As an IT director or business leader, having to choose an IT support provider can be a daunting task. There are many to choose from and they are far from equal — often in ways you may not even know to ask about. But the time, effort and expense you will save with an experienced IT consulting company makes it a worthy endeavor. The first and most important step in the process is to know what type of consulting you are seeking (and it’s ok if you’re not sure).
To help you gain a better understanding of the type of support you need, ask yourself what areas of your organization require the most support such as:
- Project support – You have a specific project that you want the right partner to manage or execute to success.
- Team capacity support – You need to temporarily increase your team capacity to meet your project or operational commitments.
- Advisory support – You need some outside perspective by the right expert to scope out a need, solve a problem, recommend software and more to keep your business running smoothly.
Evaluating potential IT support providers requires a keen eye and attention to detail. Afterall, you’re trusting this vendor with arguably the most important asset of your company: your technology. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 questions that will help you make the best decision for the future of your business.
Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating IT Consultants
- Does the IT consulting company provide a list of business technology services that align with your needs? Do those services seem like a core part of their business or more of an afterthought?
- Does the company website provide transparency into the business and showcase their team of IT professionals? Do the employees look happy? IT can be a stressful job, and you don’t want burned out or disgruntled employees managing IT for your business.
- Is the company able to list any relevant certifications or partnerships that support their ability to successfully deliver on services? (e.g. If you are looking for a managed service provider (MSP) to build/support a Microsoft environment, is that MSP a certified Microsoft partner? Do they have engineers with relevant certifications?)
- Are the technology consultants existing full-time employees of the company? Will they move from assignment to assignment as your needs arise or are they temporary employees who move from contract to contract?
- For all out-of-scope work not related to the service agreement, will they include a description of available services and any related pricing?
- Can the company describe their level of success meeting service-level agreements and provide examples?
- Can the company describe the organizational structure of their help desk support and staff? How well-positioned is the company to support call volumes of 50 or more trouble tickets per month?
- What does their quality of engagement look like? How well do they communicate both in and outside of the organization? Does the company provide cybersecurity training to clients as well as cyber awareness training to their own employees?
- How does the company address a breach or cyber attack? What cybersecurity measures do they take in case of attack? Have they helped their clients build customized versions of these plans in the past?
- Can the IT consulting company or MSP provide client references and at least one reference from a company of similar size to your own? Can they prove they are dependable? Can you trust them? Ask for the following when checking for referrals:
- For IT projects: Speak to existing or previous clients with similar IT needs.
- For team capacity and advisory support: Speak to existing or previous clients that worked with the same individuals assigned to provide support.
So how can you guarantee the best scenario for your business and get good service and resolutions in a timely manner? In truth no provider can guarantee a resolution time. Simply put, there are a great many types of support issues that happen and, while the timeliness of responding to those issues is important, it’s how a provider responds to an issue that is even more important.
The Multi-layered Question to Ask Your Prospective Provider:
Could you define the process your organization uses to resolve mission critical issues?
- Is every support call worked by your lowest tier support person or are support requests routed to higher level staff based on the severity, time sensitive nature and complexity of the issue?
- What is the average wait time to resolve a mission critical issue?
- What are your internal minimum time requirements for a tier 1 technician to work a ticket before escalating to tier 2 or higher technical staff?
- Do you have a single-touch resolution metric that your organization strives for?
Based on the answers you receive to the questions above and the discussions you have with referred clients, you can narrow your search to just a few IT support providers.
Because it’s not easy to choose an IT consulting company, the provider should do everything possible to make the transition seamless for your company and employees. If properly selected, the IT consulting company you choose can help you map out your organization’s short-term and long-term technology needs.
Choosing the Right IT Consulting Company for Your Business
With just a few viable options, the decision becomes easier to make. The right IT services provider is one that acts in the best interest of your company in terms of growth, productivity, relationship building and profitability. The last thing you want from an IT consulting company is a difficult working relationship that offers low-end support and high-end expenses. An excellent IT team should be transformative to your business in all the right ways.
For unbiased, real-time business and technology solutions, contact the IT experts at Afidence today. For more than a decade, we’ve provided business and technology solutions that are flexible and cost-effective to our clients in the Cincinnati-Dayton area. Book a 30-minute consultation today to gain the clarity you need to go farther, faster.