Outsourcing some or all of your IT service requirements is a great way to improve focus on core business operations, benefit from reduced costs and access to more powerful, more capable technology on-demand.
But, how do your shop for an Outsourced IT provider? Do you compile a list from google, send through an email requesting the price, then choose the most economical provider? Because they are all the same, all they do is fix IT issues, right?
Though one of the basic functions of an IT provider involves "keeping the lights on", with businesses increasingly relying on technology, evaluating the potential business value an IT provider can give you is now an essential pre-requisite.
Just like you would be willing to pay more for the most qualified and capable talent you want to attract, so too should you be prepared to pay a premium for an IT provider which will equip your business to improve its performance, grow and innovate.
Following are a few examples of how a partner in growth can add value to your business, as well as the first warning sign you should look for when considering engaging in an IT relationship:
1. They will think cloud first
The IT provider of 2018 lives in the cloud. They are fully committed to helping businesses transition, optimise and make the most of cloud computing.
Their team will have the right skills to advise, and look for ways of how your business can leverage cloud computing to be more flexible, and potentially spend less on technology.
2. They hate unnecessary manual work
Imagine the cost savings of reducing time spent on routine tasks that can be automated by technology...
The right fit IT Managed Services Provider will proactively look for ways to advise you on how to achieve better performance through automation, or vice-versa! They should also be prepared to tell you when automation doesn't make sense.
3. They consider leverage as the core of their business (and yours!)
The IT provider is innovative in the services they have in place to manage their clientele. This can be seen from the way they process your requests, through to how they create a streamlined, pain free interaction for you, their customer. They use technology to create leverage for their business, so you can have faith that they will do the same for yours.
4. They will help you attract top talent
Want to attract your 'dream team'? The top of the class like to shine, and don’t like to be slowed down by inadequate resources, so give your employee's access to superior IT and the top talent will be attracted to you.
Your IT provider will implement the latest technology that you can promote to prospective employees. Top talent gets excited to leverage the latest technology to expand their capabilities and productivity, making you highly attractive to them.
5. They will help you KEEP top talent
Who likes going to work and banging their heads against the wall because their IT won't work? That's right, no one! Not only does it stress you out, but it stresses your employees, resulting in lower work satisfaction and increased turnover, not to mention the lack of productivity...
An IT Provider will get you up to date in leveraging the latest technologies, but also be mindful of keeping your existing systems up to date.
As a hint, your provider will also be using these technologies themselves, so they will be able to teach you and your staff how to utilise the technology to its full potential.
The red flag: They will be able to provide you with a roadmap for transition
As basic as this point may sound, if the solution provider can't present a rigorous project plan and process for transitioning your business to their management, or can't document the support workflow method, alarm bells should ring. In the fast-moving technology environment, a roadmap is essential - does the provider have one?
Pro tip: Look for evidence! ask existing clients about their experiences; if there is evidence that regular contact isn't maintained, or that the IT Managed Services Provider is engaged in reactive problem solving and constant "firefighting", then they are probably not right for you.
The key in all of this is being able to identify where your business is lacking and know the value propositions that are worth something to your business. This allows you to 'shop around' what each IT provider has to offer, and decide which will give your business the most leverage, beyond the cost factor.
Technology can provide immense value to any business, in any sector, and a good IT provider will be able to clearly outline the value they can add to your business.