Should We evaluate our IT provider Now?


7 clear signs it’s time to change IT provider

Many people don’t evaluate there IT provider and technology unless there are large amounts of daily noise, but this may be creating risk or allowing IT to not enable the business but simply become yet another cost. How do you know when the time is right?

The right IT partner should bring fresh ideas from an IT strategy and business way of thinking, that is not always an extra cost but maybe a change to a process or enabling another item within an existing system. Do you have a meeting pulse, agenda and partnership with your IT contact or only see them when they want to sell the next new shiny toy or even worse when the systems are down and so affecting your business?

If you’re still struggling to overcome ongoing business challenges, perhaps it’s time to try another IT provider who can recommend the right technology solutions to your business problems.

It’s much easier to switch IT providers these days due to advancements in technology. So if the following 7 points sound familiar, perhaps you should consider it?

We’ve put together a checklist of questions to help you to ask yourself in order to help you determine which ones are really going to be able to improve your business:

 1. The same issues keep happening over and over

If the same issues keep cropping up that disrupt productivity in your business and you feel like its just another ticket reference that will not be linked, then this is a warning flag. Your IT partner isn’t working proactively to analyse the root cause of these issues. If you pay by the hour, this can be incredibly frustrating as these issues not only cost you productive time, but you are charged to keep temporarily fixing it. Do you constantly have to bring this to there attention, but this is there job – right?

You should consider moving to a monthly contract where you pay the same amount every month (fixed price), regardless of how much work/time is needed. Providers who work this way (like ourselves) will want to demonstrate value in other ways, not by continuously making noise and outages as this affects them now as well as you. These providers will show value in enabling the business aligned to your needs and future business plans.

2. They’re not proactive enough

Proactive or Reactive IT

Your IT support partner should always be able to respond rapidly to your requests when needed directly on the phone with an engineer to work with you now. But the best in class providers do most of the work proactively and can provide monthly reports that demonstrate transparency and value.

Proactive work includes a lot of different types of actions, for example:

        > Problem management to spot trends, and action root cause fixes to stop recurring issues affecting your team.

        > Carrying out maintenance and monitoring 24/7, to spot the signs of problems developing before they cause you disruption.

       > Security updates, patches and hotfix management, installation and monitoring that all occur in the background without disrupting you from working during business hours.

There are many other reasons why your IT partner should work proactively – just get in touch if you want to know what else we do and why.

3. Do you have a minimum of 12 months IT plan with budgets?

An IT partner should work with you to understand the business and its needs now as well as the future, by working through your 12 months / three years business plan and really getting to know the business as a partner. Turning your plan into an IT plan that you understand in English stops the number one issue we here within our new clients. This is having random extra invoices that they do not really understand and have not budgeted for, but are now told this is urgent.

Do you have a plan, understand your invoices and have no surprises?

4. Your business isn’t secure

Business security has always been of the utmost importance, but within IT this is now the number one thing that should be discussed within your business and any new solutions. But this also needs to be aligned to your business and there is a fine balance between enabling and securing your business or creating more break walls for your team to jump through to complete vital everyday tasks.

Your IT partner should be recommending solutions to all types of common threats in English so you understand the situations and risks other each decision, but this takes time and planning – do they put this time into your partnership?

Despite all of these threats, employees are often an organisation’s biggest risk. The right IT partner will recognise this providing security best practices and education for employees.

Password hacks are still the number one used was to gain access to your business systems and data, so education and systems set up to aid your team are vital – read more here.

5. You don’t feel confident they’ll be a reliable safety net in the event of a disaster

Do you test your backup and continuity IT plan every year and do they insist on this?

Unfortunately, disasters happen. Whether it’s a fire, flood, or someone impacting wires outside your building, this threatens your business and can bring operations to a stop.

If you’re regulated, failure to have an adequate disaster recovery solution and business continuity plan could mean you are in breach of compliance. 

The right IT partner and service in this area are critical. You need to be confident that they can quickly get you back up and running, what service and to what speed. Including allowing you to work remotely with complete access to all files and applications while your office location is out of use.

Ask them about your ‘business continuity plan’ and how they fit in. If they can’t answer convincingly and demonstrate this, it’s a big sign it’s time to change.

Focus Technology have our clients on a proven secure private cloud system, designed and supported by our staff only. Our Clients on our managed business continuity will be up and running as normal within there agreed time and this will of been tested yearly to give us all a peace of mind and a sound sleep each night.

6. They don’t communicate well

IT don’t communicate well

Having to constantly chase up issues, getting new ticket references and not knowing who is the single person responsible for or owning your problem is a sign that communication is poor within your outsourced partner. If communication is poor over relatively small issues, are you confident it will be better when you’re facing a serious problem such as one of the ones suggested above?

Do they respond to the correct person within the business to urgent matters, or only the owner as they do not understand your business and you are just following there process, but this moves the focus of the owner from running the business – a true sign they do not understand you or you are too small for them, and you need a new aligned partner?

7. Conflict of interest or Trust issues?

Your IT and data core system passwords are the king of the castle, who do you share this with? Is there a conflict of interest within the business or are they a trusted outsourced partner with a track record and systems/process to protect your business.

Trust is the number one thing within IT, as your IT Administrator has all the keys and can see, backup and extract any element of your data and client base.

What next?

If you’re looking for a new IT support partner or would like some advice please do get in touch here or give us a call on 01942 835912

Discover more about our North West-based IT support services

Want to learn more about what the right IT support looks like? join us on a web conference call

Ready to switch to an IT Service Provider who puts your business needs first?

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