Making an important decision to hire an IT solutions provider is a huge deal. It can cost you a lot of setbacks if you hire an unsuitable provider, using up precious time and resources for something that can be simple. These are some questions to ask your IT solutions provider to ensure that you’re hiring the right person.
1) What are your system requirements?
Check if the company you are working with starts out with a network assessment for your IT software and equipment. Usually, this means checking the status and specifications of your machines and software for any compatibility issues. If you want a long term working relationship with your IT provider, having the right operating software is essential. If a solution is incompatible with your system, such as the browser, operating system or the devices, then the software would be inoperable. Also, check if the status of your network is what it needs to be. Choose a solution that best fits your organization; do some research on the advantages and disadvantages of web and cloud based solutions.
2) What is the availability of your service desk?
It is crucial that the service desk operates when your employees are working. Usually, service desks operate during office hours like 8-5, but it would be a bonus if there is a 24/7 emergency line. Ask about the kind of options and hours you have to seek support. A good company will put customers first, are easily contactable, reliable and knowledgeable.
Also, it is important to note where the helpdesk staff is located. Some service providers outsource their services to an offshore company, which might not be good if you require knowledge of the local environment and businesses.
3) Are there guaranteed service agreements?
A service level agreement (SLA) is an official commitment that prevails between a service provider and the customer. The provider and the company engaging the provider will agree on certain aspects of the service, such as quality, availability and responsibilities. When problems arise, you need to be aware of what resolutions you can expect, and SLAs help to bind you and your provider to an understanding of expectations; for example, response times for managing any problems encountered and the appropriate resolution. It would be good to have an SLA in your contract, which should be linked to what you require from the service that directly affects your business, not the technology itself. Conduct regular reviews to check if SLAs are being met, but remember to have realistic expectations.
4) Does the software require customization or custom integration?
Certain kinds of software are designed as a standalone solution and don’t require any integration with other applications. However, some software requires third party integration to have a more efficient connection, which usually comes with a cost. Knowing the cost of a custom integration allows you to make an informed decision on whether it is feasible to go ahead with the software, or if you need to source for another software or provider.
You might also require customized software to provide a better fit, though this is not always necessary. Check with your solution provider whether it might be useful for your business to explore the costs of customization. Otherwise, you might want to compromise and simply select a solution that fits the most crucial points of your criteria.
5) Is the system secure?
You might want to ensure that there are security measures put in place to protect your data; you wouldn’t want a security breach that results in a leak of your most important data. Pick a provider you feel comfortable with and trust to ensure a long term working relationship. Your vendor should also have a comprehensive approach to a security program that you might want to find out more about. Let your vendor know what you require, such as accountability, privacy, confidentiality, integrity and availability so that both parties can better meet each others’ intentions.
All that said, your IT solutions provider should match your long-term business growth plans and more. For help on finding a reliable IT solutions provider, ThunderQuote is able help you in getting 5 free quotes from registered companies or freelancers from our wide range of networks through filling our Request for Quotation Form.
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