Finding a trusted IT provider is like searching for a life partner. The decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Migrating email servers or backing up your company data can take weeks — often months — to complete, and your IT partner needs to develop a deep understanding of your business and IT needs to make smart recommendations throughout your partnership.
If you’ve had a poor experience with an IT company in the past, the search for a managed service provider might feel a little painful. Maybe you weren’t a priority to the company or they stirred up more problems than they solved. At any rate, you have ongoing IT needs and must find an IT partner that can deliver.
Gain an IT Partner for Life
Of course, vetting experience should be your first step. Your IT partner should provide concrete examples of client success, provide full transparency into their process and set realistic expectations based on real experience.
Your business and IT needs are constantly changing. You need an IT provider who’s in it for the long haul. Before hiring just any company, there are a few relationship deal breakers you need to consider for a healthier, more productive long-term relationship:
1. They hold frequent reviews. Before signing on with an IT company, you need to investigate their review process. Your IT liaison should plan to meet with you quarterly to answer any lingering questions, stay updated on your business and anticipate any future IT needs.
At Agile IT, we hold quarterly review sessions with every client to ensure they’re fully leveraging their technology investment and get their questions answered. Always ask how often a potential partner plans to meet with you during and post-project. If they don’t make your company a priority, you may want to look elsewhere.
2. They forecast future IT challenges and needs. While this point coincides with quarterly meetings, your IT provider should also take a vested interest in your business growth and be able to plan for office moves, migrations or any other IT services you may need. Companies that anticipate decisions like these will help you stay ahead of IT problems and avoid crisis mode.
Your business goals and IT needs largely overlap. That’s why we record and follow up on our clients’ quarterly and yearly business goals to plan for their IT needs and recommend critical solutions.
For instance, because we knew a client planned to expand overseas, we walked him through key components of an office move such as prestaging the environment, updating routers and plugging in hardware to get ahead of the project and avoid surprises. By tapping into our clients’ IT vision and strategy, we stay responsive to IT needs rather than reactionary.
3. They openly and honestly address your IT questions & concerns. Do you feel comfortable asking a potential IT partner questions about their services or experience and feel you get honest answers in return? No IT company can realistically complete every project out there, but they should be eager to answer your questions, open about their capabilities and willing to connect you to the right resources.
Our customers bring us all kinds of IT questions and project requests, and we encourage it — even if we can’t do it ourselves. When a client recently asked for help launching a consumer app, we offered to assist with the backend services such as setting up the PaaS and recommended a company with more experience in app development to lead the project.
4. They act as a mentor, not just a problem-solver. As an admin and user, you will inevitably run into problems or questions and need answers fast; that’s what a managed service provider is there for. But true IT partners also serve as mentors — guiding you through the tough questions and acting as a source for ongoing education.
At Agile IT, we take a teaching approach to IT. Rather than simply clean up messes, we educate clients about their problems and empower them to make more informed decisions regarding their IT environments.
Whether you’re migrating to the cloud, seeking reliable backup for existing infrastructure, looking for a managed service provider or all of the above, relying on a trusted IT partner will help you unlock the efficiency, reliability and productivity-boosting capabilities of IT. Taking time to find a proven IT partner who understands your business goals, offers ongoing mentorship and guides you through complex IT decisions will pay dividends over time.