Questions You Need to Ask When Selecting an IT Company
The IT services industry is going through a period of profound change. Large companies are acquiring smaller IT services firms at an unprecedented rate. Accenture leads the acquisition race by acquiring its 20th company when it purchased CreativeDrive. But despite this trend towards consolidation, the market is still saturated with managed IT solution providers, IT consultants, and national providers. How do you decide which company to hire to manage and support your organization’s IT needs. With the threat of cybersecurity attacks, selecting the right provider is more important than ever.
Fundamental Questions to Ask
There are some basic questions we recommend you ask your prospective IT company:
What are Your Long Term Plans?
Selecting an IT company will impact your organization for a long time. Changing vendors is painful and requires extensive effort and resources to make an informed decision. You want your IT solution provider dedicated to supporting your business for the long term.
Is the IT Company Local or a National Firm?
If you are looking for onsite service, then hiring a local company is essential. However, with employees working from home and many technologies being cloud-based, a virtual provider might make more sense for your business. It might (or might not) save you money depending on the type and level of service you need.
Are Your Staff Members Full-time Employees or Outsourced Contractors?
This question relates to the quality of service as well as response rate. Full-time employees tend to be more dedicated and loyal to their employer than outsourced contractors serving multiple clients. For more in-demand skills, contractors may be the only option.
Should You Even Outsource IT Services?
There are several reasons why you should outsource your IT services. Perhaps there is a skills gap, or you’re not ready to hire a full-time IT person. On the other hand, if you need full-time or even 24/7 onsite support, perhaps adding a full-time IT specialist is a better choice for your organization. If cost is a factor, be sure to calculate the overhead associated with a full-time employee versus the monthly cost of an outsourced provider for an accurate comparison. Typical expenses include health, paid-time-off, 401K contributions, and more.
What is Your Exit Strategy?
You want to know if your local IT solution provider is in the market to be acquired; otherwise, your small, local expert may soon be a division of a national conglomerate. If the owner is approaching retirement age, you want to know if he plans to sell the business, pass it on to a manager or family member. All of these decisions may affect the quality of service. You don’t want to be going through this process again in the near future.
Do Your Homework
Your IT vendor selection process shouldn’t end with these questions. Make sure to check references, check online reviews and employment websites like Glassdoor, and ask other businesses similar to yours. Ask for proof like case studies, testimonials and other ways to confirm they deliver what they promise.
As the industry consolidates, deciding to work with a local IT company or select a larger, national vendor may be a significant factor in helping you maintain and protect your vital IT infrastructure. If your company deals with sensitive data, hiring an IT company with cybersecurity experience may be the difference in growing or reeling from a data breach. Ask the owner or senior management about their long-term plans, whether they hire full-time employees or rely on outsourced contractors, and do your homework. Your own business’ long-term growth may depend on it.