5 Signs It’s Time to Switch to a New IT Provider
In recent years, the effects of the pandemic on local and global economies and the consequent shifts in consumer behaviour have turned many an IT development plan into a survival plan constrained by a tight budget. Outsourcing can bring stability to operational costs and reduce pressure on capital expenditure by passing responsibility for upgrade costs onto the service supplier.
As a consequence, many organisations have moved to Outsourced IT Support and Managed IT Support as a way to manage IT operational costs.
Now that things have calmed down, at least a bit, organisations are taking a close look at the Outsourced IT Support and Managed IT Support contracts they are using to ensure they continue providing proper value.
The first thing to understand is that committing to Outsourced or Managed IT Support is the establishment of a strong long-term relationship between the two organisations, not to be entered lightly, and if made in haste cannot be easily changed. It is not the same as sourcing equipment or one-off services. A commitment to an external supplier a long-term relationship, so it needs to be treated differently.
One of the keys is the establishment of a mutual understanding and agreement on the scope and nature of the services to be provided and any other pertinent arrangements.
How do you evaluate your existing supplier to see if they still cut the mustard and recognise if they aren’t? Here are five areas to look at.
As noted above, an arrangement with an external support organisation is much more than with a supplier of a one-off purchase. It is likely to be a long-term relationship, and as such needs to be mutually comfortable and effective.
The foundation of a good relationship is based on the communication between the two parties. Poor communication will lead to misunderstandings, errors and other problems leading to a souring of the relationship. It starts with the discussions prior to engaging their services. If there are difficulties during contract negotiations, they are a good indication of trouble in the future.
Reliable and effective communications with your IT service provider are an absolute must. If your current IT provider is slow to respond to your requests or if you’re struggling to get hold of them when you need support, it’s a sign that it’s time to switch to a new IT provider.
This is equally applicable to immediate technical issues and to regular management reviews.
Lack of Expertise
IT operational environments are becoming increasingly complex, especially where integration with areas such as website management and Social Media is required. If your current IT provider doesn’t have the expertise to support the specific technology or software that your business relies on, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to find a new provider.
The supplier should also be able to understand your business strategy and have the expertise to advise on how IT can deliver and support those aims.
This is also true for proposed developments. If they can’t support the new technologies you want to deploy, time to move on.
This is an absolutely vital area. All organisations are connected to the Internet. They open up their systems and data to remote users, either work-from-home staff, road warriors, or perhaps remote customers managing orders.
That opens the organisation up to a wide range of potential online threats. New threats emerge daily, and they are increasing in virulence and frequency.
It goes beyond saying that your business’s data and sensitive information, both financial and intellectual property, and particularly customer information, should be protected at all times, and a reputable IT provider will prioritize this. They need to demonstrate that they have the staff to deliver and manage security solutions.
As a result, security should be a top priority for any IT provider, and if your current provider has a history of security breaches or isn’t taking your business’s security seriously, it’s time to switch to a new provider.
As close to 100% uptime as possible is the Holy Grail of all businesses. If your online systems are unavailable, your business could be dead in the water.
So, if you’re experiencing frequent downtime or if your systems are constantly crashing, it’s a sign that your current IT provider is not providing you with the level of support you need.
Lack of Scalability:
As things quieten down, and business returns to something close to stability, a long-term strategy becomes essential.
As your business grows, your IT needs will likely grow with it. If your current IT provider can’t keep up with your business’s evolving needs, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to switch to a new provider. Your IT provider should be able to help you develop your long-term strategy and scale your technology to it. If they can’t, it’s time to find someone who can.