Deciding to outsource your IT department is one decision, though the cost savings, increased quality of service and access to cutting-edge technology makes it a simple one. The more difficult decision is who to work with. After all, information is the lifeblood of the modern business and you need to know it is as safe from hacking as well as accessible 24x7x365 by decision makers. Here are a few tips on how to pick the right managed IT service provider.
Verify They Have Experience with Your Industry
Any managed IT services provider will have experience in IT security. What matters almost as much to the average business is that it has experience in your industry. Can they offer application level support for engineering software, financial software, enterprise resource planning systems running on their servers? Will they recognize when an error message in SAP is due to an issue with the environment and not SAP itself? Will they know how to diagnose drafting model upload failures as an issue with upload bandwidth or system settings instead of blaming it on the software? And can they support the software you use so you don’t have to rely on in-house personnel for that?
Ask If They Have Plans for Future Growth
A managed IT services provider must be able to support the software, websites, and other infrastructure you currently have. The best IT services also have plans on how they will address future growth. How will they migrate your legacy business applications to the cloud? How can they move data in separate repositories used by different business sites into a single, consolidated and easy to use data management system? The average database is growing at 10% a year or more. What are their plans for upgrading your database without causing long-term disruptions or resulting in a sprawling system that takes forever to query.
Another factor to consider is how their plans for future growth may conflict with your business requirements. If they want to move everyone’s systems into the cloud but cannot offer the level of security and data segregation your business requires, the service provider is not a match.
Review Their Payment Plans and Service Levels
Review the payment plans for the IT managed service and balance the cost of service against your essential level of service. You cannot afford to pick the lowest cost plan if you need nearly perfect uptime and flawless service. You may be able to afford an intermediate plan if it takes a few hours for major issues to be resolved and a day or two for minor issues to be resolved. Don’t forget the cost structure for additional services, not just the monthly minimum charge or cost per head. If you’re planning on software migrations, database upgrades or other services that will incur additional cost, ask about it so that you don’t break the budget because you forgot to ask about it up front.
Finding a great managed IT service provider doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember to pick a team that is familiar with your system and do your due diligence. You should be halfway to finding a great service for your needs.