how it is helping or holding back your business. Axxys Technologies can help by first assessing your current environment and uncovering areas of opportunity for improvement.
How much help do we need?
Most businesses already have some IT resources in-house. Sometimes the owner sets up all new computers and servers. Sometimes an employee takes on IT responsibility in addition to their “real” job. And sometimes there is a team member (or an entire team) focused on IT already. As such, you should ask yourself, how much help do you need?
It’s important to remember that not all IT partners are created equal. Some partners specialize in certain areas while others offer a more general service. It’s important to find the right partner that can meet your needs. If you need help with security, for example, you will want to find a partner that specializes in security.
On the other hand, if you already have internal IT staff, you may only need a partner to augment your team. In this case, the partner might handle the more difficult tasks while your internal team handles the day-to-day operations.
Axxys Technologies can supplement your team where there are gaps in skills or expertise. Don’t have any internal dedicated IT resources? No problem, we can manage your entire network including telephones, storage, and security.
Do we need a strategy or just execution?
Does your business have a plan for reaching your goals? Or do you need help with charting the course for the future through technology?
When you consider the answer to the first question about what you are trying to accomplish, it is then important to consider whether or not you know how to get there.
Some IT partners are great at executing a plan that you have already designed. Maybe your network is in great shape, you just need someone to manage and maintain it. Maybe you are completely unsure of what to do and need someone to come in, get a bird’s eye view, and offer a complete solution. Either way, Axxys Technologies can help. From assessments and technology audits to ongoing network and security management, we have you covered.
How much technical debt is on hand?
Technical debt is the term used to describe the amount of work that needs to be done in order to bring your systems up to date. This technical debt can manifest in old hardware, legacy applications, or systems that are insecure or inefficient because of their age.
If you have a lot of technical debt, an IT partner will likely need to update or refresh certain things to bring your network up to date. If you have very little technical debt, then your IT investment can be allocated to future improvements. In either case, protecting your business, improving efficiency, and freeing employees to work on critical tasks strengthens your organization as a whole.
Don’t let technical debt scare you away from making an investment in your network. Axxys Technologies can safely update your network in phases or all at once depending on your needs.
Choosing the Right IT Partner Starts with You
It’s important to remember that each business is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There will be a time to evaluate the capabilities and offerings of each potential IT partner. That time, however, comes after evaluating your own goals, resources, and present state. Before you bring on an IT partner, ask yourself these four questions. Axxys Technologies can help you answer them and find the perfect partner for your business. Contact us here to learn more.