For most small business owners, staffing their business to provide IT support is a big challenge. On the one hand, they can hire a full time IT staff and keep that capability in house. On the other hand, it may make sense to bring in a 3rd party consulting firm who can provide more services at a lower cost.
More and more, I see the success that small businesses have experienced by hiring an IT support services firm rather than trying to maintain that staff in house. The efficiency and effectiveness of a dedicated IT support agency is hard to beat on a dollar-to-dollar basis, especially when measured against company productivity.
However, complication immediately sets in when you take the first step towards finding a firm to work with, especially when there are literally thousands of options available.
To be honest, the basic ability to keep technology functioning is a commodity. Any decent firm can do the simple stuff like install new hardware, run updates and configure your email. So how do you choose? Here are some tips on what to consider as you search for a new IT support services company:
- Look For Experience
One of the most important things to look for is experience. Technology is evolving so rapidly that it seems like there’s no way to keep on top of the ever changing trends. That’s where experience comes in. A company that has extensive experience has learned not only how to keep up with the latest technology, but also how to provide stability and continuity in the face of changing requirements. It’s also critical that you match the capabilities and focus of the company to your specific needs. Ask for references and be sure to check out their reviews on social media.
- Keep it Simple
Technology is confusing enough on its own. The last thing you need is to hire a company full of technical savants who will confuse you with acronyms and technical jargon just because they like to show off how smart they are. Look for a firm that has the ability to explain complex technical concepts in simple, easy-to-understand language. This is not easy to do, but will make a world of difference in your experience and comfort level.
- Proactive vs. Reactive Support
In the old days, IT support services companies would come into your office, setup a new system and then walk away with the promise to come back right away if something breaks. That was called the “Break/Fix” business model and it put the incentive on the provider to do a POOR job! If they built a perfect system that always kept working, they’d LOSE money. Look for a new “Managed Services” company who work for a flat-fee each month, ensuring a stable system and a fixed budget.
- Availability and Response Time
A good IT support services company will strive to prevent problems before they arise through proactive and vigilant monitoring of your network. Sometimes, problems do happen and it’s important to know that in an emergency you’ll be able to get someone on the phone immediately and someone on-site quickly if need be. Ask about their SLA (Service Level Agreement) and what realistic response times they can offer you.
- Domain Expertise
One last point that can really help you separate the wheat from the chaff is this: Look for a company that specializes in your line of business. While much of the underlying technology is the same, regardless of the type of business that is using it, tailoring your system to the specific needs of your industry is what will allow you to truly outshine your peers.
This is not an exhaustive list, but do keep these key points in mind whenever you are looking to hire any type of IT support services for your company. You are paying good money for IT services so don’t settle for a company that will just make your computers work, seek out the best partner who can guide you and provide advanced solutions that truly improve the way you do business. NY has some of the best IT service providers who provide amazing technical support services for businesses. Find one of them now and watch your business grow.