IT service providers help companies outsource computing and hardware-related services such as cloud computing, IT infrastructure, and managed IT security. They give businesses the benefits of a large IT infrastructure without the need for enormous amounts of in-house hardware.
In 2019, the most popular IT services included hosting, storage/backup, and managed security services.
Looking ahead, the spending on IT support services is expected to go over one trillion U.S. dollars worldwide by 2021.
While you may have a plethora of IT services providers to choose from, not all can cater to your specific business needs.
The wrong service provider can increase your IT spending by selling you irrelevant services that do not provide value. You will also have to deal with recurring issues such as network security issues, downtime, and data backup issues due to their reactive approach to IT issues.
The right service provider, on the other hand, will provide you with customized and cutting-edge services. You will pay only for the services you need, thereby saving costs. They will also take a proactive approach and prevent issues from occurring rather than solve them after the damage is done.
It is, therefore, important to find a suitable IT services provider for your company.
Aspects to look for when choosing your IT services provider
Here are a few factors you should consider when looking for the right IT services provider.
Guaranteed Response Times
You must ask for guaranteed response times from your IT services provider. Here are a few questions you can ask them:
How long do they take to respond to queries?
How fast can they resolve issues?
How much time will they take to provide onsite support if you need it?
Pick a service provider who can give you answers backed with facts and metrics.
Make sure the IT services provider you choose is capable of leveraging the latest technologies and tools to protect your business from cyber threats such as malware and viruses. They should also make it a priority safeguard your confidential data such as trade secrets and proprietary business information from hackers.
Your IT services provider should provide the best of services that block data intrusions immediately upon detection. These services include simulated phishing attacks, DNS security and web content filtering, endpoint protection, dark web ID protection, and mobile device management. They should also be able to eliminate data infringements such as POS (point-of-sale) intrusions and network intrusions before they enter your system.
Also, find out if they help you adhere to government regulations and IT security compliance relevant to your industry. Choose a service provider who can ensure this.
Experience with Past Clients
You can get a good idea of your IT services provider’s capabilities by analyzing their previous and current clients in similar industries as yours.
You should also look at their testimonials and reviews. You can ask them for a list of past projects, clients, and references too.
Once you carry out your research, you will be able to understand if they are the right IT services provider for your business.
Remember, not every IT services provider is the same. For example, some may have extensive experience working with the healthcare industry. Others might be working with the retail and other industries. Choose the one who is associated with the industry you are in.
Your IT services provider should be able to provide you with round-the-clock services.
An impeccable IT services provider will provide you with IT specialists on a shift basis. They will watch over your IT system and guarantee round-the-clock IT monitoring.
Round-the-clock service availability and IT monitoring will also ensure that IT issues are detected early. This, in turn, ensures that updates and patches are administered as soon as possible to avoid any IT disaster from happening.
Your IT services provider should also give you access to responsive help desk support. You should be able to reach out to them through chat, call, and email, thereby getting instant IT support from your provider.
You require an IT services provider whose services can grow and evolve with your business.
Simply put, your IT services provider should have the capability to help you scale. Therefore, choose an IT services provider who can continue to provide you with services as your company grows and your goals change.
Responsive Service Level Agreement (SLA)
The Service Level Agreement holds your IT services provider accountable for the delivery of their services. It also creates transparency.
It establishes mutually agreed-upon standards for quality, scope, responsibilities, and delivery time in the form of a written contract.
Make sure you choose an IT services provider with a responsive SLA. It will ensure that the SLA evolves with the services while offering continual improvement.
You should also understand the billing structure of your IT services provider.
Choose an IT services provider who gives you a clear idea of how much you are paying for the services you use. They should also help you negotiate rates and drop services that you are not using. These type of IT services providers are honest, and emphasize doing their job right and providing value.
You must identify your skill gaps and hire an IT services provider who can add value to your existing IT team by delivering the services you need.
Your IT services provider should offer a skillset that your internal IT team lacks. These skills include troubleshooting, networking, software maintenance, and hardware maintenance.
Culture and Attitude
When choosing an IT services provider, you should look at their corporate environment. There should be a good fit between your company's and your IT services provider's culture.
If your corporate culture is strong and affirmative, make sure your IT services provider's culture aligns with it. This ensures consistency in the execution of actions and a shared sense of purpose.
You should also analyze their employee's attitude towards their work. Can they relate to your business and communicate with you effectively? The answer should be in the affirmative.
In short, you should choose an IT services provider that cares for your business’s success and will go the extra mile to support you.
With special focus on securing end-to-end business operations and meeting their requirements, IT service providers allow you look after the strategic aspects of running your company. IT services providers also boost operational efficiency and drive faster business growth with the help of their seasoned professionals. Further, they keep your IT infrastructure safe and stable through constant monitoring and analysis. All you need to do is choose a reliable IT services company. You can easily find the right IT services provider for your company if you keep in mind the above-mentioned factors.
Marco Liquori, owner and founder, NetLogix