So, you’re in the market for outsourced IT services.
Comparing providers in this industry is not easy, especially in the DC Metro area. We should know – we’ve been in it for over 25 years now.
Anyone can give a good presentation, but how are you to know if you’re really going to get the results that you need for your organization? Unfortunately, businesses are often “sold” by a good presentation, but don’t actually get the right return on their investment.
Below we’ve compiled the questions we work through with all of our prospective clients. If you aren’t in our service area, we hope you’ll use them to make sure you get great results from your IT provider no matter where you are.
Choosing the right IT provider: The most important questions to ask
During your selection process, ask these questions to make sure you’ll get the results you need:
What technical and business results can we expect to achieve with your proposed services? (These should reflect your specific priorities. If they haven’t asked about your business results yet, or if they don’t know what they are, that’s a major red flag.)
>> Why ask? Technology should be more than a line item.
How are we going to measure progress toward these results? How frequently will we re-evaluate our targets?
>> Why ask? Measurement demands accountability.
How else will you collect feedback from our staff to make sure you’re delivering the highest quality support? What happens if the feedback you collect is negative?
>> Why ask? Nobody’s perfect, so when something happens, you need to know how they’ll deal with it.
What does your client onboarding process look like? How will you set expectations for our staff?
>> Why ask? When partnerships don’t start off with the right level of communication, they tend to fail.
Do you only offer one option for support (traditional managed services vs. cloud computing vs. hybrid solution), or do you have the flexibility to offer whatever solution is the best fit for our needs?
>> Why ask? If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
How will your team connect with our executives regularly, and at what frequency to make sure our goals and your services stay aligned?
>> Why ask? As your business goals evolve, so too should your technology solutions.
The idea here is to establish how your provider is going to:
- Provide the services that make a tangible impact on your organization (i.e. track ROI)
- Hold their team accountable for delivering the results that matter to you (not what they think is important)
- Maintain a level of effective and thoughtful support for the long haul.
If you aren’t satisfied with their answers, move on. If what they’re saying sounds like overkill to you, move on. There’s no shortage of options out there, so keep hunting until you feel comfortable with what you hear.
Because what it comes down to is this: Anyone can monitor your servers, anyone can stick anti-virus on your machines, and anyone can resell you a nice backup solution.
It’s the people and the processes behind the technology that really make the difference when it comes to getting you the results that you’re after.
And at the end of the day, if you save a few bucks but don’t get the results you need… it probably wasn’t a good deal.