The right IT services provider brings many benefits to your organization, but the wrong fit can lead to issues with downtime, inefficiency, and lack of scalability. When you’re evaluating new companies, you can quickly screen out ones that won’t work for you with these eight questions.
1. Can I visit your facility?
A facility visit gives you a first-hand look at the way they operate, the security measures they have in place for any data stored on-site, and whether they appear to be a professional, well-established company.
2. What is the first thing you’ll do after taking over our account?
Does the managed IT service provider have an onboarding process that quickly gets them up to speed on your operations? They should audit your existing technology and talk with those currently responsible for IT duties to see exactly what type of environment they’re dealing with.
3. Do you have any examples of how you document a network?
Documentation is an essential part of ensuring consistency in your IT operations. If you don’t have good documentation, then a technician needs to reverse engineer what previous people did before. You don’t always end up getting the right information with this process, which can lead to major problems when an issue occurs or you want to upgrade. Checking on the standard of documentation with your new managed IT services company saves you a lot of trouble in the long run.
4. Who will I work with if we sign up with you?
Do you have a single point of contact or do you work with multiple people? Both arrangements have their merits, so the most important thing to look for with this question is whether you have a clear understanding of the people working on your account and who to talk to when you have issues.
5. How will you report to me on our account?
You want to know what type of reports you get on their help desk activity, such as the amount and category of tickets, first-time resolutions and measurable improvements in productivity and efficiency.
Does the service provider email this information or make it available on their platform? Make sure that the data is compatible with your own analytics and reporting software so you can make the most out of it.
6. What does your response time and SLA’s (Service Level Agreement) look like?
Every second of downtime is more money that your company loses. Make sure that the managed IT services provider has an acceptable response time and backs that up with an SLA that puts these expectations into a legally binding form. If they fail to live up to their end of the SLA, then they face financial penalties.
7. How long have you been around?
Do you want to trust the support of essential business operations to a service provider that just started up yesterday? You have no way of knowing how reliable they are. What happens if they disappear overnight? Stick with well-established options.
8. What do you understand about my business?
IT support is not a one-size-fits-all service. Your business infrastructure, users and goals are unique to your organization. The IT services provider needs to take the time to get your feedback and look at your technology infrastructure to identify the areas where they can help the most.
Once you go through these eight questions, you have a much better idea of whether the managed IT service provider can contribute to your company in a meaningful way.