Choosing the Right IT Support Company: When Is the Time to Switch
Technology is central to your business, but your business may not necessarily be in the business of technology. That’s why you rely on an IT support company to conduct the day to day maintenance of the tech that supports your business.
Over time, however, there may come a need for a change in support providers. Your business may grow, presenting increasingly complex technology needs that your existing supplier cannot cope with. Or, your support company may simply drop the ball too frequently.
What are the signs that your company should consider switching, and how should you go about making this switch? Read on to find out!
Signs that switching is a good idea
Very few singular issues are likely to prompt a business to change their IT support. London companies nonetheless sometimes experience a build-up of concerns that eventually prompt a switch. When your managed services provider starts tripping up in several of the following areas, it may be time to reconsider:
Support is unresponsive and inaccessible
Getting support service right day in, day out can be difficult, and service providers of all shapes and sizes sometimes come up short. However, consistent gaps in service levels and a lack of support availability during the hours your employees work will sap business productivity. A string of stale, open support tickets is another red flag.
Patchy security or, worse still, data loss
Your IT support company is partly responsible for cybersecurity in your business. If your support company is no longer conducting vulnerability assessments, or failing to instil confidence that they can keep your data safe, consider a rethink. Of course, any instance of data loss, such as a successful hack, or a loss due to technical incompetence, would be cause for alarm.
There’s no strategy
Technology is changing rapidly, and your business must keep pace or face being outwitted by competitors. Your IT support company should be a key contributor to your technology strategy – advising on the latest trends and suggesting ways in which new technology can benefit your business. However, strategy suggestions that are effectively sales pitches are a reason to switch, and so is a complete lack of strategic direction.
Your business outgrows your IT company
Larger businesses have unique, enterprise-grade technology requirements. Security, regulation and compliance become growing concerns too. Smaller IT support outfits can struggle to understand the bigger picture – managing the nuts and bolts but failing to help your business meet growing IT challenges. There comes a point where a switch to a more capable IT provider becomes essential.
Communications and project management skills are lacking
With technology now so intertwined with business operations, it is essential that your IT provider never drops the ball while communicating proactively, not reactively. Furthermore, where large projects take place your IT provider needs to deploy project management good practice, always interacting with all stakeholders to ensure smooth progress.
So, where communication becomes sporadic and project management fails, you might want to rethink service provision: after all technology should a business driver, not a drag on progress.
What to consider when you switch
Switching needs to lead to an improvement in IT service provision, not a step back. Asking the right questions of prospective IT providers is therefore essential:
- Access to support. Check whether a provider can deliver support over multiple channels – email, chat and phone. Assess their ability to quickly turn around emergency support requests, and establish whether the provider can supply statistics around customer satisfaction and problem resolution.
- Data protection. Establish the IT provider’s ability to protect data, including their approach to backups and service redundancy. Determine which third parties are involved including the cloud providers a managed services provider might be relying on.
- Flexibility. Can the IT provider adapt to changing business requirements? What if your business grows substantially, or merges with another entity – can you continue to rely on an IT provider to manage a more complex IT estate?
- Costs and budgeting.Ensure you’re aware of all costs and obligations before you engage in a contract. Get an annual budget if possible. Beware of chasing the lowest cost provider. The long-term costs for your business may be high should providers underquote and subsequently fail to meet obligations.
Of course, you’ll only really experience the quality of service on offer once you’ve already switched but asking the right questions will improve your chances of finding a good match.
Steps before switching
A seamless switch in providers is essential. Gaps in support or IT glitches caused by switching can be very costly. Keep the following points in mind when you switch:
- Ensure your existing technology configuration is thoroughly documented before you give notice to terminate services with your existing provider
- Catalogue all services in use and all the credentials your current provider has for these services – so that you can terminate access when you switch
- Try to get your existing provider to co-operate with your new IT company – it will make matters far easier
- Expect some disruption, so don’t plan any big projects around a switch in provider and ideally switch when business is quiet
- Ensure you have a full backup of all essential data stored with an independent party before you switch
Keep the above steps in mind and your switch should be relatively hassle-free, while setting your business up for seamless, reliable IT services.
Get in touch with HTL Support
The experts at HTL Support have been providing technology services to London-based businesses for decades. Get in touch with us if your business requires a fresh direction in IT, with better support and a market-beating technology strategy.
We'll outline how HTL Support can help your company get more out of its technology, and also ensure you have a seamless experience if you’re switching from another provider.