What to Look for in Managed IT Services

February 9, 2022

By the end of 2021, around 70% of the information technology (IT) industry’s worth will be outsourcing.

Such a staggering figure points to business its undercurrents. Organizations are latching onto technology to gain value and remain competitive.

As innovation makes more remarkable leaps, companies can’t hire enough skilled workers to meet their needs. Inevitably, IT outsourcing partners step in to fill the gap.

If you intend to hire such a vendor, keep reading for five attributes to look for in a managed IT services provider.

1. Identify the Value You’re Looking For

Many businesses arch their brows in surprise when they realize that effective IT outsourcing starts with the right level of planning. If you bring on an IT service provider without having a clear plan on what you need, you won’t make good use of them.

Deciding beforehand on your firm’s IT needs helps a vendor focus their efforts. The clarity you offer her will influence what the vendor delivers.

Think through your IT strategic plan before seeking out vendors. Such an approach will dovetail your overarching business goals with your IT needs. In turn, your outsourcing partner can better deliver in their operations. 

2. The Vendor’s Capacity

Now that you know what your organization looks to get from an IT outsourcing partnership, you are ready to gauge prospective partner capabilities.

As a rule of thumb, never onboard a vendor with too small or too big an operational scale. You need to work with a vendor who doesn’t have an operating capacity with too significant a discrepancy from yours.

Let’s say you hire an IT outsourcing partner with a smaller operating scale than yours. Let’s also imagine that this vendor happens to have incredible technical capacity.

If an unexpected adverse event impacts your operations, you’ll need an instant focus on business continuity. Despite having exceptional technical chops, your IT partner won’t have the capacity to bring on human and infrastructure elements at the drop of a hat to get you going.

On the flip side, if your vendor happens to run at a significantly larger operational scale than you in such a scenario, they may not move as urgently to solve your crisis.

That’s because large-scale vendors’ natural tendency is to key in on big-ticket clients who can move the needle for them. You’ll be at risk of having your IT system not functioning until the vendor comes round to it.

Always aim to bring onboard IT outsourcing companies who operate at a scale approximately similar to yours as you’ll still be a valuable client. Furthermore, such a firm will have a better capacity to respond to emergencies and get you up and running faster. 

3. A Proactive Customer Communication Culture

Did you know that workflow interruptions cost the average American business 238 minutes? IT interruptions carry both a time and cost burden that your business will continually bear if your vendor doesn’t communicate on time.

Anything short of excellent communication from a company you outsource your operations to will only lead to a breakdown. Consequently, you must take a hard look at a prospective IT outsourcing partner’s communication track record first.

As you assess several prospects for the job, pay close attention to how they communicate with you.

Do you have to keep following them up for information? Are they proactive or only offer the bare minimum data? Any incidences like these at such an early stage should throw up a red flag to future problems.

Once you hire the ideal vendor, you’ll have to keep working on communication as necessary. As the team at https://www.ctechgroup.ca/top-calgary-it-services/ advice, when you start seeing erratic communication habits with an outsourcing partner, you sign up, it heralds trouble unless you nip it in the bud. 

4. An Impeccable Reputation

Even though IT outsourcing is not a popularity contest, you can’t wholly ignore a vendor’s reputation. After all, it’s easy for any IT outsourcing company to promise the world but not deliver.

To this end, you need to inspect the reviews a prospective vendor garners on industry review platforms and forums. You can even dig deeper and speak to past or present clients the vendor is servicing to anticipate the vendor’s service delivery.

In particular, pay attention to gripes you hear about gaps between what the vendor promises versus what they deliver. If you notice a pattern emerging here, you’re likely going to be in for a similar letdown.

Another vital reputational component you should pay close attention to is whether the vendor keeps their client’s trade secrets. The last thing you’d want is to partner with an outsourcing company that will expose your competitive edge down the road. 

5. 24/7 Support

The only thing worse than failing to hire an IT outsourcing company when you need it is hiring one that offers dismal support. Every investment you make in such a partnership will be moot if your vendor isn’t reachable when you most need them.

Part of the service level agreement (SLA) you hire should include response and resolution times the IT outsourcing company guarantees your organization. Additionally, support services should be available 24 hours a day, every day.

Dig deeper into your vendor’s operations and uncover how they deal with support matters. Do they outsource or keep it in-house? You’ll have a more realistic expectation of how efficiently a partner’s support services can work for you.

Any SLA you sign with a vendor must include live support alongside automated help. If you only settle for automated support services, you won’t have anyone to dig through thorny issues on the spot with you when you most need them. 

Partner with Competent Managed IT Services Vendors

Everyone is scrambling to milk more value from technology. As you use innovation to differentiate yourself from competitors, you’ll likely need to outsource your technology needs to managed IT services providers.

It’s, therefore, critical you strive to understand what traits make for a reliable outsourcing partner to avoid making the wrong hire.

Technology is a lawyer over every aspect of operations that can deliver tremendous value when appropriately leveraged. Our website features technology insights and tips to help businesses make the most of IT. Check out more of our content to learn how to use technology to expand your firm’s domain.

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