Once upon a time, a bug with your computer system might have just led you to break out the notepad and calculator. These days, they can bring your entire company screeching to a halt.
Crashes in your internal system can spell disaster. You can lose contact with partners and remote workers. Downtime will send leads looking elsewhere.
It's not enough to have a couple staff members who are pretty good with computers. You need dedicated managed IT support.
Your company might not be able to afford a full in-house IT team, but don't worry. Outsourcing your IT support can offer the same protection at a lower price.
But if you don't know what you should look for, finding managed IT support can be an overwhelming process.
In this article, we'll walk you through six things to keep in mind while picking a managed IT support provider.
1. Identify Your Needs
Before you even hit search on Google, you need to figure out what services you need from your managed IT support.
Do you need someone to be physically present in your office? Or do you only need someone on call who can come in when there's an emergency?
You might need someone to set up and manage your company's email client. Or maybe, you need someone who can help troubleshoot any and every computer problem.
If you have a handle on daily IT issues, you might just need someone to manage data backup.
It's important to nail down what your IT needs are. Otherwise, you could end up paying for more—or less—managed IT support than you need.
Ask your staff about common problems and pain points with the current system, then look for a company that provides those services.
2. Get Everyone On Board
Outsourcing is becoming more popular every day, but in some circles, it's still a dirty word.
The word "outsourcing" conjures ideas of cheap overseas labour or customer service representatives in India. In many people's minds, outsourcing steals jobs. By outsourcing your IT support, you are taking money out of your worker's pockets.
Introducing outside managed IT support into this sort of environment is a recipe for disaster. Your staff might be unhelpful at best, or hostile at worst.
To fight this, you have to nip it in the bud. Sell your company on an outsourced IT team before you even start looking for companies.
Start with the executives. Cast a vision for how an outside company will perform IT tasks more effectively and for a lower cost than an internal staff.
Once you've sold them, work your way down to the staff. Assure them that their positions are not in jeopardy. Show them how their tech problems will be better.
3. Look at Their Mission Statement
Once your company is on board with the idea, it's time to find a managed IT support company.
You are going to be working closely with this company, so it's important that your values are in line with theirs.
The best way to do this is to take a look at their mission statement. This is a good way to see where the company's priority's lie.
If a company's mission statement leaves you feeling a bit uneasy, it's a good bet that they aren't the right choice.
4. Give Them a "Job Interview"
A company's mission statement can only tell you so much. To really get a feel for whether or not a company will make a good partner, you need to get to know them a little first.
Whether your first meeting is in person, over the phone, or through video chat, it's a good idea to treat it like you would a job interview.
Again: you're going to be working with this company very closely. Especially if they will have an employee working in-house with you.
Ask the same questions you'd ask a person applying to work for your company. How much experience do they have in your industry? Do well do they understand your company's mission? How many other clients do they have?
It's important that you don't just sign a deal with the first company you find. Shop around. Get to know several companies before you make a choice.
5. Price Isn't Everything
It might seem counterintuitive—after all, the reason you're outsourcing IT support is to save money—but there is more to consider than just cost.
The best price might not always be the best choice.
Two companies might charge the same rate but offer a very different quality of service. One might offer only emergency service for the same price that another would send an in-house employee to tend to any need.
There are also different ways that a company might charge you for managed IT support. You might pay a flat monthly rate to keep them on a sort of retainer, or you might pay for services on-demand as you need them.
Make sure you understand not only how much the company charges for their services, but also how they charge.
6. Build a Relationship
You are going to be working closely with this company. Once you enter into an agreement, it will go along to build a relationship with them.
Treat them the same way you'd treat any other partner. Meet regularly. Go out for a round of golf or a round at the pub.
Building a relationship with your IT support provider will ensure that you receive premium service at all times. And when you face an IT crisis, that can make a big difference.
Need Help Finding Managed IT Support?
A good managed IT support company can help ease the burden of technical issues without breaking the bank. Outsourcing can help you get access to expert levels or performance for a fraction of the cost of a full-time IT person's salary.
If you're looking to outsource your IT support but don't know where to look, start here.
We are committed to professional, prompt, and personable service. Contact us today.